Top Stories

Offense finally awakens as USA tops Slovenia

USA Slovenia 2 (Reuters)


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?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Bradley actually has excellent first touch, he receives the ball and puts it where he can play it immediately if need be. He can make the ball move where he wants and generally makes pretty good decisions about where to play the ball. He does not seem to have the world’s quickest feet and probably will never be a player you want to see dribbling into a crowd; so in tight quarters, he plays with power as he should.

  2. Slovenia is a very good team. They qualified for both of the last two WC finals, something that is not easy. The style they played in the first half was pretty much route one ball; it did create chances, but it gave the US too much possession. I had a lousy connection and ESPN3 replay won’t work so I did not see much of the 2nd half, but it looked like Slovenia possessed the ball more, that took some steam out of the US attack and could have easily led to 2 or 3 more Slovenian goals.

  3. Tell me what you mean by “touch”.

    Tell me what you mean by “technical guy”.

    Everyone uses this meaningless jargon and no one knows what the other guy is talking about.

    It used to be that if a guy was really good on the ball he had “good ball control”.

    That remains the most descriptive phrase I have yet seen.

    Guys like Benny and Torres have good ball control because they can get the ball to do what they want better than most players in their peer group.

    But I’ve seen Benny have lots of games where he was a turnover machine. That’s because it’s great to be able to get the ball to do what you want; it’s too bad if what you want is a bad idea or stupid.

    From what I’ve seen over the course of his career M. Bradley has good ball control; maybe not Messi or Beckham level control, but good enough. You don’t play for as long as he has, where he has and had the career he has had without very good ball control.

    He’s just not fancy or flashy like Torres or Benny.

    But he remains a better soccer player than either one and he certainly has had a better career than either one.

  4. Man, I hate it whenever anyone says that someone under the age of about 25 will never be any good, or trash a 20 year-old for making mistakes.

    It is disgusting how many posts I’ve seen here that make definitive statements about how useless someone who is still under 23 is and always will be.

    I don’t mind people pointing out shortcomings, mental lapses or poor technique, but to definitively state that a player will never be any good (especially one who managed to get called into a national team camp) is just plain stupid.

    Even Beckerman who I tend to agree has some shortcomings is hardly a terrible player. He has excellent tactical awareness and generally places himself in good positions from which to defend. He is willing to tackle and fight for a ball and does not quit. These are things that essential for a defensive mid. That said, at his age, his speed is likely to get only slower. He makes some good passes, but neither that nor his ability to dribble is a great strength. He will continue to play a role for the US as long as Klinsmann wants him; there are worse options who are a lot quicker and faster but who are not as tactically aware or even as good at passing.

  5. If you think Donovan is a prima donna by international soccer standards then you haven’t been following the game for very long. As for US soccer standards, well as far was we know he hasn’t slept with any of his teamates’ wives yet.

    JK has seen and worked with far,far, far worse.

    Tool or not, selfish or not, you may not want him anywhere near your family but Donovan remains the one player one player in the US player pool who can, by himself, change the game for the US.

    He does this by being the one guy who consistently makes the midfield and consequently, everything else, work.

    Dempsey is getting better at it but he isn’t Landon yet.

  6. “Khan said…

    Fabian Johnson was hands down our best player. Incredible composure on the ball, no USMNT player has that level of skill”

    Read what you wrote

  7. Since always. A starting player in a non-attacking position should be closer to 80%. 72% is strikingly bad when zero of those pass attempts come in the attacking third. Bradley, in comparison, completed 42 out of 52 passes (81%, not counting crosses/corners), and many of his passes were actually in attacking positions, where it’s much more difficult to complete a pass.

  8. Erm, I’m just not seeing it. High line defense requires both speed and craft. We haven’t got any real proven providers. Prospects? Sure.

  9. I have tried to be patient with Beckermsn. He is good on the tackle. When he received the ball, his head pops up looking for options faster than any other player on the team. The problems are: LACK OF SPEED AND CLOSING ABILITY. He was a tremendous liablity today. The Slovenia speed was all at the front of their line-up, and Beckerman was ALWAYS a step slow to close the space when the ball was in the middle of the field. He constantly was beaten. Slovenia’s 2nd goal galvanized Beckerman’s limitations. He was there to close the forward down and COULDN’T GET THERE. Against faster teams – think CONCACAF WC qualification – he will be exposed as much as today. I was really shocked at this lack of mobility. He can’t play at this level.

  10. Ich wusste, dass ich das durcheinander gebracht, nachdem ich getippt, aber nicht wichtig genug, um es zu ändern.


    Its been a while since I had to think in German.

  11. Beckerman and edu are clearly playing for a dept role…jones and bradley are head and shoulders better than the aformentioned pair.

    With respect to the formation…diamond midfield as i suggested

  12. Bradley showed he has to be in the starting eleven. His distribution was outstanding, both in the run of play and from set pieces.

    Every single set piece he served up was a threat.

  13. I’d switch Holden and MB. MB played on the right at Heerenveen, and he plays on the right now. Holden is just fine in the middle-remember when he led the EPL in tackles before his injury?

  14. Here’s what I think. I still the 3-5-2 would play to our strengths more. We need 2 strikers and all of our best players are midfielders so why not try to get them all on the field. We would also need to utilize our best 3 defenders. I have been saying this for a while but I’m on my iPhone And can’t really draw it out like I’d like right now.

  15. Can’t wait to see this for WC qualifying.


  16. Lots of comments on Beckerman here. He had a very solid game today. He’s in there for his discipline and soccer IQ. He plays the position as it’s supposed to be played. He doesn’t have any flair, but is steady. Bradley and Edu can learn a thing or two from Beckerman about learning and playing their role within the team.


Leave a Comment