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USA settle for draw against New Zealand

USMNT head into next month’s Hexagonal opener versus Mexico on the back of a 1-1 draw with the Kiwis

Julian Green struck once against for the US national team in their final warm-up before the CONCACAF Hexagonal game against Mexico next month, but a second half New Zealand score left the game in a stalemate. Green, who scored one and created another in the 2-0 win over Cuba on Friday, scored his third goal for the red, white, and blue in the 27th minute, before Monty Patterson’s equalizer in the 73rd minute of a 1-1 draw.

With just a month until the showdown with Mexico, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann experimented with his against the team from the Oceania Football Confederation, handing a first start to William Yarbrough in goal, while Kellyn Acosta got the start at left back, and Perry Kitchen’s return to RFK Stadium saw the midfielder play 64 minutes.

New Zealand, who lost 2-1 to Mexico in Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday, came out the stronger of the two sides, testing Yarbrough immediately through striker Chris Wood. Wood’s shot from range was bobbled by Yarbrough in the first minute, and Patterson put the follow-up effort wide, whilst being offside on the play.

Defender Michael Boxall challenged Yarbrough for a free kick in the box in the 8th minute, but the keeper was bailed out by the referee’s whistle, as he was unable to collect the ball under Boxall’s challenge near the top of the six yard box.

The US had hardly a sniff at goal before Green’s opener in the 27th minute, as the winger took advantage of some lax Kiwi defending. Collecting a header from Jozy Altidore, Green made his way towards the All Whites’ goal, with defender Liam Graham slow to close down. Green cut into the middle, and fired a right footed strike at towards the near post, beating a befuddled Stefan Marinovic, who seemingly wasn’t expecting Green’s attempt.

Green, who has not played in the league this year for his club team, Bayern Munich, gave Klinsmann plenty to think about ahead of the Mexico clash. There’s plenty of competition out wide for Green in the 4-3-3 set up, and not playing with Bayern will hurt his chances to earn a starting spot. But against Cuba and New Zealand, Green showed that he might just be able to push others in front of him for minutes with the national team.

DeAndre Yedlin got an unsurprising start, but was played out wide as a winger, instead of at his usual spot at right back. Five minutes after Green’s goal, Yedlin almost doubled the lead for the US, racing on to Altidore’s pass in the box and skipping around a defender, but Marinovic atoned for his earlier mistake to deny Yedlin.

The second half went without much drama for long stretches, but Patterson could have leveled the score in the 61st minute. Michael McGlinchey, a midfielder for the Wellington Phoenix, slipped a ball into the box for Patterson, but the forward sliced his effort off target with just substitute goalkeeper David Bingham to beat.

Lynden Gooch got his first cap for the US, entering the game for Acosta in the 59th minute, and immediately started to push the envelope down the right for the US. His cross in the 64th minute was blocked out to Green, but Green could only spoon a shot over the goal.

Matt Besler made a surging run forward from the back, feeding Altidore who slipped as he tried to test Marinovic. Wood collected a Patterson cross in the 70th minute, but fired over after juggling the ball to keep his chance alive.

Two minutes later, Patterson, who plays for Ipswich Town in England, leveled the scores for the Kiwis. The US failed to deal with a corner kick from McGlinchey, allowing the ball to settle in front of goal. Patterson was quickest to react, and slide a shot between Bingham’s legs, for his first goal for the All Whites.

Both sides had chances late on to win the game, but Michael Orozco cleared a shot off the line from Patterson, and Danny Williams and then Michael Bradley were denied by Marinovic, who rebounded well after conceding the soft Green goal.

With the October friendlies wrapped up, the US return to action next month for the next stage of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. After hosting Mexico at Columbus on November 11, the US heads to Central America to take on Costa Rica.