Joe Scally "earned" USMNT roster spot with performances vs. Colombia, Brazil

Sergino Dest’s absence opened the door at right back in the U.S. men’s national team squad and Joe Scally looks to have solidified his spot as the starter heading into Copa America.

Scally and the USMNT rebounded from last Saturday’s 5-1 loss to Colombia by grinding out a 1-1 draw with Brazil on Wednesday night. The 21-year-old logged a combined 175 minutes over the past two matches, keeping in check two of the top attacking players in world football in Luis Diaz and Vinicius Junior.

Not many players would have been able to silence both Diaz and Vinicius in back-to-back matches, but Scally did and now heads into Copa America duty as Gregg Berhalter’s No. 1 right back option.

“You have two things here, you have a guy who is competing for a position, being on the roster, then you have to play against Luis Diaz, Vini. Jr, and Rodrygo,” Berhalter said postmatch about Scally’s performances. “It’s a lot and we are really happy with him. He didn’t make excuses about the opponent; he went out and did his job and I think he performed well in both matches. He certainly earned a spot on the roster.”

Scally won three duels against Brazil while also completing a match-high three tackles and making three clearances. The Borussia Moenchengladbach fullback, along with his USMNT teammates, stood firm against the dynamic Brazilian attack, earning only the program’s second-ever draw against their CONEMBOL opponents.

Scally entered camp fresh from his most productive club season yet, logging 35 combined appearances and over 2,500 minutes of playing time. Still, he didn’t let a busy campaign, nor Saturday’s lopsided loss from getting to him as the USMNT gained some much-needed confidence heading into their group stage opener on June 23.

“I knew what it was going to be, we knew the type of players they had,” Scally said in a postmatch U.S. Soccer interview. “I knew who I was going up against, they have two guys in Vinicius and Rodrygo who just won the Champions League. It was a difficult task but I thought the team did it well collectively and it was important for me to get this confidence and for the team to get this result.

“We saw what happened against Colombia, we were disappointed, the fans were disappointed. We knew we had to show a reaction tonight and we did. Now it is very important to take this momentum into the tournament.”

Scally will be favored to retain his starting spot when the USMNT takes on Bolivia in Arlington, Texas.