Here comes the USMNT's next generation! Winners, losers and ratings as Cowell and Vazquez shine despite Serbia friendly defeat

Cade Cowell dribble USMNT Serbia friendly 2023Getty Images

The U.S. men's national team's match against Serbia was, by and large, exactly what one would expect from a January camp outing right after a World Cup. It was sloppy, disjointed and chaotic. It also featured a whole bunch of new players, with a few making the kinds of mistakes that new players make.

But it also included some incredibly promising performances from a few potential USMNT stars who are just beginning their international careers.

Brandon Vazquez produced the USMNT's lone goal in the 2-1 defeat, with Luka Ilic and Veljko Simic providing the scoring for the visitors. Like the USMNT, Serbia showed up in Los Angeles with a young, inexperienced squad, but it avoided the range of errors that cost the Stars and Stripes to seal the victory.

Despite the mistakes, this will go down as a positive night for the USMNT. A total of eight players made their international debut, including the potential goalkeeper and striker of the future. A few others, most notably Cade Cowell, proved to be entirely different players than the ones we've seen before in a USMNT shirt.

January camp, in many ways, is about finding those players and giving them the nurturing they need to join the A-team. On Wednesday, a few players showed that they're ready for that leap and, with that in mind, Wednesday night was a win for the USMNT, even if the scoreboard said it wasn't.