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Aaronson starts, McKenzie comes off the bench to earn first USMNT caps in 1-0 win

Brenden Aaronson and Mark McKenzie became the first Philadelphia Union Academy grads to feature for the U.S. Men’s National Team in a friendly on Saturday

Costa Rica v United States Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images

He said he was going to be cool and play his game if he had a chance and that’s pretty much what Brenden Aaronson did, making his U.S. Men’s National Team debut in Gregg Berhalter’s starting XI in a friendly against Costa Rica on Saturday.

The 19-year-old Philadelphia Union midfielder didn’t set the world on fire, but he also didn’t look at all out of place with some bright moments in the first half that included nearly connecting on a goal. He played 66 minutes on the day.

Mark McKenzie checked in for Aaron Long in the 63rd minute to make his USMNT so the Union teammates did share the field for three minutes on the day.

The homegrown duo are the first Philadelphia Union Academy and YSC Academy grads to earn senior national team caps since the academy went full-time in 2013.

They were among seven players who collected their first USMNT caps on Saturday. That included starters Jesús Ferreira, Ulysses Llanez and Sam Vines and substitutes Brandon Servania and Chase Gasper.

Llanez scored the lone goal of the game from the spot in the 50th minute after Reggie Cannon was taken down in the box.

With the conclusion of the USMNT January camp, Aaronson and McKenzie will now rejoin their Union teammates in preseason and await a call for the United States U23 team ahead of Olympic qualifying kicking off March 20 in Mexico.