2017 International Friendly, International Friendly
  • Vitorino Antunes (31')
  • Weston McKennie (21')

McKennie scores in debut as U.S. draws against Portugal

Weston McKennie scored in his debut for the senior national team as the United States drew 1-1 with Portugal on Tuesday night.

The match was the first for the Americans since a 2-1 loss to Trinidad & Tobago on Oct. 10 eliminated them from qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

Interim boss Dave Sarachan, who took over for Bruce Arena after he stepped aside following the qualification failure, picked a young side for the friendly, including several uncapped players in Schalke midfielder McKennie, 19, the New York Red Bulls' Tyler Adams, 18 and Sheffield United defender Cameron Carter-Vickers.

And the Americans had two surprising chances in the opening minutes, with C.J. Sapong forcing a save from Beto before Kellyn Acosta turned over the Portugal defense only to fire high over the crossbar in a promising start for the U.S.

Portugal would find their footing, though, and had a good opportunity past the quarter-hour mark when Bruma fired wide at the back post after having been picked out by Nelson Semedo with a curling ball into the area.

The U.S. continued to find ways forward and Adams forced a close-range save from Beto before McKennie scored the surprise opener for the visitors, beating the Portugal goalkeeper at the near post after a fine individual effort gave him a good look from 10 yards away.

Goalkeeper Ethan Horvath gifted Portugal their first when he misplayed a first-time volley from Vitorino Antunes from the left wing and the ball went through his legs and into the net.

The hosts were on the front foot following their opener and Horvath did well to keep out a Manuel Fernandes strike from distance before stopping a Danilo effort after the U.S. keeper had misplayed the ball out of the back.

John Brooks headed in a second for the U.S. from a corner kick, but the goal was waved off because referee Anthony Taylor had whistled Matt Miazga for a foul before the goal as the teams went to the dressing room level at 1-1.

Bill Hamid came on for Horvath in goal at half-time, while Brooks made way for Carter-Vickers in defense.

And the U.S. looked the far more likely to score to start the second half, with Adams forcing a sprawling save from Beto with a close-range header and McKennie smashing his own headed effort off the crossbar.

Bernardo Silva picked DeAndre Yedlin's pocket in the penalty area and set up fellow substitute Goncalo Paciencia, but Hamid was able to tip his thunderous shot from six yards away over the bar just before 70 minutes.

Hamid was called into action minutes later when goal-scorer Antunes smashed a shot from just outside the area that the U.S. keeper palmed into the sky before gathering the ball as it came back down.

Portugal pushed for the winner, but none came as Sarachan's charges did well to hang on for a deserved draw in Leiria.

The United States will open its 2018 schedule with a friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Jan. 28 at StubHub Center in Carson, California.