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Youthful USA hold strong France to 1-1 draw in International Friendly

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A 44th-minute goal from Julian Green boosted USA to a 1-1 draw against world No. 7 France on Saturday night in Lyon. The USA took the field with a starting lineup that averaged just 22 years old, but held strong in difficult conditions to earn a result against one of the world's top teams. The goal and the result mark firsts for the United States in its all-time series vs. France, which now stands at 0-3-1.

Heading into a summer break, the USA has compiled a 2-1-3 record since last October, including a 1-1 draw on the road against then third-ranked Portugal. Tonight's starting XI included seven players who have made their senior team debut in that span, while a total of 17 players earned their first caps in that time frame, making the result all the more impressive when considering that France's team had seven starters who had won a Champions League title, domestic league title, Cup title, or combination thereof this season in England, France, Spain or Italy.

 

While France dominated possession for most of the first half, the USA threatened on runs up the wings by outside backs Antonee Robinson and Shaq Moore. Just before the end of the opening frame, Bobby Wood dished to Moore on the right side. He took a touch and sped past his marker before launching a through ball into the box. French defender Djibril Sidibe got to it first, but Julian Green pounced on his loose touch and first-timed a shot between Sidibe's legs and past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris inside the near post for his first goal since Oct. 11, 2016 against New Zealand.

Man of the Match Zack Steffen made yet another star turn, making seven saves to thwart the vaunted French front line, and a physical defense helped the USA keep a lid on France's attack. Robinson was a standout on the left side, while center backs Cameron Carter-Vickers, Tim Parker and Matt Miazga made numerous key tackles to halt French scoring opportunities.

The stout defensive effort kept Les Bleus scoreless well into the second half. Miazga had anchored the center of the five-man back line in the opening 45, but a nasty head to head challenge with Olivier Giroud on an early second-half corner forced Erik Palmer-Brown into replacement duty for the Vitesse man. The former U-20 MNT captain performed admirably in Miazga's stead as the USA hung tough.

Les Bleus finally broke through in the 78th minute. After a series of close calls in the box, France intercepted a USA clearance. Some patient passing broke Nabil Fekir free on a run towards the corner of the box. He dished to Benjamin Pavard on the right wing, who slotted a cross to Mbappé in front of the net. The Paris Saint-Germain forward one-touched it to the far post for the equalizer.

Buoyed by the home crowd, France pressed for a game-winner until the final whistle, but the young Americans, bolstered by veteran subs DeAndre Yedlin and Jorge Villafaña, battened down the hatches and got a phenomenal double save from Steffen on the last kicks of the ball to secure the quality result.

Lineups:

USA: 12-Zack Steffen; 18-Shaq Moore (2-DeAndre Yedlin, 74), 5-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 3-Matt Miazga (14-Erik Palmer-Brown, 57), 21-Tim Parker, 17-Antonee Robinson (19-Jorge Villafaña, 82); 4-Tyler Adams, 20-Wil Trapp (capt.), 6-Weston McKennie; 16-Julian Green (8-Joe Corona, 70), 7-Bobby Wood (13-Josh Sargent, 74)

Substitutes: 1-Bill Hamid, 11-Tim Weah, 15-Eric Lichaj, 23-Rubio Rubin

Head coach: Dave Sarachan

FRA: 1-Hugo Lloris (capt.); 22-Benjamin Mendy (21-Lucas Hernández, 66), 19-Djibril Sidibé (2-Benjamin Pavard, 74), 5-Samuel Umtiti, 4-Raphaël Varane; 13-N'Golo Kante, 14-Blaise Matuidi (12-Corentin Tolisso,58), 6-Paul Pogba; 9-Olivier Giroud (11-Ousmane Dembélé, 58), 7-Antoine Griezmann (18-Nabil Fekir, 69), 10-Kylian Mbappé (8-Thomas Lemar, 87)

Substitutes: 23-Alphonse Areola, 16-Steve Mandanda, 3-Presnel Kimpembe, 15-Steve Nzozi, 17-Adil Rami, 20-Florian Thauvin

Head coach: Didier Deschamps

Final Score: France 1-1 USA

USA - Julian Green - 44th minute

FRA - Kylian Mbappé (Benjamin Pavard) - 78th minute