EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Two years after being outplayed by Argentina but pulling off a 0-0 draw, the United States National Team repeated the result with a 1-1 draw in a friendly in front of 78,936 cold fans at New Meadowlands Stadium on Saturday night.
Esteban Cambiasso had given the Albiceleste the lead late in the first half, but 18-year-old sub Juan Agudelo equalized for the US in the 59th minute. Just as in 2008, Tim Howard kept the Americans in the match with some outstanding saves in the first 45.
Argentina thoroughly dominated the opening stages of the match, carrying the vast majority of the possession and producing a few quality chances. The Everton goalkeeper, however, stood his ground.
There was a nervous moment in the 24th minute when Oguchi Onyewu and Lionel Messi went up for a bouncing ball. The American's head collided with the forward, who slumped to the ground. The medical team came out to assess the Barcelona star, but he walked off under his own power and returned moments later.
Maurice Edu picked up the first card of the game in the 35th minute after taking down Ezequiel Lavezzi from behind.
The away goal that was coming finally arrived in the 42nd minute. Messi chested down a lovely chip near the six-yard box and raced to the endline.
His crossing pass slipped through Carlos Bocanegra's legs to an open Angel di María. Howard saved his point-blank shot, but the rebound bounced to Cambiasso, who didn’t miss.
At the half, Agudelo and Timmy Chandler came on for Jermaine Jones and Jonathan Spector. The substitutes – and the switch from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2 formation – gave the Americans new life.
Chandler, a 20-year-old right back from FC Nürnburg, picked up the game's second yellow card in the 48th minute after taking down an Argentinean attacker near the midfield line, but his insertion provided both width and pace down the right flank, offering the Americans attacking avenues that had been non-existent in the first half.
The USA inched forward, controlling the ball for stretches, and found their reward in the 59th minute. Landon Donovan's curling free kick found the head of Bocanegra, whose snap-header was saved by Mariano Andújar. The rebound fell to Agudelo, who beat his man to the loose ball to slam home his second goal in three caps.
More chances fell to both teams in the last half hour, but in the end the 1-1 scoreline stood.
The US next face Paraguay on March 29 at Nashville's LP Field.
United States Starting Lineup
Tim Howard; Jonathan Spector (Timmy Chandler, 45), Jay DeMerit, Ogucho Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra (c); Jermaine Jones (Juan Agudelo, 45), Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu; Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan; Jozy Altidore
Argentina Starting Lineup
Mariano Andújar; Javier Zanetti, Nicolás Burdisso, Gabriel Milito, Marcos Rojo; Éver Banega, Javier Mascherano, Esteban Cambiasso; Ezequiel Lavezzi, Lionel Messi, Ángel di María.
Noah Davis covers the United States national team for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter at @noahedavis.