Photo by Joe Toth/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
The U.S. national team found itself in a familiar position, trailing Slovenia after surrendering an early goal, but once again it fought back to earn a 2-2 result in its second Group C match at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
Second-half goals from Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley negated a 2-0 Slovenia lead. Despite getting a draw, the Americans will feel somewhat disappointed with the result, having come close to claiming three points late in the game.
In the 84th minute, Donovan curled in a free kick from the right flank that Maurice Edu smashed home from close range, but it was disallowed due to a controversial call.
It was unclear what referee Koman Coulibaly called, but the United States' still managed to fight back and earn a result in a match that began in poorly for the Americans.
Slovenia got on the scoreboard in the 13th minute with a Valter Birsa strike from distance that soared into the goal. The Slovenians added a second just before hafltime, when Zlatan Ljubijankic took advantage of Oguchi Onyewu's positioning to slip behind the defense and score easily on a breakaway.
After a flat first half, the United States immediately cut the deficit in half when Donovan found space down the right flank before blasting a shot past goalkeeper Samir Handanovic and into the roof of the net from a tight angle in the 48th.
The Americans pushed for an equalizer and found it eight minutes from the final whistle. Donovan served a long ball to Jozy Altidore, and he knocked it down to Michael Bradley, who made a deep run from the midfield. Bradley finished with a one-time shot over Handanovic, causing the pro-U.S. crowd to burst into jubilation.
It appeared to get even better for the United States when Edu finished off Donovan's free kick from close range, but a phantom foul or offsides was called by Coulibaly.
The game ended 2-2, and although the result might not feel like a positive one for the Americans, it still gives them a chance to advance to the second round if it can defeat Algeria by two goals on June 23.
What did you think of the game? Still believe the United States will make it out of the group? Who impressed/disappointed you?
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