The U.S. Men’s National Team’s post-Trinidad rebuild continued on Tuesday night, as the USMNT defeated Paraguay 1-0 in Cary, North Carolina. Interim coach Dave Sarachan again put out a lineup that primarily consisted of younger, up-and-coming talents, highlighted by 19-year-old midfielder Tyler Adams, who drew the penalty that would be the difference in their victory.
Sarachan’s 4-1-4-1, which looked similar to the formation played in late January’s dreary 0-0 draw against Bosnia and Herzegovina, was lively and energetic. The midfield three of Marky Delgado, Adams and Wil Trapp was confident on the ball and looked to play out of the back against a disjointed Paraguay team, and wingers Darlington Nagbe and Kenny Saeif were active.
They were off to the races from the start, although due to the lack of a true No. 10 they didn’t come up with many chances to show for it. Paraguay were often boxed in by the U.S. numbers-heavy midfield, which prioritized passing in deep areas. Trapp, who thrives in a similar role for the Columbus Crew, was at the forefront of the effort.
Despite plenty of possession in the attacking half, their pretty passing didn’t come to fruition until later in the first period, when Delgado sprung Adams with a beautiful through-ball and Paraguay keeper Gatito Fernandez brought down the Red Bulls star in the box. Bobby Wood, one of the few veteran holdovers, converted the ensuing penalty, and the U.S. never relinquished the lead.
Miguel Almiron, a star No. 10 for Atlanta United, was seemingly by himself in a Paraguay attack that never really seemed to connect. Aside from a couple of misguided attempts, they never seriously threatened Zack Steffen’s goal. The U.S. backline of Jorge Villafana, Matt Miazga, Cameron Carter-Vickers and DeAndre Yedlin played well, particularly Miazga, who was a fulcrum in the hosts’ left-side-heavy possession.
Things got chippy as the game went on, as a Paraguayan player was involved in a bit of a feud with Yedlin after a U.S. player was hit with a studs-up tackle, but the second half was calmer than the first. The cry of American fans for substitutions was louder than any chance on goal, and it took a while for their cries to be answered. Sarachan was weirdly conservative with his subs, waiting until the 86th-minute to bring on PSG sensation Timothy Weah.
Nevertheless, it was a positive performance from the USMNT perspective. It would have been nice to see a creator in there, but the group Sarachan put out played well, and they looked in sync on the ball. The Wil Trapp and Tyler Adams hype trains motor on!