Philly Sports Live

Mixed Results: Russia 2 – 2 USA

courtesy of US SOCCER

courtesy of US SOCCER

The US Men’s National Team were dominated by a strong Russian side this morning in both teams’ final match of the year, but managed to escape Krasnodar with a 2-2 draw on the strength of a stoppage time strike from Mix Diskerud.  The match was a microcosm of the American’s year, with defensive miscues and early injuries overcome by athleticism and attacking depth.  USMNT fans who ducked out of work or played hooky from school for the 10 am match were treated to a beautiful goal by the top US player today and a last minute equalizer from one of the brightest young talents in the pool.  With the draw, the Yanks finish out their first full calendar year under Klinsmann with a record of 9-2-3, the best winning percentage in their 99 year history.

The US side, lacking several key players, fell behind early to Fabio Capello’s team, who are undefeated in their World Cup qualifying group and had not given up a goal since August.  A Danny Williams gaffe opened the scoring early when a poorly taken 9th minute free kick by the German-American defensive midfielder was intercepted by Alexander Kerzakov who faked out Carlos Bocanegra and passed to a streaking Fedor Smolov, who slotted a low shot past a left-out-to-dry Tim Howard.  Smolov injured himself on the play, and had to be subbed out.  He would be joined a few minutes later by US captain Bocanegra, who pulled up lame with a hamstring injury.  Clarence Goodson would take his place on the backline, with Howard donning the armband.

The US would equalize on a rocketing half-volley from Michael Bradley in the 76th minute, which ricocheted off the near post and in, past the diving Russian keeper.  Bradley was set up by a well-placed headed pass by second half substitute Juan Agudelo.

Russia would retake the lead less than 10 minutes later when Goodson fouled Artem Dzyuba in the box, tackling him from behind while attempting to recover from a missed coverage assignment.  Roman Shirokov converted from the spot.

The Yanks seemed likely to close out the year with a loss when Mix Diskerud, an 87th minute substitute, got his foot onto a Michael Bradley pass in the third and final minute of stoppage, sliding it past the Russian keeper just before the ref blew an end to the match

The USMNT will take a well earned break until Camp Strudel in January.  The next meaningful match will be the Hex opener against Honduras in San Pedro Sula, the Most Dangerous City on Earth, February 6th.  Stick with Philly Sports Live for continuing coverage of US Soccer, and all your sports news and opinion.

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