Posted on November 16, 2011
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia — The United States finally managed to score a third goal against Slovenia as it also finally found the back of the net multiple times for the first time since Juergen Klinsmann took over as coach in July.
Denied a third and winning goal against Slovenia in a 2-2 first-round of tie at the World Cup last year, the Americans struck three times en route to a 3-2 victory over the Eastern European country in an international friendly on a foggy night at Stozice Stadium in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
The U.S. entered the game with only two goals in four matches (1-2-1) under Klinsmann, giving a lot of observers concern about how the Americnas were going to go forward toward next year’s World Cup qualifying.
They put those worries and concerns to rest, at least for one day.
Led by captain Carlos Bocanegra making his 100th appearance for the Men’s National Team, the U.S. got off to a bright start and got all three goals in the first half from Edson Buddle, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore.
“It’s great for us,” Dempsey said. “We’re in a rebuilding stage, and we’re trying to figure out what our best XI is going to be for World Cup qualifying. It’s good to get a win, especially on European soil. I think it’s been three years since we’ve done that. So we’re excited about the win.”
Goalkeeper Tim 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,” U.S. 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.”
Buddle opened the scoring in the ninth minute on a well-struck right-footed finish, but the lead did not last long as Tim Matavz equalized for Slovenia in the 26th minute. Dempsey pulled the U.S. ahead once again with a clinical header off a Michael Bradley corner kick and Altidore tallied the eventual game-winner on a penalty kick late in the first half. Slovenia pulled one back in the second half with Matavz again providing the finish, but the U.S. was able to kill off the match and earn its first victory in Europe in more than three years.
It certainly wasn’t made any easier by the fog.
“It was kind of like a rolling fog,’ Howard said. “There were times when it was high above your head, and there were times when it was thick and it was rolling along the floor. It’s hard to see down the other end, but once the game got closer in toward us in the back, it wasn’t terribly difficult. But with the lights and the fog, it makes it a little difficult to read balls. A couple of the guys out there said it was hard for them to judge the distance of the ball when they were making clearances.”
Jozy Altidore converted a penalty kick for the U.S. in its 3-2 victory at Slovenia. Andy Mead/YCJ
Categories: North America, U.S.A.
Tags: Carlos Bocanegra, Clint Dempsey, Edson Buddle, jozy Alitdore, Juergen Klinsmann, Michael Bradley, Tim Howard