(Reuters) – Bobby Wood converted a penalty kick late in the first half to give the United States a 1-0 win over Paraguay in a friendly in Cary, North Carolina on Tuesday.
The United States, who failed to qualify for this summer’s World Cup in Russia, fielded a youthful side but it was the 25-year-old Wood who got the goal, calmly scoring from the spot after Tyler Adams was tripped by Paraguay goalkeeper Gatito Fernandez.
Paraguay, who also missed out on qualification for Russia, improved after the break but were unable to find the equalizer.
Interim U.S. coach Dave Sarachan, who took the reins when Bruce Arena resigned in October, said the match was a good opportunity for some of the squad’s younger players to gain some international experience.
Only two of the Americans’ starting 11 were over 25.
“The kids have got to start somewhere and this was a good game to get their feet wet,” Sarachan was quoted as saying by the New York Times.
Sarachan singled out 19-year-old Tyler Adams for praise.
“The combination of a good passer and a guy that can run, can be deadly,” Sarachan said. “We talked about breaking Paraguay’s line, and Tyler’s timing on the run to draw the penalty was excellent.”
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford)