The United States started the year with a 1-0 defeat on Saturday against Slovenia in a friendly match in which neither team had its best players.
Young striker Nej Gradisar, who was making his debut for the Slovenian senior team, scored the only goal of the match in the 26th minute at Toyota Field in San Antonio (Texas).
Since it was not a FIFA appointment, the American coach, Gregg Berhalter, took advantage of the duel to test several youngsters from the local league regarding this year's big commitments, especially the Copa America, which they will be hosting, and the tournament. Olympic Games in Paris.
The North American starting lineup included seven players for the first time, including Diego Luna, the 20-year-old Real Salt Lake midfielder who also holds Mexican citizenship.
His first international appearance was Bernard Kamungu, who was born in 2002 in Nyarugusu refugee camp in Tanzania, where he immigrated with his family to Texas at the age of fourteen.
The current FC Dallas midfielder, 22, was the unfortunate hero with the only goal of the game. Kamungu lost the ball in midfield and made it easy for the visitors to launch a counterattack, which was crowned by Gradisar, who beat goalkeeper Patrick Schulte low.
Slovenia, which qualified for the European Cup this year, knew how to keep the United States away from its goal, which entered the second half with a possession rate of 65%, but only had one shot on goal.
After the start of the second half, the hosts had several chances through the boots of Shaq Moore and John Tolkien, but they were fizzled out when Berhalter introduced several substitute players.
The United States will return to Texas on March 21 to face Jamaica in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Nations League at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
© Agence France-Presse
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