[USA-SLOVENIA] Who says soccer isn't exciting? The USA stayed alive at the World Cup with a 2-2 tie against Slovenia after going two goals down in the first
half. There was a lot to like and not like about the U.S. performance in an incident-filled game ...
What we liked ...
-- How many times have we seen Michael Bradley come out of nowhere and charge into the penalty area to steal a goal? Bradley ran from a deep-lying position on to Jozy Altidore's knockdown and blasted it past Slovenia keeper Samir Handanovic for the equalizer.
-- No U.S. player has ever been under more pressure to produce at the World Cup than Landon Donovan, and he responded with the key early goal in the second half to get the Americans back in the game.
-- On a day when the USA had few ideas, Altidore was a force in the American attack. The Slovenian defenders struggled to handle the 20-year-old Altidore throughout the game.
-- The U.S. comeback marked only the fifth time in World Cup history a team has come back from two goals down at the half and earned a tie. The USA would have been the first team to come back from 2-0 down at the break and win if Malian referee Koman Coulibaly had not disallowed Maurice Edu's goal.
What we didn't like ...
-- All the defensive problems the USA displayed in its 4-2 loss to the Czech Republic last month were again on display against Slovenia. Its marking was nonexistent on the two Slovenian goals, but the fact of the matter is that it could have been worse. Time and again, the Americans left Slovenia acres of space or turned the ball over in dangerous situations.
-- Coulibaly's calls throughout the USA-Slovenia game were, to say the least, interesting. From beginning to end, Coulibaly had his hands full with an incident-filled game, and he didn't handle it well. A yellow card to Robbie Findley that will keep him out of the Algeria game? A foul on Edu's apparent winning goal? Only Coulibaly knows what happened. (In the interest of equal time, the Slovenians also had issue with Coulibaly's work.)
-- So much had been expected of Jose Francisco Torres after his solid second half against Turkey in the final game of the U.S. send-off series, but his insertion in the starting lineup against Slovenia -- the lone change from the England match -- simply didn't work out. His free kick stopped at the near post was his lone contribution in a disappointing first half.
-- Against a predictable England team and with the support of an organized backline, Oguchi Onyewu had a solid game against the English but was exposed badly against Slovenia, looking slow and tentative.
June 18 in Johannesburg
United States 2 Slovenia 2. Goals: Donovan 48, Bradley 82; Birsa 13, Ljubijankic 42.
United States -- Howard, Cherundolo, DeMerit, Onyewu (Gomez, 80), Bocanegra, Dempsey, Bradley, Torres (Feilhaber, 46), Donovan, Altidore, Findley (Edu, 46).
Slovenia -- S.Handanovic, Brecko, Suler, Cesar, Koren, Ljubijankic (Pecnik, 74; Komac 90), Birsa (Dedic, 87), Novakovic, Jokic, Kirm, Radosavljevic.
Yellow Card: Findley 40; Slovenia -- Cesar 35, Suler 69, Kirm 72, Jokic 75.
Referee: Koman Coulibaly (Mali).