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November 14, 2012
Diskerud's stoppage-time goal, Howard's saves allow U.S. to register 2-2 draw in Russia

Tim Howard once again save the U.S.'s bacon in goal.
Tim Howard once again save the U.S.'s bacon in goal.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
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 six saves, some of them spectacular, kept the visitors in the game, including a vita stop 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.

Bradley sent a long ball toward the penalty area from just in front of the midfield line near the left sideline. Defender Sergei Ignashevich tried to clear, but his header bounced to the top of the penalty box where Diskerud struck a first-time shot that clipped a Russian defender and looped over the stranded goalkeeper into the net.

"We saw a very entertaining game," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "Russia proved why they are one of the best teams in Europe, and we wanted to see how good we are against such a strong team.

"You saw we can compete with very good teams in the world. The way our team fought back twice after being down a goal was great. It showed a lot of personality. It showed a lot of character."

Players such as midfielders Michael Bradley, who tallied the first equalizer, and Jermaine Jones and Howard.

"I think they are role models for the younger players so they grow around them," said Klinsmann, who added that defender Geoff Cameron was "becoming a very important player. I think you saw Jozy Altidore today was a handful. He gets a big, big compliment for his performance.Ē

Only minutes prior to Diskerud's goal, 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.

Bradley's 11th international goal had lifted the Americans into a 1-1 deadlock in the 76th minute.

Juan Agudelo 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.

"For our players itís important that in an international game you have to be spot on from the first second on," Klinsmann said. "We have to be sharper and mentally fresher in those decisive moments. We canít give away things like we did the first goal."

The U.S. was not immune from injuries as captain and defender Carlos Bocanegra was pulled by 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.

ďAt halftime we said to the team if they continue to play like they did the 20-25 minutes before halftime, then we have a game," Klinsmann said. "Thereís a whole half to play, and maybe we can equalize or win that game."

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