The United States entered their match against Slovenia looking to pick up some much-needed points. It would not come easy for the Americans as Slovenia struck with an early goal. The goal marked the second time in consecutive games that the US had given up a goal in the opening fifteen minutes of the match. The US instantly went on the offensive and pushed forward with a front line of Findley and Altidore up top. The back line looked a bit shaky for the Americans and the trend continued as Slovenia went on the counter-attack and netted a crucial second goal. Center back, Oguchi Onyewu, looked hesitant at times. His hesitation led to Slovenia’s two goals. The first Slovenian goal resulted from the acres of space left by the back four of the US. The second goal came when Onyewu kept a Slovenian forward onside as he hesitated for a second to close the space. The half ended with American hopes near the bottom.
The second half opened with the introduction of a Benny Feilhaber and Maurice Edu. The move sparked something in the Americans because just two minutes into the second half, Landon Donovan scorched the top shelf with a wonder strike from an odd angle. The goal spurred the attack forward and Slovenia instantly looked nervous. It took until the 82nd minute for the US to find the much-needed equalizer. Set up by Jozy Altidore’s exquisite job of posting up just outside the box, a streaking Michael Bradley fired a bullet into the net. It capped a furious comeback by the US and showed how talented and important Jozy Altidore is to the US success. Only minutes later, Maurice Edu seemed to do the impossible as he slotted home the free kick from Landon Donovan to take the lead. However, the goal was disallowed due to a foul by Maurice Edu. You be the judge. On the replay, a couple of fouls could have been called on Slovenia with a penalty kick awarded, however, none was granted.
The Americans gained a point and did so in exciting fashion. The final game against Algeria will be huge for the US as they will need a victory to stay alive. A victory alone will not insure progression into the next round. An England victory today against Algeria will put the Brits atop the group alongside Slovenia. The US would then need either a tie between England/Slovenia and a better goal differential, or a win by either side which would keep the loser at a likely 4 points. All of this hinges on a US victory over Algeria.
The next week will be crucial for the Americans and their World Cup hopes. Manager Bob Bradley will need to take a serious look at the lineup and must compensate for the absence of Robbie Findley after picking up consecutive yellow cards. Much will be made of the blown calls against the Americans, however, the US needs to move forward and plan accordingly for Algeria. They can not fall behind early again. Sooner or later that luck will run out. All of the US supporters will hope for a strong match and victory against Algeria and progression to the next round.
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