CARSON, Calif. — Sean Johnson kept his sixth career clean sheet, and four more U.S. players made their senior international debuts as the men wrapped up their annual January training camp with a scoreless draw with Colombia on Saturday night.
Interim head coach Anthony Hudson’s young U.S. squad scored only one goal in its two friendlies in Southern California this week. Hudson still got another 90 minutes of experience for a roster with only five players from last year’s World Cup team. Eight players made their U.S. debuts Wednesday night against Serbia, the most in one match in over 30 years.
Frankfurt midfielder Paxten Aaronson, the brother of Brenden Aaronson, and New York Red Bulls defender John Tolkin made their U.S. debuts as starters against Colombia, while Emmanuel Sabbi and Sam Rogers debuted as second-half substitutes.
Hudson received praise from his players in their first week of work together since the veteran coach took over for Gregg Berhalter, whose contract expired at the end of last year. Berhalter, who led the U.S. to the round of 16 at the World Cup in Qatar, is under investigation by the U.S. Soccer Federation for a domestic violence incident that occurred in the early 1990s, and it is unclear whether he has a chance of resuming his job.
U.S. Soccer is in upheaval after the departures of sporting director Earnie Stewart and men’s general manager Brian McBride earlier this month. The governing body will select a new sporting director who will hire the permanent men’s head coach, but the process could take many months.
That means Hudson will still be in charge in March during the next series of games, which are in a FIFA window, unlike this January camp. The Seattle-born Englishman seems likely to run the team all the way through the CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer, culminating July 16 at nearby SoFi Stadium.
His first U.S. team showed resilience on defense and aggression with the ball against a Colombian team also featuring mostly inexperienced international players and several MLS-based players, including Los Angeles FC star Cristian “Chicho” Arango.
The scoreless first half featured several decent chances for both teams in front of a sellout crowd at the LA Galaxy’s home stadium in the suburbs due south of downtown Los Angeles. The crowd included thousands of roaring Colombian fans from across North America wearing the national jersey and waving flags for Los Cafeteros.
Jesús Ferreira, a Colombia-born American forward, made a beautiful pass to put Matthew Hoppe alone on net in the 32nd minute, but the Middlesbrough forward shot directly at goalkeeper Alvaro Montero.
LAFC’s Kellyn Acosta put a free kick dangerously into the box in the 90th minute, but his U.S. teammates failed to bang it home.
Colombia’s Frank Fabra made a run deep into the U.S. box in the final minute of injury time, but botched his shot attempt.