Two Bundesliga professionals celebrated firsts for their country in Vienna on Tuesday. Bayern defender Chris Richards earned his first USA cap as an 80th minute substitute in the USMNT's 6-2 win over CONCACAF rivals Panama.
In just his second appearance for his national team, Dortmund phenom Giovanni Reyna scored his first USA goal on a converted kick from 17 meters out.
|Chris Richards (left).||Photo: Pedro Semitiel, CC BY-SA 2.0|
USMNT head-coach Gregg Berhalter again trusted many youngsters from the league he once played in when constructing his starting XI against Panama. Schalke's Weston McKennie and Leipzig's Tyler Adams again paired in midfield along with Valenicia's Yunus Mesah in a roaring eight set-up. VfL Wolfsburg's loaned-out attacker Ulysses Llanez Jr. also started up front.
Unlike in last Thursday's friendly, this fixture featured goals galore. Panama's Jose Fajardo Nelson actually opened the scoring in the 8th. Reyna drew the Yanks level ten minutes later off a set-piece. The 18-year-old's free-kick was deftly bent past the defensive wall on the right, though keeper Orlando Mosquera still might have done a better job with it.
The USMNT national team quickly built a two-goal lead behind a rapid fire brace from French Ligue 2 striker Nicolas Gioacchini, who also netted his first goals for the stars and stripes. The 20-year-old would later fail to convert a penalty and Los Caneleros were able to make it interesting via another goal from Fajardo Nelson in the 79th.
Clinging to a 3-2 lead, Berhalter's men would eventually break it open late via the third pitch player to score a brace in the match. Substitute Sebastian Soto, formerly of Hannover 96, also netted his first USMNT tallies with goals in the 83rd and 90+1.
McKennie turned in another strong match. Adams looked slightly more hobbled by recent injuries and was substituted off in the 61st. Richards found himself involved in some plays despite being subbed on late.
The 20-year-old Richards had found himself pushed down the Bayern depth chart following a tepid first-team debut, an early-season injury, and the acquisition of Bouna Sarr to serve as the back-up right-fullback behind Benjamin Pavard.
Sarr's ghastly performance in Bayern's most recent Bundesliga match may compel trainer Hans Dieter Flick to give him another look.