A 2-2 draw in a friendly against the France youth national team may be one of the best recent results for the US Olympic team. A squad of players aged 23 or younger trailed by two goals with less than 10 minutes remaining in hostile territory. However, goals from Griffin Yow and Cade Cowell ensured the United States locked up a draw in their friendly against Thierry Henry’s side.

The game had no significance, as it was a way for both sides to see how their players would fare before selecting a final group for the Olympics in Paris this summer. Yet, many of the players on the US youth national team have used this draw to communicate their intent. This squad is talented, and it can contend against arguably the best youth side in the world on the road. France’s group of players for these March friendlies featured a litany of players with goals and assists across Europe, with a major focus on Ligue 1 play. However, they went up against a team of Americans that is bearing the fruits of having top talents dotted across the globe.

France opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the first half. Then, Thierry Henry likely thought the game was put to bed with a goal from Andy Diouf in the 79th minute. Yet, the most impressive part of the Americans’ performance was the fact that it responded with minimal time. Griffin Yow of Belgian side Westerlo pulled the United States within one. Then, a goal from Cade Cowell that benefited from a deflection leveled the game. The pair of goals happened just three minutes apart, and it speaks volumes about the ability of this youth side.

US Olympic Team shows it can make waves in France

The United States was unfortunate to concede the penalty in the first half, and Andy Diouf’s goal was a great finish. It would have been easy for US head coach Mark Mitrovic to pack it in and call it a day. Yet, an inspired group of young players for the United States battled back in this friendly.

It may not mean anything officially, but this result can be a major stepping stone for the United States. This result can provide the side with confidence that it can take on elite teams. Plus, it now knows it can compete against one of its group-stage opponents at the Olympics this summer. The United States Youth National team picked up a tough draw in the Olympics against France, New Zealand and a team from the Asian and African playoff phase. Having played France, the USYNT now has a taste of what it will be like to play the hosts in France.

This has been the product of continued success among the youth ranks. The 2024 team in France will be the first men’s Olympic soccer team to feature since 2008. Yet, the expectations for this batch of young players are higher than the previous four US Olympic representatives. In three of those four years, the United States failed to advance out of the group stage. In 2000, the Americans lost in the semifinals to Spain and in the bronze medal match to Chile. A medal would not be overly surprising for this group of players.

Other positive results to build on

To reach the Summer Olympics in 2024, the USYNT won the CONCACAF U-20 Championship. A dominating performance in that competition led to the Americans’ first third title in the tournament. The United States scored 31 goals in its seven games. Paxten Aaronson, the younger brother of Brenden Aaronson, led the way with seven goals in the tournament. The USA will face stiffer opposition with more on the line at the Olympics. Still, confidence is mounting for the side as talent continues to grow in the United States.