March 5, 2014
A VICTORY FOR UKRAINE
2-0 win over U.S. for beleaguered country
LARNACA, Cyprus - The U.S. Men's National Team dropped a 2-0 decision against Ukraine at Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium as Andriy Yarmolenko and Marko Devic each scored a goal to hand the USA its first two-goal loss since falling 3-1 to Costa Rica in World Cup Qualifying on Sept. 6, 2013.
Ukraine, the highest-ranked team (No. 18) not competing in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, challenged the USA defense from the start.
The U.S. fell behind early as Denys Garmash went unmarked when he received the ball in the offensive third. Despite the distance from U.S. defenders John Brooks and Edgar Castillo, Garmash could not finish his first attempt as Tim Howard dove to his left for the initial save but Garmash quickly got the rebound and dished to a wide-open Yarmolenko, whose left-footed tap-in goal gave Ukraine the 1-0 lead in the 12th minute.
The USA avoided a big scare and potential two-goal deficit, when Sacha Klejstan lost the ball to Yarmolenko in the midfield in the 32nd minute, leading to a breakaway chance for Artem Fedets'kiy. Instead of attacking one-on-one against Howard, Fedets'kiy held on to the ball, waited for additional help, and the U.S. was bailed out by a Ukraine offside call.
The U.S. started the second half with several close scoring chances in the opening 10 minutes. Alejandro Bedoya ripped a shot from the left side of the box, only to have it blocked by Fedets'kiy in the 49th minute. Two minutes later, Geoff Cameron crossed from the right side and connected with Jozy Altidore, whose header sailed over the crossbar. Then Ukraine goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov made an errant pass in the 53rd minute that was intercepted by Bedoya, but his shot wide right.
Ukraine struck against the run of play in the 68th minute. Second-half sub Devic, two minutes after he entered the match, made a run between the U.S. defense and cut quickly to his left. Howard stayed low for a clutch save, but, similar to the first goal, the USA allowed a rebound and Devic slotted his second attempt into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.
Second-half sub Aron Johannsson nearly got one back with a left-footed volley off of Bedoya's corner kick in the 87th minute, but Oleh Gusiev blocked the crisp shot from the goal line. Howard made five saves for the USA and Ukraine's Andriy Pyatov had two saves for the clean sheet.
The U.S.' next game is with Mexico on April 2 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Kickoff for is set for 8 p.m. local time (11 p.m. ET).