The United States' started 2015 just like 2014 ended: by surrendering late goals. The Americans had problems in the second half of last year, slumping to losses and draws after early leads, and in their first match of this year they allowed two to Chile and fell, 3-2.
Chile scored goals in the 66th and 75th minutes, turning a 2-1 U.S. halftime lead into a one-goal loss. The U.S. has now allowed nine goals in their last three matches, the most since 1993, and have a lot to work on just six months before the Gold Cup.
The good news for the U.S. is this match didn't matter a ton. It didn't fall on a FIFA date so clubs did not have to release players and both sides weren't at full strength. Jurgen Klinsmann took it as an opportunity to experiment, both with young players and tactically, going with a 3-5-2 formation that the Americans were clearly uncomfortable with in the first half.
The U.S. went in front after just six minutes through Brek Shea, of all people. The wingback, whose career has essentially been on hold for a year as he's struggled for playing time, got on the end of a beautiful Matt Besler pass then ripped a great shot just inside the post for the opening tally. It was a dream start for the U.S., although it wouldn't last long.
A mere four minutes after going in front, the U.S. conceded on a cross headed home by Roberto Gutierrez. It was poor marking by the Americans, who looked like they didn't know what to do in defense, and allowed Gutierrez to walk to the front of goal all alone.
Jozy Altidore got the Americans back in front in the 31st minute on a gorgeous piece of team play. DeAnde Yedlin slipped Mix Diskerud in on the right with a nice give, then Mix dragged the ball back for an on-rushing Altidore, who slotted the ball perfectly in the bottom corner for the goal.
The U.S. went away from the three-man backline in the second half, but the defending was still suspect and Mark Gonzalez took advantage. The Chilean striker scored twice inside of 10 minutes to put the home side in front.
Klinsmann made several changes in the second half, giving Will Trapp and Gyasi Zardes their first ever international caps. Zardes even nearly scored, but his shot was saved on the Americans' last chance at goal.
Unfortunately, conceding late has become the norm for the U.S. That is something they're going to have to fix, but this isn't the time for fixing problems. These friendlies are about trying things and seeing if there are players who can be solutions down the road. It's too early to say if they found those players against Chile, but they certainly tried to find them.