Portland Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse made his U.S. national team senior debut as the USMNT defeated Panama 3-0 in a friendly Sunday night at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Ebobisse was one of five starters making their first ever national team appearance, joining defenders Nick Lima and Daniel Lovitz, and midfielders Corey Baird and Djordje Mihailovic, tying a record for number of first time starters not seen since 1992.
For Ebobisse, it was moment that he would not soon forget.
"It was really exciting to get [my first cap] at such a young age–21–it’s not something I thought would happen," he said after the match. "When I got the call, I just said that I’d be ready for whatever came and to get my first start, as well in my first cap, was something special and something that I’m hoping to build off of."
Ebobisse played 66 minutes for the U.S. and was active on the left wing of the attack. In the eighth minute, a smooth cross from the winger found Gyasi Zardes open who headed his shot just over the bar. The U.S. cruised to the win on goals from Mihailovic, Walker Zimmerman and Christian Ramirez–also making his U.S. national team debut.
The commitment to youth and new faces in Greg Berhalter's side–himself making taking the reigns for his first match as head coach of the national team–was a responsibility that Ebobisse was happy to help make an impact on.
"[The coaching staff] put a lot of faith into all of us handing, at least, six guys their first caps tonight," he said. "I think that’s a testament to how much faith they’re putting in us and we’re just happy that we’re able to give them a win as well because at the end of the day, that’s what this is about."
While his Timbers teammates continue preseason training in Portland this week before heading to Costa Rica, Ebobisse will stay with the national team camp as they prepare for their friendly against, coincidentally, Costa Rica on Feb. 2 at Avaya Stadium in San Jose (12:30pm PT, FOX).