Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
USA wilts in Copa opener against Argentina
by Ridge Mahoney, June 29th, 2007 7AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

MappBack to the real world. The Copa America in any South American nation is a long way from the Gold Cup anywhere in the United States. An Argentine lineup featuring several world-class stars pummeled a makeshift American team, 4-1, to end the 11-match unbeaten run of Coach Bob Bradley. After a courageous hour of surviving at 1-1 with sweat and grit, the U.S. resolve melted in a searing display of skill and speed by the tournament favorites.

Lionel Messi didn't score, but he didn't need to. Slashing dribbles, audacious flicks, and relentless runs unhinged the U.S. flanks and carved open gaps in the middle for Juan Roman Riquelme and on the flanks for Gabriel Heinze. Hernan Crespo scored the first two goals, substitute Pablo Aimar added a crushing third with a pulverizing header, and fellow sub Carlos Tevez added the fourth on a breakaway.

Eddie Johnson won and converted a penalty kick for a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute but seldom afterward could the Americans threaten Argentina's goal. A promising first half gave way to ineptitude, with the U.S. seldom able to connect passes through midfield and its longer balls easily swallowed up by the opposition.

Argentina's tactical fouling aborted any American attempts to establish tempo. Feilhaber won a ball in midfield and released it for Johnson, who was body-blocked by Roberto Ayala. Feilhaber started a dribble, Juan Sebatian Veron knocked him down. And so it went.

The attack petered out so often in the neutral third the Americans didn't win a single corner kick.

Their few free kicks amounted to little; Feilhaber drove the ball wide, Justin Mapp blazed over the crossbar. Another Feilhaber free kick, from the flank to the near post, didn't reach Herculez Gomez trying to flick it across the goalmouth.

A thrilling through ball sliced by the outside of Feilhaber's right foot sent Johnson into the area to be sandwiched by Gabriel Milito and Ayala. Johnson put away the penalty himself, driving the shot to keeper Robert Abbondanzieri's left, but less than two minutes later, Argentina had tied the game on a free kick.

Feilhaber had grabbed Riquelme's arm, or vice versa, and a ball chipped over the U.S. defensive wall was touched on by Heinze as Keller came out too slowly, too late, and Crespo smashed it into the net.

Near the end of the half, Keller came up with a good save on a fierce shot off the foot of Veron, getting enough of his left glove on the ball to deflect it onto the crossbar.

Central defenders Jimmy Conrad and Jay DeMerit won most of the balls in the air but were exposed when it was on the ground.

Argentina took the lead in the 64th minute when the backline collapsed on Messi's dribble and one-two with Riquelme to leave Crespo wide open. He drilled a shot along the ground at which Keller lunged awkwardly.

Bradley's substitution of Ben Olsen, whose tenacity on the right side of midfield gave the U.S. some bite, with Eddie Gaven encouraged Messi to race forward even more often. Messi brushed past Gaven and played a ball right past a static Ricardo Clark, then ran onto Riquelme's return pass to set up Crespo for the second goal.

Clark lost the mark on Aimar, who zoomed through the middle to put away a cross by Heinze from the left corner, which was wide open because Wynne had stepped forward to contest the first pass.

Tevez scored the fourth after Riquelme lofted a ball that caught Conrad and DeMerit flat-footed. Keller backed up as Tevez approached and couldn't get near the low shot.

The U.S. effort, aside from the last few minutes, can't be faulted. The disparity in talent is no surprise. There were some tired legs and long faces during the last 15 minutes, and how well those elements can be shored up prior to Tuesday's match against Paraguay, which hammered Colombia, 5-0, will determine the team's fate.

GAME SUMMARY
Copa America, Group C
June 28 in Maracaibo, Venezuela


USA 1 Argentina 4

Goals:Johnson (pen.) 9; Crespo (Heinze) 11, Crespo (Messi) 64, Aimar (Heinze) 78, Tevez (Riquelme) 85.

USA - Keller, Wynne, DeMerit, Conrad, Bornstein, Feilhaber, Clark (Beckerman, 79), Olsen (Gaven, 62), Mapp, Twellman (Gomez, 69), Johnson.

Argentina - Abbondanzieri, Zanetti, Ayala, G. Milito, Heinze, Mascherano Veron, Cambiasso (Aimar, 58), Riquelme, Messi (Tevez, 79), Crespo.

Stats: USA-ARG
Shots: 6-10
Saves: 2-1
Corner Kicks: 0-5
Fouls: 9-15
Offside: 1-4

Yellow cards: USA - Bornstein 73; Argentina -- G. Milito 58.

Referee:Carlos Candia (Chicago).

 



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
TV Report: Sounders-NYCFC game draws 616,000 viewers    
The Seattle Sounders-New York City FC game averaged 616,000 viewers on ESPN, the most for an ...
What They're Saying: Jim Curtin    
"Jesse was upset with the referees, obviously. Maybe lost his temper a bit, but I've seen ...
Video Pick: Stephen Colbert on Iceland over England    
On the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the host opened his monologue with a recap of ...
What They're Saying: Paris dog owner Lindsey Kent    
"Oliver is happy to mingle with people if they're friendly. But he feels a little scared ...
NASL: More rebuilding by Miami FC -- Kwadwo Poku    
Miami FC, the NASL expansion club that finished last in the Spring Season, continued its spending ...
MLS Countdown: Birnbaum back for long road slog    
A four-game road trip starts Friday for D.C. United and the return of defender Steve Birnbaum ...
MLS Moves: Fire and Gilberto part ways    
The bizarre saga of Gilberto in MLS has come to an end, allowing the Chicago Fire ...
U.S. Open Cup: PC move triggers Strikers' upset win    
The NASL Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, who had never beaten an MLS team going back to their ...
MLS Countdown: Injury bug bites Irwin again, Bono in goal    
Forced out of game against Orlando City last weekend, Toronto FC goalkeeper Clint Irwin will miss ...
What They're Saying: Landon Donovan    
"I realized quickly I'm not a naturally energetic, outgoing, outspoken kind of person. I have pretty ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives