The U.S. Men’s National Team is off to a flawless 2-0 start in 2016, and one Crew SC star has played a significant role in that.
In its second friendly of the year, the Stars and Stripes defeated Canada 1-0 at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles on Friday night. Columbus midfielder Ethan Finlay delivered the game-winning assist in the 89th minute, when he floated a perfect cross to striker Jozy Altidore who nodded in the lone goal of the night.
It was the second last-minute victory within five days for the United States after defeating Iceland 3-2 at the StubHub Center on Sunday. Finlay appeared in both matches earning his first two caps for the Red, White and Blue.
After playing an hour on Sunday, Finlay came on as a substitute against Canada replacing Jordan Morris in the 88th minute. The speedy winger needed less than two minutes to make his presence known. With the clock running down, he picked up a pass from captain Michael Bradley on the top left corner of the box, cut past his defender and curled in a perfect cross to the back post where Altidore rose up to head in the game winner.
“For me, it was just trying to make a difference,” Finlay said. “You could tell that Canada had been worn down. They made some changes but it was evident that we were on the front foot the last thirty minutes there. Fortunately for us we were able to capitalize.”
The first person to celebrate the game winner with Finlay was Crew SC and USMNT teammate will Trapp who also earned his second cap for the senior national team on Friday. Trapp entered the match in the 77th minute for Mix Diskerud.
Twelve minutes later Trapp was hugging Finlay who later tweeted the “amazing night […] was the ideal ending to my first January camp.”
That camp also featured another Columbus teammate, Tony Tchani, who made his USMNT debut against Iceland. The Crew SC trio is now set to travel back to the Captial City to join the Black & Gold for preseason.
Their next opportunity to wear the Red, White and Blue could come in March when the United States take on Guatemala in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches on March 25 and 29. The second of those two matches will take place at MAPFRE Stadium.