By Karen Price | March 27, 2018, 10:32 p.m. (ET)
Bobby Wood #7 battles Bruno Valdez #5 and Gustavo Gomez #3 of Paraguay for the ball during their game on March 27, 2018 in Cary, N.C.

 

A young team took the field for the U.S. men’s national soccer team in a friendly against Paraguay at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina on Tuesday, and that youth served them well.

Marky Delgado, 22, making his senior team debut, fed a beautiful pass to send 19-year-old Tyler Adams flying toward the goal just before halftime. Adams was taken down by goalkeeper Roberto Fernandez and drew the penalty kick, which Bobby Wood converted to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead. It was the 11th international goal for Wood, one of few veterans in the lineup.

That score stood throughout a sometimes feisty and physical second half and the U.S. men walked away with the victory, and maybe also some good feelings about the future of the program.

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“I thought we had good stretches in the game early on,” coach Dave Sarachan told FOX Sports during the break just after Wood’s goal. “I thought in the middle part of the game we lost the ball in spots that could have punished us but I’m glad the guys got rewarded for good energy toward the end of that half.”

Seventeen of the 23 players on the U.S. roster for the night were 24 or younger. Five were first-time call-ups. Twelve have been on the final roster at a FIFA Youth World Cup, including Adams. Andrija Novakovich and Tim Weah made their debuts in later in the game, and Weah became the first player born in the 2000s to earn a men’s national team cap.

It was the eighth meeting between the U.S. and Paraguay, neither of whom qualified for the World Cup, and the first since 2016 when they met in the group stage of the Copa América Centenario. The U.S. is now 4-2-2 all-time against Paraguay. It was also the first time the U.S. men’s national team played in Cary since 2006.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.