After losing five games in a row, the USA will take a
victory any way it can get it.
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
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
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
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
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
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
, 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.
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. GAME SUMMARY:
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). Att.:
Shots: USA 9, SWI 8.
Shots on goal: USA 5, SW I 3.
Saves: USA 4, SW
Corner Kicks: USA 3, SW I 4.
Fouls: USA 25, SWI 16.
Offside: USA 3, SW I 0.