November 14, 2012
INTO THE MIX
Diskerud's 1st international goal in stoppage time gives U.S. a wild 2-2 draw in Russia
KRASNODAR, Russia -- Timing as they say, is everything, and Mix Diskerud could not have timed his first international goal any better for the United States on Wednesday.
His goal three minutes into stoppage time gave the U.S. a wild 2-2 draw with Russia at Kuban Stadium.
The Americans just as easily could have lost the game by a wide margin had it not been for the stellar play by goalkeeper Tim Howard, whose saves kept the visitors in the game, including a spectacular one in the 89th minute.
That set up Diskerud to be the offensive hero. Diskerud, who had replaced Geoff Cameron in the 87th minute, fired home a shot from 14 yards to allow the U.S. escape with a draw after being outplayed for most of the match.
Only minutes prior, it appeared the Russians would walk out with a win as Roman Shirokov's penalty kick lifted them into a 2-1 advantage.
U.S. defender Clarence Goodson knocked own Artem Dzyuba in the penalty area. Shirokov took the kick and fired his attempt into the upper left corner as Howard guessed the wrong way in the 84th minute.
Michael Bradley's 11th international goal had lifted the Americans into a 1-1 deadlock in the 76th minute.
Former Red Bulls forward Juan Agudelo, who endured a miserable season after he was traded by the Red Bulls to Chivas USA on May 17, started the scoring sequence by sending a ball into the penalty area that midfielder Maurice Edu headed back to Bradley. Bradley then fired a line drive that banged of the left post and into the goal.
The Americans entered the match with a two-game winning streak in Europe, trying to extend it to three games, which would have been a record.
But they did not get off to an auspicious start as they just about gave the Russians a goal on a silver platter in the ninth minute.
In the defensive third, midfielder Danny Williams passed to a Russian and the hosts countered quickly, finding Fyodor Smolov on the right flank. Smolov, making his international debut, raced into the right side of the penalty area and powered a 12-yard shot past Howard for his first international goal.
Smolov's goal celebration, however, was muted as he suffered a leg injury on the shot, which forced coach Fabio Capello to pull him for Maxim Gregoriev in the 11th minute.
The U.S. was not immune from injuries as captain and defender Carlos Bocanegra was pulled by coach Jurgen Klinsmann for a leg injury. Goodson, who had no time to warm-up, replaced him.
The first half will not be used as a highlight video for the U.S. team, which struggled at both ends of the pitch.
Decent goal-scoring opportunities were few and far between for the visitors in the opening half. Their two most memorable shots was striker Jozy Altidore's 22-yard attempt that sailed over the crossbar in the 38th minute and forward Herculez Gomez's 28-yard free kick that went the same way a minute into stoppage time.
Despite the sub-par U.S. performance, Howard had to be at the top of his game to make sure the score would not get out o hand as he was forced to make a save to his right on a 24-yard blast by Alexander Kokorin in the 49th minute.
Three minutes later, Howard was tested again by Kokorin. This time halftime substitute Alan Dzogev fed Kokorin, who raced into the left side of the box. Howard came out of the goal and got to the ball without hitting the Russian. Trying to get a penalty kick call, Kokorin fell to the ground, but the referee wasn't buying it and slapped him with a yellow card for a dive.
Howard continued to play a solid match. In the 62nd minute, Dzogev managed to head the ball between two defenders one bounce toward the U.S. goal, but the current Everton keeper gathered in the ball.
Within seconds during the 66th minute, Howard distinguished himself and kept the score within striking distance. First, he denied Renat Yanbayev from point-blank range from seven yards before he parried away Vasily Berezutsky's shot from the left side.
Fabian Johnson created the Americans' best scoring opportunity in the second half as he found some room and rushed down the left side. He found Altidore in the middle, but the AZ Alkmaar could not control the ball on his first touch and nothing came of the play as the Russians cleared.
The U.S. tried for the equalizer again in the 73rd minute as Bradley sent a 12-yard header over the goal on a play that Jermaine Jones created with a left-wing cross to the far post. Second-half sub Sacha Kljestan headed the ball to Bradley, who headed his shot over the bar.