The United States was held to an unimpressive 0-0 draw by Scotland in a friendly on Friday, although the Americans had several good scoring chances in the final minutes.
Substitutes Aron Johansson and Brek Shea gave the Americans a spark in the second half after they were held in check for the first 45 minutes. It was the first game for the U.S. since completing qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The Americans, ranked 13th in the world after winning CONCACAF qualifying, finishes their 2013 schedule Tuesday at Austria.
Scotland, ranked 35th, did not qualify for Brazil. Johansson, whose goal beat Panama in the last match of qualifying, was part of two late threats. In the 83rd, with Jozy Altidore keeping the ball alive in front of the Scotland net, Johansson pounced on the left side. Goalkeeper David Marshall made a diving stop. Two minutes later, Shea broke down the left wing and fed Johansson, whose left-footed shot went just wide.
Beyond that and several misses by Altidore, there wasn't much to the American attack. Still, Tim Howard got his 34th career clean sheet for the national team. The Americans were sloppy throughout the first half, which Scotland controlled until the final minutes. Even when the U.S. was presented with a scoring chance in the 43rd minute, Altidore misplayed a pass in the box and never got off a shot.
The Scots, who twice beat Croatia in World Cup qualifying, established a slow tempo that suited them. Rarely did the visitors attack early on, and even when the Scots had some opportunities, they weren't particularly good ones.
Craig Conway had the best chance in the 36th from close range after being set up by Steven Fletcher. But Conway's right-footed shot went wide of Howard's net. The Americans looked smoother early in the second half as the pace picked up. Altidore's right-footed shot after a nice passing combination was caught by Marshall. Altidore also missed wide from close range in the 59th.
When Scotland went back on attack, Howard was forced to make a spectacular save from Robert Snodgrass. Marshall matched it with his sprawling stop from Johansson. Midfielder Michael Bradley returned for the U.S. after missing four qualifiers with an ankle sprain and played the entire match. The Americans were missing two key injured players — Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey.