USMNT edges Bosnia on Cole Bassett’s late goal – Daily News

CARSON — Hoping to turn a successful 2021 campaign into a historic one, the U.S. men’s national team waited until the very end of its last game of the year to make it happen.

American midfielder Cole Bassett scored in the 89th minute to dispatch Bosnia and Herzegovina during an exhibition match in front of an announced crowd of 11,044 at Dignity Health Sports Park.

The 1-0 result gave the U.S. its 17th victory in a calendar year, besting the mark previously set by the 2013 group.


“When the guys had the opportunity to be able to get the win today and have the wins (record) for a year they embraced it,” U.S. men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter said.


Wedged between high-stakes World Cup Qualifying matches, Saturday marked the Americans’ first friendly since June, ending a run of 14 consecutive competitive contests.

Overall, the U.S. played to a 17-2-3 record in 2021, including trophy-winning performances in the CONCACAF Nationals League and Gold Cup, closing the year ranked No. 12 the world, per FIFA. The team’s winning percentage tops any year the U.S. played five or more matches.

Berhalter called up 26 players for the December camp in Carson composed of core national team members from MLS clubs along with young players looking for an opportunity.

Taylor Booth, Caden Clark, Jonathan Gomez, Kobi Henry, John Pulskamp and Gabriel Slonina each completed their first camp as rostered senior players.

“It’s a nice challenge for guys,” Berhalter said. “You aspire to something your whole career and then you get an opportunity. It’s nice to see guys embrace that.”

Gomez stepped on the field with less than 10 minutes remaining in the match, joining Bassett, starting defender Brooks Lennon and substituted forward Cade Cowell in recording their first appearance for the U.S. on Saturday.

Bassett’s game winner (his first goal as a member of the U.S. men’s senior team) came off a rebounded save following a left-footed shot by Gomez from outside the box.


“I always just try to sniff goals and be in the right spot,” Bassett said. “Luckily, it just bounced to me and I put it away from there.”

The win lifted the U.S. to 2-0-1 against the Baltic nation since their football association was formed in 1992 following the breakup of Yugoslavia.

Failing to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Bosnia and Herzegovina brought a young all-domestic league squad to Dignity Health Sports Park. The inexperienced group carried a combined eight caps between them.


The visitors hung around thanks to a handful of missed American chances, but after going down to 10 men in the 40th minute they struggled to engineer an attack.


Costa Rican referee Keylor Herrera called a straight red card on midfielder Amar Begić for exposing his cleats while tackling Kellyn Acosta, whose 22 games for the U.S. this year topped Landon Donovan’s 2002 performance.

Reflecting his desire to keep key contributors sharp, Berhalter started five of the eight players on the squad with double-digit caps and added to the Americans’ experience edge over the visitors by bringing on the most capped player on the roster, Gyasi Zardes, an hour into the scoreless contest.

“The whole idea is to keep the guys moving, especially the guys in Major League Soccer,” Berhalter said. “So we’re hitting the ground running and it will be a very similar focus because if we want to compete like we do in this window it’s gonna be essential to have these guys fit.”

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