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October 9, 2010
U.S. takes lead twice, but ends in a 2-2 draw

By Kathryn L. Knapp
ChicagoLand Soccer News Contributing Editor

Former New York Red Bulls forward Jozy Altidore scored for the United States Saturday night.
Former New York Red Bulls forward Jozy Altidore scored for the United States Saturday night.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
CHICAGO, Ill. – The U.S. Men’s National team fought until the final seconds Saturday night at Soldier Field. But they ended in a 2-2 draw with Poland, despite taking the lead two times.

“We did enough to get ahead twice,” U.S. midfielder Stuart Holden said. “But as soon as the goals went in, we rested on it. We have to keep pushing. We have to become a team that can finish out games.”

Jermaine Jones made his U.S. debut, and didn’t disappoint. Jones forwarded a long ball to Jozy Altidore in the 13th minute. Altidore raced toward goal and buried the ball into the back of the net for a 1-0 USA lead.

Poland’s Robert Lewandowski found himself open in the 22nd minute. He challenged Tim Howard one vs. one, only to loose the challenge. Howard blocked the ball with his leg, sending it out for a throw-in.

Adam Matuszczyk put Poland on the board in the 30th minute. A defensive blunder by USA’s Stuart Holden and Oguchi Onyewu led to the goal. Holden attempted to clear the ball, but the ball stayed in the box. Onyewu headed it down to the feet of Ludovic Obraniak. He poked it into the middle of the box, where Matuszczyk sent it through the back line and into the net, to tie the game at 1-1.

Poland looked to double its goal count late in the first half. Jakub Blaszczykowski beat Maurice Edu in the 41st minute, only to send a shot directly at U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Altidore found some space in the 42nd minute, rocketing a shot off the right post.

In the 53rd minute, Stuart Holden soared a corner kick into the box. Onyewu jumped above Poland’s defense and headed it into the net to the left of Poland goalkeeper Artur Boruc for a 2-1 lead.

On a Poland free kick in the 61st minute after Jones was called for a foul, Obraniak blasted a shot toward goal. Howard blocked it with his fists, sending the ball back into play. Michael Bradley cleared the ball out of danger for the moment. Poland continued to push the attack, while the Americans sat back a bit.

And it paid off in the 73rd minute. The USA’s backline let another ball slide through. Blaszczykowski found himself with space, beat USA captain Carlos Bocanegra and found the back of the net, tying the match at 2-2.

Poland’s Dariusz Pietrasiak took down Holden outside of the box in the 77th minute, receiving a yellow card. Holden rose to the occasion bending a freekick into the box. Altidore headed it out for a Poland goal kick.

In the 87th minute, USA’s Clint Dempsey was taken down just outside the box. Jones, Holden and Steve Cherundolo lined up to take the freekick. Cherundolo took the kick, bouncing the ball off the wall. He kicked the rebound, but it was cleared by the Poland wall.

A flurry of attempts by the USA in the 90th minute, didn’t lead to a goal, but it was entertaining. The Americans had one last attempt when Holden had a freekick outside the box. He sent it far left. Altidore headed it, but it wasn’t on target.

“One of the things we need to do is clean up our play,” Bocanegra said. “We weren’t so sharp after we scored tonight. We have to find the right balance.”

The USA is 0-1-1 since World Cup play and 4-5-3 overall in 2010. They head to Chester, Pa. where they’ll face Colombia Tuesday, October 12th at 8:00 p.m. ET. The USA is now 7-7-3 vs. Poland and 5-3-3 at Soldier Field.

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