The young Americans patiently held off a Swiss team short on players and -- even worse -- short on ideas and came away with a 1-0 victory Wednesday in Basel.
In a friendly with few clear chances, the outcome was decided in the 86th minute on a goal that followed a well-constructed setup and a fortunate bounce.
Midfielder Michael Bradley, Coach Bob Bradley's son, was the recipient of the setup work of two players making their international debuts to score his first goal for the USA on the slightest of touches.
Maurice Edu, outstanding in his debut for the USA in midfield, won a ball on the top of the Swiss penalty area and played it wide to Danny Szetela, who had entered the game only minutes earlier in his first appearance. Szetela played the ball into the area, where Clint Dempsey knocked the ball forward toward the Swiss goal where Bradley played the ball into the empty goal to the astonishment of the Swiss defenders.
Long before the U.S. goal and the flurry of chances that followed -- most involving Freddy Adu -- the fans at St. Jakob Park had begun to jeer a Swiss team.
The scariest moment for the USA in the second half came when second-half keeper Brad Guzan was called for catching a ball outside the penalty area to set up a dangerous free kick. But Guzan steadied himself and was in position to stop Hakan Yakin's free kick from 18 yards through the U.S. wall.
It wasn't as though the USA carried the game to the Swiss, but the Yanks created the better of the chances, testing Swiss keeper Pascal Zuberbuehler late in the first half. First, a wide-open Eddie Lewis forced Zuberbuehler into a save on a shot from a tight angle, and then Edu did well to play a ball back into the six-yard box that deflected off captain Carlos Bocanegra but right into Zuberbuehler's arms.
On a night that saw Robbie Findley also get his first cap -- Adu earned his second cap, and Guzan got his third -- the only bad news was that DaMarcus Beasley limped off with an ankle contusion after taking a knock in the first half. Heath Pearce moved to left back and Lewis stepped into Beasley's spot in midfield after the change.
"It was a typical game in Europe," said U.S. coach Bob Bradley, who is now 11-5-1 with one game to play in 2007. "Both teams made it hard for the other team. For us, it is important to understand the mentality of being in these games and still finding ways to win. It is still an important step for us. It's a game where credit goes to the team for sticking together, being organized and not giving too much away. And finding a way to win at the end."
The Swiss press blasted the local public for its lack of support -- St. Jakob Park was less than half-filled for the friendly -- but there was nothing in the Swiss performance to suggest that the "Nati" will keep the fans it has.
Kobi Kuhn's team was hammered in the Swiss press for its lack of ideas against the USA, which it had never lost to in six previous games. Without Patrick Mueller in the middle of the defense and Alexander Frei up front, Basel fans endured a long night.
"I understand the whistles," Kuhn said. "They hurt, but you have to live with it. Our job is to make everyone happy."
The double fixture week that had begun on such a positive note when the Swiss beat their Euro 2008 co-hosts, 3-1, on Saturday ended badly.
The Swiss were already without eight first-team players sidelined with injuries, but that list grew longer. Defender Johan Djourou went off with a hamstring injury in the first half, and Tranquillo Barnetta injured his knee.
Oct. 17 in Basel
Switzerland 0 USA 1. Goal: Bradley 86.
Switzerland -- Zuberbuehler, Djourou (Von Bergen, 17), Magnin, Margairaz (H.Yakin, 46), Grichting, Degen, Barnetta (Spycher, 75), Inler, Lichtsteiner, Celestini (Fernandes, 46), Streller (Nkufo, 46).
USA -- Hahnemann (Guzan, 46), Cherundolo, Onyewu (Califf, 46), Bocanegra, Lewis (Szetela, 84), Feilhaber, Edu, Bradley, Beasley (Pearce, 31), Twellman (Adu, 77), Dempsey (Findley, 90).
Yellow cards: Switzerland -- Streller 45; USA -- Onyewu 45, Edu 53.
Referee: Frank de Bleeckere (Belgium).
Shots: USA 9, SWI 8.
Shots on goal: USA 5, SW I 3.
Saves: USA 4, SW I 3.
Corner Kicks: USA 3, SW I 4.
Fouls: USA 25, SWI 16.
Offside: USA 3, SW I 0.