The US national team stumbled in the first match of their European summer tour on Saturday, falling 2-1 to the Republic of Ireland thanks to a last-gasp game-winner from Alan Judge in an international friendly at Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
Bobby Wood opened the scoring with a savvy close-range finish on the stroke of halftime, only for the hosts to rally after the break via Graham Burke – who exploited some slack goalkeeping from Bill Hamid – and Judge.
The winning strike arrived just as the clock reached full time and while Judge delivered the killer blow, it was made possible by a slick bit of skill by James McClean that left Matt Miazga a statue in his own 18-yard box.
Faced with much tougher opposition than Monday's friendly win over Bolivia, the United States struggled to connect passes or build attacking rhythm in Dublin and often looked reactive and disjointed in defense. Coach Dave Sarachan will aim to coax a better performance out of his young squad in order to avoid being humbled on their next stop, a visit to mighty France in a week's time.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Monday's good vibes got a firm, and probably useful, reality check against a sturdy European side here, with the US looking greener than their opponents' kits at times as they struggled to cope with Eire's pressing and movement.
No real standout performances for #USMNT. Wood was ineffective up front other than his goal, midfield overwhelmed physically and couldn't keep hold of the ball enough, CCV struggled the most and Miazga was burned on winning goal, entire defense was scrambling too often. #IRLvUSA pic.twitter.com/fDr88SyAS4— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) June 2, 2018
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: McClean's nasty swivel left Miazga for dead and set up an easy path to glory for Judge, preventing the visitors from sweating out a respectable draw. If you're looking for a happier moment for the USMNT, take note of Luca de la Torre, Shaq Moore and Tim Parker making their senior US debuts.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Teenage West Ham prospect Declan Rice was tidy and influential at the heart of Ireland's 3-5-2 formation, controlling the match's tempo with good work on both sides of the ball. On a day when Irish veteran John O'Shea bid the program farewell with his final international appearance, Rice offered hope for the future.
- US: Saturday, June 9 at France (3 pm ET | ESPN, UniMás)
- Ireland: Thursday, Sept. 6 at Wales (UEFA Nations League)