Slonina surpasses legendary Meola to set USMNT record with debut against Serbia

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Slonina USMNT 2023
U.S. men's national team goalkeeper Gaga Slonina set a record on Wednesday night as he was named to the U.S. men's national team XI to face Serbia.
  • Slonina earns first USMNT cap
  • Betters Meola record for youngest goalkeeper
  • Seven debuts for U.S. vs Serbia

WHAT HAPPENED? By starting against Serbia, Slonina becomes the youngest-ever goalkeeper to feature for the USMNT. At 18 years, 255 days, Slonina surpasses USMNT legend Tony Meola, who made his debut at 19 years, 106 days, in June 1988.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The world has high hopes for Slonina, who was the only goalkeeper included in GOAL's 2022 NXGN list. Slonina, who joined Chelsea from the Chicago Fire this winter, has been compared to some of the greats, with Meola himself saying the teenager reminds him of a young Gianluigi Buffon.

In total, the U.S. lineup includes seven players earning their first USMNT camp, with three more making their second appearances. Walker Zimmerman is the lone veteran in the XI, which has an average age of 23 years, 18 days.

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WHAT NEXT FOR THE USMNT? After Friday's friendly, the U.S. will face Colombia on Saturday for its second and final match of the annual January camp.