In a rather underwhelming performance, the US Under-23 national team lost 3-1 to a French national team mostly made up of Under-20 players in their opening game of the 2015 Toulon Tournament.
The US came out with little energy to start the game and were punished for it. In the 10th minute Will Packwood, who recently trained with the New England Revolution, misplayed the ball inside his own box after a surge from France and fumbled it to Fares Bahlouli. The French attacker calmly tucked the ball inside the far post from outside the box to put France up 1-0.
Off the ensuing kickoff, former Chicago Fire midfielder Benji Joya saw his pass go straight to Thomas Lemar, who streaked down the right side of the US defense and unleashed a stinging shot at Cody Cropper. The former Southampton goalkeeper was able to make the save but Enzo Crivelli was in the right postion to finish off the rebound for France’s second.
Just ten minutes later Romain Habran served a free kick to the near post that was flicked past Cropper by Stephane Sparagna to stretch the French lead to three goals.
The USA's opportunities to score were few and far between in the first half, though they did earn some free kicks in promising positions. However, set-piece takers Marc Pelosi and Julian Green were unable to generate quality chances with their service.
Andi Herzog's team did come out in the second half with a little more urgency and were rewarded for it.
In the 65th minute, the US tallied their lone goal thanks to a mistake from Sparagna. The French center back stepped to intercept a Marc Pelosi pass but was not able to get to the ball, allowing Jordan Morris a free lane towards the goal. The Stanford forward sped down the field and slotted it past the onrushing French goalkeeper to get the USMNT's only goal.
The US U-23s were missing several players from their victory against Mexico last month, including Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil, FC Dallas center back Walker Zimmerman, and Borussia Monchengladbach forward Mario Rodriguez, among others. On the other side, France could have fielded a team that included the 2014 World Cup's Best Young Player in Paul Pogba and AS Monaco's star midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia.
Two MLS players started for the US as Real Salt Lake defender Boyd Okwuonu slotted in at right back while Colorado Rapids defender Shane O'Neill was placed at his usual center back position. Colorado Rapids midfielder/defender Dillon Serna subbed on at left back in the second half.
The US team's next game in the five-team group will come against the Netherlands on May 29, followed by Costa Rica (May 31) and Qatar (June 2). The top team in the group will advance to the final and the second-placed team will play in the third-place game, with both of those matches set for June 7.
France: Thomas Didillon, Damien Dussaaut, Presnel Kimpembe, Stephane Sparanga, Yann Bodiger, Enzo Crivelli, Thomas Lemar, Baptiste Santamaria, Raphael Diarra, Fares Bahlouli, Romain Habran