Edison Flores equalised in the 86th minute to rescue a 1-1 draw for Peru against the United States on Tuesday.
USA were on track to stun World Cup participants Peru in Connecticut, where Werder Bremen teenager Josh Sargent’s 49th-minute goal left the visitors trailing.
But Peru – who were the superior side for most of the international friendly – managed to avoid defeat thanks to Flores, who capitalised on some poor defending with four minutes of normal time remaining at Pratt & Whitney Stadium.
Peru controlled proceedings from the outset in East Hartford, their slick passing putting USA on the backfoot for most of the first half.
But USA’s compact defence held firm, containing Peru and limiting the visitors to a couple of half-chances – an improvement on their display against Colombia, having been sliced open on numerous occasions in a one-sided opening 45 minutes last week.
While USA managed to stay on level terms, they were rarely a threat in attack, with the Americans set up to pounce on the counter-attack against their experienced opponents.
There was an immediate improvement within seconds of the restart – Sargent showing his strength and skill to tee up Paris Saint-Germain’s Timothy Weah, who fired a powerful effort just wide of the post.
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Peru did not heed the warning as a set-piece straight from the training ground exposed the visitors a minute later after 18-year-old Sargent peeled off his opponent and curled Kellyn Acosta’s low free-kick past goalkeeper Jose Carvallo.
Andy Polo almost restored parity with a thunderous long-range effort that rattled the crossbar and had Brad Guzan beaten with 15 minutes remaining.
However, USA’s defence was eventually breached at the death after the unmarked Flores tucked his shot home at the back post following a great ball from Polo.
What does it mean: Same old mistakes
Defensive issues have been the biggest headache for interim USA boss David Sarachan. And their frailties at the back were exposed again, just as a second win in six games was minutes away.
Sargent leads the way
There is a new general in town and his name is Josh. Sargent was a handful for Peru as he inspired the United States on home soil. Slick on the ball, calm under pressure and clinical in front of goal, the teenager could be the man to lead USA back to the World Cup after their 2018 absence.
Yedlin headlines defensive problems
All USA had to do was defend and keep the ball out of the net for a few more minutes. But the Americans were dispossessed cheaply before DeAndre Yedlin allowed Flores to nip in front at the back post and equalise.
The next time USA play will be at Wembley when they face England on November 15, while Peru are scheduled to meet Costa Rica next month.
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