2020 International Friendly

USMNT draw with Wales as Reyna, Musah, De La Fuente make debuts

The United States men's national team played to a scoreless but lively 0-0 draw against Wales in an international friendly that saw six players make their USMNT debuts on Thursday.

- ESPN: Dempsey, Donovan, Howard? Vote for the GOAT of the U.S.

The U.S. squad were back in action for the first time since February, and saw highly anticipated international debuts for Borussia Dortmund's Giovanni Reyna, Valencia midfielder Yunus Musah, and Barcelona prospect Konrad de la Fuente in the starting XI.

Ahead of kickoff at Liberty Stadium in Swansea, U.S. players and coaches marched out wearing jackets emblazoned with the words "Be the Change" on the front, and each displaying different personalized messages including "Unity," Black Lives Matter," "Be Anti-Racist" and "World Peace" on the back.

Other prospects making their USMNT debuts were Johnny Cardoso, Chituru Odunze, and Nicholas Gioacchini, with all three coming off the bench in the second half.

The first half saw the visitors make several good runs into the Welsh defense but were unable to find a finishing touch to break the initial deadlock. Wales, playing without Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, lacked possession for the majority of the half and relied on a sprinkling of counterattack chances.

After halftime, the Welsh withstood the press and nearly pounced on a goal at the hour mark when debutant Brennan Johnson broke through the U.S. line and forced Zack Steffen to make a nifty save with his feet.

The game's tempo gradually lessened as it approached the final whistle, with U.S. substitute Ulysses Llanez Jr. trying his luck with 25-yard shot that was punched out by keeper Danny Ward.

"I was proud of them, we are starting to see some of the energy and dynamic I have talked about," U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter said after the match. "Our defensive pressing was relentless all game, it unbalanced Wales and didn't let them set into a rhythm.

"We need to improve going forward, but six guys made their debut and I am really proud of their performance."

The U.S. boss was also missing a key contributor in Christian Pulisic, with the Chelsea attacker leaving the camp early as he continues to rehabilitate a hamstring injury.

"We had a ton of quality. If you add Christian into that team, that would have made a difference. It is a young team, a youthful lineup, but one we can build from," said Berhalter.

Wales assistant coach Robert Page, filling in for Ryan Giggs who was arrested last week on an assault charge, said he saw some positives from his side missing veterans like Bale and Ramsey.

"With regards to keeping a clean sheet and confidence, we've kept that momentum going," Page said. "It was always going to be a tough game. We had to defend in numbers, we had to be disciplined in our defensive performance."

Wales next take on Ireland in the Nations League in Cardiff on Sunday while the U.S. face Panama in a friendly in Austria on Monday.