FOOTBALL: Sargent scores, but Peru equalizes late for 1-1 tie

U.S. striker Josh Sargent

The U.S. men’s National Team got within five minutes of a surprise victory over Peru at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, Connecticut, but settled for a 1-1 tie on Tuesday evening in front of 24,959 mostly pro-Peru fans.

Peru, a 2018 World Cup participant, dominated possession and the chances in the first half, but it ended scoreless.

The American squad was much better organized, offensively and defensively, to start the second half and in the 49th minute, a Kellyn Acosta free kick from the right side skipped into the middle of the field and right onto the foot of a waiting Josh Sargent, who ripped a shot that glanced off a Peruvian defender Renato Tapia and flew into the net for a 1-0 lead.

Sargent, still just 18, has been a goal scorer at every level and his second-half performance was highly encouraging for the future.

Facing a potential 1-0 loss, Peru upped the pressure after about 75 minutes and finally produced a goal. In the 86th minute, Andy Polo’s seeing-eye cross from the right side went all the way across the face of goal to a perfectly-placed Edison Flores, who finished from the left side for an easy score and a 1-1 tie.

Peru continued to pour on the pressure in the final minutes, but was unable to score again and had to settle for the tie. A couple of shots from distance hit the crossbar above U.S. keeper Brad Guzan – one in each half – or Peru could have had a 3-1 win. Peru outshot the U.S., 14-5 for the game.

This was the seventh game all-time between the sides, and the U.S. now holds a 3-2-2 lead in the series that began in 1989.

The American squad has two other 2018 matches scheduled: vs. England on 15 November at Wembley Stadium in London (GBR) and against Italy on 20 November in Genk (BEL).