An undermanned United States held Argentina to a 0-0 draw Sunday in the last friendly for both teams before upcoming World Cup qualifiers, the best of three results in 12 days for the Americans against top-ranked opposition.
The Americans played the final 29 minutes with 10 men when Pablo Mastroeni earned a second yellow card after Maurice Edu drew a yellow for a foul 10 yards outside the U.S. penalty area.
Argentine captain Javier Mascherano was sent off with two yellow cards in the 86th for a studs-up tackle on his American counterpart Landon Donovan.
Julio Cruz was denied four times in the first half by U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard while the Americans pressed Argentina in the second half and put a header off the crossbar.
The match was the second in five days for Argentina, which beat Mexico 4-1 in San Diego on Wednesday.
Argentina resumes World Cup qualifying at home against Ecuador on June 15, traveling to play Brazil three days later.
The United States, which lost to England 2-0 at Wembley on May 28 and 1-0 to Spain in Santander on Wednesday, faces Barbados to open its qualifying campaign on Sunday in Los Angeles, and then travels to the Caribbean for the second leg a week later.
Cruz was clearly frustrated at his inability to finish his opportunities, throwing up his arms after each wasted chance.
Howard thwarted Cruz twice in quick succession in the fifth minute _ blocking his first attempt with his legs and then swatting away a chip by Cruz on the rebound. He thwarted Cruz again with his legs after Lionel Messi had sent him on goal in the 28th, and once more in first-half injury time with his left arm.
The Argentines had the better possession in the first half and constantly tested the center of the American defense.
But with Edu replacing Clint Dempsey to start the second half, and Messi leaving the game for Jose Sosa, the Americans pressed Argentina from the kickoff. Howard was forced to make seven saves in the first half, but none in the second 45 minutes.
Donovan, who became the 11th American to earn his 100th cap, had a shot blocked 44 seconds into the half and Oguchi Onyewu followed a minute later by putting a corner kick off the crossbar.
The United States also had a chance in injury time but Sacha Kljestan's shot from near the top of the penalty area was deflected over the bar.
A mostly partisan Argentine crowd of 78,682 _ the fourth largest to watch a football game at Giants Stadium and the ninth largest to attend a U.S. home game, had to sit through a downpour with flashes of lightning nearing for the final 10 minutes.
United States: Tim Howard; Heath Pearce (Eddie Lewis, 78), Danny Califf, Oguchi Onyewu (Jay DeMerit, 61), Steve Cherundolo; Michael Bradley (Maurice Edu, 46), Pablo Mastoeni, Clint Dempsey (Freddy Adu, 61), DaMarcus Beasley (Frankie Hejduk, 91); Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson (Sacha Kljestan, 74).
Argentina: Roberto Abbondanzieri; Gabriel Heinze, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Nicolas Budisso (Martin Demichelis, 46), Pablo Zabaleta (Javier Zanetti, 78); Maximiliano Rodriguez (Fernando Cavenaghi, 74), Fernando Gago, Javier Mascherano; Julio Cruz (Lisandro Lopez, 64), Sergio Aguero (Ever Banega, 88), Lionel Messi (Jose Sosa, 46).