photo by Joe Toth/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
It may have only been a draw, but for the U.S. national team, the 1-1 tie it posted against England surely felt like a victory.
After giving up an early goal to Steven Gerrard, the United States pulled level in the 40th minute when Robert Green fumbled a Clint Dempsey shot into his own net.
The draw wasn't just a result of luck. Tim Howard put forth his latest incredible performance, saving several shots, including a couple from close range.
The defense also impressed, as it played an organized game against England's talented group of attackers. Oguchi Onyewu started and played 90 minutes for the first time since injuring his patellar tendon last October.
Not all was perfect, though. England got off to a great start in the 4th minute when Emile Heskey played a through ball to Gerrard, who finished easily from close range after losing Ricardo Clark with a well-timed run.
The U.S. team responded with multiple opportunities, including headers from Onyewu and Jozy Altidore, but none were directed towards goal.
Things looked to take a turn for the worse for the underdogs, however, when Howard went down in pain after a collision with Heskey. Howard received medical attention for a few minutes before staying in the game.
The Americans then equalized when Dempsey created space against Gerrard and unleashed a shot from 25 yards out. While it looked like a routine ball, Green mishandled it and watched in agony as it slowly rolled into the back of the net.
Altidore almost put the U.S team ahead in the second half when he rounded Jamie Carragher and saw his shot saved by Green before it bounced off the post.
The U.S. attack cooled down towards the latter parts of the second half, but the defense continued to play physically, giving Rooney a hard time to leave his mark on the game. The solid defensive play, combined with huge saves from Howard, saw the U.S. team pull out a point as England threw numbers forward in the waning moments.
The draw not only puts the Americans in prime position to advance out of Group C, it also gives the United States a 1-0-1 record against England in World Cup play.
What do you think of the United States' draw with England? Impressed by the team's performance? Confident it will get out of the group stage?
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