Zack Steffen shines, Julian Green scores as U.S. youngsters earn plucky draw with France
Against a team tipped for a World Cup title in 2018, a young United States men's national team held its own defensively and capitalized on a mistake by France to squeeze out an encouraging 1-1 draw at Groupama Stadium in Lyon.
With another young lineup put out by caretaker coach Dave Sarachan, the Americans stayed organized and focused for most of the 90 minutes.
The French were largely limited to long shots for much of the match, with the trio of center-backs in the 5-3-2 formation doing good work defending deep to prevent chances from inside the box.
With the U.S. wilting late in the second half, goalkeeper Zack Steffen came up big with several important saves.
Although expected, the lack of possession and real attacking teeth for the Americans will be something of a black mark on the performance. The U.S. finished the match with just over 30 percent possession and managed just two shots. Bobby Wood and Julian Green struggled to get on the ball, with the midfield mostly concerned with defending.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Sarachan's defensive setup proved good enough to secure a surprise draw, but with the USMNT in a rebuilding phase, he might have taken the opportunity against one of the best teams in the world to be a bit more aggressive. The experience earned by the litany of young players in the squad will serve them well moving forward, something Sarachan should get some credit for.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Zack Steffen, 8 -- Faced no serious danger in the first half, but came up big with several important saves in the last 45. Hesitant on at least one cross, but was not forced into difficult decisions on many occasions.
DF Shaquell Moore, 5 -- Mixed bag over the course of nearly 75 minutes. Provided the cross that led to the U.S. goal, but struggled with 1v1 defending and was occasionally overaggressive.
DF Cameron Carter-Vickers, 5 -- Looked composed and relatively comfortable in the first half before fading in the second. Forced to move to the middle of three center-backs with a half-hour to go. Lost Kylian Mbappe on France's goal.
DF Matt Miazga, 6 -- Forced off early in the second half after a clash of heads with Olivier Giroud. Part of a fairly composed group that held the French attack goalless during his period on the pitch.
DF Tim Parker, 7 -- Best defender on the field for the United States. Solid positionally and read danger well. Made several important interventions with the U.S, sitting deep.
DF Antonee Robinson, 6 -- Grew into the game slowly in just his second appearance for the USMNT. Pushed up into the attack intelligently and provided one excellent cross in the first half.
MF Wil Trapp, 6 -- Only Misplaced a few passes on the day while playing the holding midfield role. Found Moore in space leading to a goal that was correctly ruled out for offside early in the second half. Less effective when fatigued in the last 15 minutes.
MF Tyler Adams, 6 -- Covered ample ground with the United States playing on the back foot for most of the match. Played confidently and handled defensive work against the likes of Paul Pogba impressively.
MF Weston McKennie, 5 -- Only missed two passes, but had limited influence with the ball. Collected three defensive interventions, but was also guilty of turning the ball over on occasion with sloppy play.
FW Julian Green, 7 -- Put the United States up just before halftime with an opportunistic strike. Made the most of limited touches and looked to be the most dangerous American on the field, whatever that is worth.
FW Bobby Wood, 4 -- Starved of service, but was ineffective when on the ball. Struggled to keep possession with his hold-up play, and made poor decisions off the ball when the Americans attacked. Had the ball in the back of the net early in the second half but was correctly flagged for offside.
DF Erik Palmer-Brown, 5 -- Did not look out of place after being forced on with a half-hour to go. Pulled out of position on one occasion and was sloppy with his passing when taking possession in the back.
MF Joe Corona, 5 -- Helped with defending by tracking back on multiple occasions, but lost Thomas Lemar on a France chance in added time.
FW Josh Sargent, N/R -- Mostly limited to defending in 15 minutes, but again showed his strength with his back to goal. Played a flick on for Adams that almost led to a chance late in the match.
DF DeAndre Yedlin, N/R -- Played stay-at-home defense with the Americans trying to close out a narrow win.
DF Jorge Villafana, N/R -- Struggled with 1v1 defending. Beaten by Nabil Fekir when one-on-one in the 88th minute.
Jason Davis covers Major League Soccer and the United States national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @davisjsn.