The United States let an early lead slip in a 2-1 loss to Serbia at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles on Wednesday night in its first match since being eliminated from the 2022 World Cup by the Netherlands.
Dual nationals Brandon Vazquez and Alejandro Zendejas got the start as interim coach Anthony Hudson handed seven players their senior team debuts, with Vazquez opening the scoring in his first appearance for the US on a silky, glancing header from Julian Gressel’s cross into the area.
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Chelsea goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, who was also making his debut for the senior US team, made several key saves over the course of the first half but was beaten at his near post by a Luka Ilic free kick to level the score for Serbia ahead of half -hour.
Serbia then took the lead right as the second half began when Veljko Simic capitalized on some poor defending by the US, pounced on a loose ball just outside the area and beat Slonina from close range to make it 2-1.
Cade Cowell, who was lively all night on the left for the US, hit the post twice in the following minutes and blazed a swerving shot wide of the Serbian goal soon after.
The US kept the pressure on in search of a second goal as Hudson brought World Cup veteran Kellyn Acosta and Middlesbrough forward Matthew Hoppe off the bench, but an equalizer never came.
Next up for the US is a friendly against Colombia at Dignity Health Park in Carson, California, on Jan. 28.