November 15, 2011
US rides hot first half to win over Slovenia
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia - After sputtering through their first six games under coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the U.S. attack caught fire Tuesday at fog-shrouded Stozice Stadium, reeling off three first-half goals on their way to a 3-2 win over Slovenia.
|Edson Buddle’s ninth-minute goal started the U.S. on the way to a 3-2 win over Slovenia on Tuesday.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
It was the first U.S. win on European soil since 2008.
Edson Buddle gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute, powering a 25-yard shot off the left post and into the net. Clint Dempsey, whose opportunistic defensive maneuver forced a turnover and set Buddle’s scoring play in motion, headed home the second American goal off Michael Bradley’s corner kick in the 41st, and Jozy Altidore sent the U.S. into halftime with a 3-1 lead by converting a late penalty kick. The flurry more than doubled the U.S. offensive output under Klinsmann, from two goals going into Tuesday’s match to five in seven games.
The victory was far from a cakewalk, however. Tim Matavz, who had one goal called back for offside in the 20th minute, pulled the Slovenians into a 1-1 tie in the 26th, splitting defenders Clarence Goodson and Timmy Chandler to beat netminder Tim Howard one-on-one.
Just after the hour mark, Matavz made it a one-goal game after a furious five minutes that saw two Slovenian shots hit the woodwork and two more cleared off the line before Matavz took a short pass from Zlatan Ljubijankic and sent an open shot into the lower left side of the net.
Two American players reached personal milestones during the match, starting with veteran defender Carlos Bocanegra, who received the 100th cap of his career. In addition, Howard moved into sole possession of second place all-time in victories for a U.S. goalkeeper with 38, surpassing Tony Meola.
"It was an entertaining game," said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. "We saw again a lot of interesting things from our players that we wanted to see. As a group we are growing. We knew going into the locker room up 3-1 at halftime that it wasn't finished. They proved that and caused us big problems. The team stood against it and tried to keep going forward and create more opportunities. There was a special atmosphere today because it was our captain's 100th game. It's a very, very special moment, and the team wanted to do well for him. Obviously we are pleased with the result, but also the performance."