United States forward Cade Cowell (20) shoots during the first half of an international friendly soccer match against Serbia in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

A Tumultuous 24 Hours For US Soccer

American soccer fans who stayed up for the United States’s late-night match went to bed disappointed.

The United States Men’s National Team lost to Serbia 1-2 in an international friendly held last night.


American fans can take some silver linings from the match. For one, the United States didn’t exactly roll out their A-team last night. January’s international camp is generally used to test out young players, as well as MLS guys in their offseason. It’s to build out the team’s infrastructure, their depth, and see who can contribute both right away and in the future.

And the United States got a good idea of that. Several players shined for the United States in last night’s match.

Fans clamored to see FC Cincinnati striker Brandon Vazquez suit up in the red, white and blue. Last night he finally made his first appearance with the United States senior squad and made the most of the opportunity. Vazquez lasered a Julian Gressel cross into the bottom left corner in the 29th minute.


Gressel, the 29-year-old, German-born right back who made his debut for the United States last night also looked great. He got the assist on Vazquez’s goal, sending a pinpoint cross into the striker to give the American side the lead.

Left winger Cade Cowell, 19, was named man of the match for the United States. He looked fantastic last night and figures to work his way into the American A-team. Gaga Slonina also looked good between the posts, and many view him as the USMNT’s keeper of the future.

“You never want to lose a game, but sometimes it’s good to get experience for guys and welcome them into this brotherhood. That’s what we feel great about,” said Walker Zimmerman, who captained the young squad last night. Zimmerman’s 38 caps were 10 more than the 21 other starters on both teams combined.

Earnie Stewart Leaves USSF

Following last night’s match, this morning U.S. Soccer Federation announced that Sporting Director Earnie Stewart is leaving his duties to join Eredivisie club PSV Eindhoven in February.

“While we are sad to see Earnie go, he has helped lay a strong foundation and build a strong sporting staff to ensure that the future of U.S. Soccer is bright,” said U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone. “Earnie has had an immense impact on our sporting department and on soccer in this country during the last several years and dating back to his playing days for the National Team, and we are incredibly grateful for his leadership in helping develop the next generation of players in the United States.”

Stewart spearheaded one of the most prosperous periods in American soccer history. Under Stewart’s leadership, the United States Women’s National Team maintained their #1 global rank and took home several major CONCACAF trophies. The men’s team won the 2021 Gold Cup and CONCACAF Nations League. They also returned to the FIFA World Cup this past December after missing the tournament in 2018.

Stewart oversaw the inclusion of young talent into the pool, pushing the United States into a new era of European-caliber players and talented MLS and NWSL players.

But controversy followed Stewart. It was Stewart who was told by Danielle Reyna about Gregg Berhalter’s 1991 domestic violence incident, which launched an investigation into the coach and a triangle of drama between the Reynas, Berhalters and the USSF.

It is unclear if this drama is the reason Stewart is leaving. But the timing is convenient, and this would be the perfect point for Stewart to leave with his head held high.

About Connor O'Bryan

Connor O'Bryan is a world soccer reporter for ESPN Gainesville. He also sometimes covers baseball and other sports. He has previously written for WUFT Gainesville and for Atrium Magazine. Connor also cohosts the "Off The Bar Podcast", a student driven podcast that focuses on the global soccer landscape.

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