With players from both the US and Scotland national teams hoping to impress their managers ahead of key competitions in the future, neither side provided much to remember in a scoreless draw Friday in a friendly at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland.
In the first of two fixtures viewed as the last major chance for players to make their case ahead of the 2014 World Cup, Jurgen Klinsmann’s side trotted out a starting lineup with a mixture of first-choice players and those considered to be on the bubble to make the roster for Brazil. And they were choppy at best in the attack as the US managed just two shots on goal.
Many of the US’ best early chances came through their featured players.
A free kick from midfielder Michael Bradley, back in the lineup for the US following an injury that kept him out of the final round of CONCACAF qualifying, rebounded out to an open Jozy Altidore, but his blast was high.
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In the 59th minute, Altidore had another solid look at the goal when center back Geoff Cameron got forward and left him a cross in space. But once again, Altidore couldn’t put his shot on frame.
Scotland, who will not make the trip to Brazil but are looking ahead to Euro 2016 qualifying next year, provided a much better showing under new head coach Gordon Strachan than their 5-1 thrashing at the hands of the USMNT in Jacksonville, Fla., on May 26 of last year. The Tartan Army even gave the US fits, especially early through the partnership up top of Robert Snodgrass and Steven Fletcher.
The home team’s best chance in the run of play came off a 36th-minute throw in when Fletcher split Cameron and Omar Gonzalez and fed an open Craig Conway wide open on the left wing. But Conway was not able to put his effort on frame.
Scotland also had two dangerous free kicks, both from just outside the penalty area, both by Snodgrass. His second, a bending bullet from the left corner in the 53rd minute, required a lunging save by US goalkeeper Tim Howard.
In the second half, Klinsmann was able to get a look at a number of players hoping to make their best case for Brazil with six changes.
Young forward Aron Johannsson came on in the 62nd minute and immediately made his presence known with several dangerous attempts and in the 83rd minute, his left-footed blast from the left wing required the work of Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall.
Former FC Dallas midfielder Brek Shea also did well for himself, getting forward on a number of runs after coming on in the 62nd minute. In the 85th minute, he found Johansson in the open in the box on a cross from the left wing, only for the forward's rasping shot to miss wide right.
Klinsmann's team controlled much of the action late, despite never finding the winner. The best chance, a stoppage time effort by Terrance Boyd on a feed from Johannsson, was blocked before the final whistle blew.
The US will remain in Europe during the international break, returning to action Tuesday against Austria at Ernst-Happel-Stadion in Vienna.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Brek Shea||Had the biggest impact of all the subs, causing the Scots problems when he got into open space and creating a couple good chances late on|
|2||Charlie Mulgrew||The midfielder was strong in his passing (54/63), did the defensive work and was key in making Scotland's midfield very much a match for their US counterparts|
|3||Tim Howard||Didn't have much to do, but made a great shot on Scotland's best (on target) chance of the game and was good coming off his line|