Matteo Politano struck in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time as the US men's national team likely closed out the tenure of interim head coach Dave Sarachan with a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat to Italy in Genk, Belgium on Tuesday.
Politano's winner was deserved for the Italians, who dominated over the majority of the 90 minutes, outshooting the US 17-3 and 6-1 in terms of efforts on target.
Goalkeeper Ethan Horvath had five saves in an exceptional performance for the US in what is assumed will be the final match before a permanent national team coach is named by USMNT GM Earnie Stewart.
- 90'+4' - ITA - Matteo Politano
- THE BIG PICTURE: If this is goodbye, Sarachan offered a tactically adventurous farewell, starting in a 3-5-2 setup and an extremely young starting XI, even for his interim tenure. It didn't go particularly well, however, with the Americans conceding nearly three quarters of the possession against the Azzurri. He finishes having given 23 players their US debut, including Malmo midfielder Romain Gall, who received his first cap when he entered in the 83rd minute.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: While Italy were in the ascendancy throughout, they lacked the final product for most of the match to break the US down. That changed on an incisive sequence in the dying moments. Politano started the move himself, before Marco Verratti and Roberto Gagliardini linked up inside the penalty area to find the Inter Milan loan signing streaking in to smash a clinical finish.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Horvath may not have come away with the clean sheet in the end, but it's hard to say he wasn't the most influential player on the field just in keeping the US close. It was just the Club Brugge man's third cap, and with five saves — including several impressive reaction stops from close range — easily his most memorable. (He would've had a sixth save without a late flag for offsides from the far-side AR on the sequence below).
Ethan Horvath says NOT TODAY.— U.S. Soccer MNT (@ussoccer_mnt) November 20, 2018
For the 6th time. 😤🚫 pic.twitter.com/nRmjlde0XG