Serious questions were being asked of the U.S. men's national team's offense after six games in the Jurgen Klinsmann era, but the Americans answered some of them in their final game of the year.
The United States won its first game on European soil in three years with a 3-2 victory over Slovenia on a frigid and foggy night in Ljubljana, Slovenia on Tuesday.
Edson Buddle, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore each scored in the first half, and the American defense fought off a second-half rally from the hosts in a wide-open and entertaining rematch of the 2010 World Cup group stage game.
Tim Matavz scored his second goal of the game for Slovenia just after the hour mark, but the U.S. team fought off a comeback attempt by getting numbers behind the ball.
That approach was a much different from the one the Americans used to begin the game. Playing in a 4-4-2, the United States started by pressing high and creating several chances in a game that marked Carlos Bocanegra's 100th appearance for the United States,
That led to an early goal for the U.S. team, as the ball fell to Buddle after Dempsey forced a turnover deep in Slovenia's half in the ninth minute. Buddle hit a cannon of a shot from 25 yards out that got past Slovenia goalkeeper Samir Handanovic and slammed into the near post before rolling in.
Buddle's goal was negated midway through the half when Matavz beat an offside trap to go free in on goal against Tim Howard, who was beaten with a right-footed shot.
The Americans continued to push forward and were rewarded in the 41st minute. Michael Bradley, making his second start under Klinsmann, sent in a corner kick that Dempsey headed home. The goal was Dempsey's 24th for the U.S. team, tying him with Joe Max-Moore for fourth most all-time in team history.
Altidore scored the eventual game-winner on a penalty kick two minutes later after Fabian Johnson was fouled by Miso Brecko. Johnson earned his first start in just his second cap for the U.S. team.
The Americans, who are now 2-4-1 under Klinsmann, will next face Panama in a road friendly on January 25, 2012.
What do you think of the United States' 3-2 win? Who impressed/disappointed you? Happy with the progress the team showed?
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