Saturday, June 19, 2010

World Cup Group Stage - USA vs. Slovenia

USA 2:2 Slovenia
June 18, 2010

Ellis Park Stadium
Johannesburg, South Africa

Before the match, Slovenian midfielder Andrej Komac guaranteed victory over the United States: "We are going to win this match." We are playing our style of football and we'll continue with that, and we can beat the U.S. with that style."

The Slovenians, from a nation of two million facing a team from a nation of 309 million, drew ahead with two goals in the first half, from Valter Birsa on 13 minutes and Zlatan Ljubijankic on 42. The Americans flubbed several great chances of their own in the opening half.

But the Americans hit back early in the second half when midfielder Landon Donovan cut in from the right and lashed a shot high above Handanovic at the near post.

Donovan ran that ball right up to goalkeeper Samir and blasted it right over his head from a sharp angle.

In the 82nd minute, Michael Bradley scored the equalizer off of Jozy Altidore's header into space.

The Americans might even have won the game only for referee Koman Coulibaly to rule out a goal from Maurice Edu, who volleyed home Donovan's free-kick from the right. In a postmatch TV interview, U.S. Coach Bob Bradley said he did not know what the call was that disallowed the goal. Landon Donovan said the referee did not tell the players what the call was.

The Americans had rallied from two goals down to win a match only once in their history, a 1995 friendly vs. Saudi Arabia.

The result left Matjaz Kek's Slovenia top of Group C with four points, ahead of England's meeting with Algeria later in the day, and ensured the Americans remain undefeated with two draws ahead of their third game against the Algerians.

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