The US men's national team closed out 2021 on a high note, as a late game-winner from Colorado Rapids homegrown Cole Bassett delivered the Yanks a 1-0 victory over 10-man Bosnia and Herzegovina in an international friendly between the sides at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday.
Playing in their final match before the January window of Concacaf World Cup Qualifying, the USMNT struggled to get much going in the attack. But they avoided what would have been a disappointing 0-0 draw thanks to Bassett's 89th-minute rebound finish on his senior international debut.
The match took a turn during the first half when Bosnia and Herzegovina's Amar Begic was shown a red card in the 40th minute for a studs-up tackle to USMNT midfielder Kellyn Acosta's ankle, giving the hosts a man advantage for the rest of the match.
The Yanks had two notable chances in the first half before the sending off, first in the 14th minute when Atlanta United fullback Brooks Lennon sent in a cross for Ricardo Pepi that the FC Dallas forward couldn't quite redirect home. Seattle Sounders winger Jordan Morris also had a clean look via a 31st-minute header, but his attempt was denied by a kick-save from Bosnia and Herzegovina goalkeeper Nikola Cetkovic.
The match remained scoreless until its waning moments, as Bassett finally broke through for the decisive tally. The 20-year-old attacker pounced on the rebound after Jonathan Gomez's initial shot was spilled in front of goal, allowing for an easy tap-in that sealed the result.
- 89' – USA – Cole Bassett
- THE BIG PICTURE: This was by no means the USMNT's cleanest performance, but the final result nonetheless bookends a successful year. Head coach Gregg Berhalter's team recorded 17 wins in 2021, a new program record during a calendar year. Focus now turns back to World Cup Qualifying, where the USMNT are second on the Concacaf Octagonal table with everything to play for in the fast-approaching January/February window.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The match looked destined to end in a scoreless draw until Bassett came through with this clutch winner.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Bassett gets the honors for his late winner, boosting his case for future call-ups after scoring during his first senior-team appearance.
- USA: Thursday, January 27 vs. El Salvador | 7:30 pm ET | Concacaf World Cup Qualifying Final Round