Bocanegra and St. Etienne Lose Opener

SALT LAKE CITY - JUNE 4:  Defender Carlos Bocanegra #4 of the U.S. Men's National Team poses for a portrait prior to the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying match against Costa Rica at Rice-Eccles Stadium on JUNE 4, 2005 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The USA won 3-0.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Match Summary

Despite controlling possession, St. Etienne couldn’t avoid a 3-1 loss to Paris Saint-Germain. The Parisian hosts started the scoring in the 5th when striker Mevlut Erding took advantage of a mistimed offside trap. PSG immediately went into counterattacking mode and conceded possession to St. Etienne, a mistake they would rue, but not until 34 minutes later. In a rare defensive breakdown, St. Germain left midfielder Landrin alone in the box, and as defenders converged on his position, he laid off for an even more open teammate, Dimitri Payet. However, the match didn’t stay level for long: Stephane Sessegnon, PSG’s electric right midfielder, scissored a loose ball off the post and goalkeeper Jeremie Janot to retake the lead. And though Saint-Germain continued to allow St. Etienne to have the lion’s share of possession, it was the Parisians who found the net late in the match, with Nene collecting a failed clearance and sealing the victory (82).

American Performance

Carlos Bocanegra, starting at left back, was solid for most of the match, but he committed errors on the second and third Paris Saint-Germain goals. On the second, he lost track of his man, whose header eventually landed at the feet of Sessegnon, and on the third, Bocanegra was beaten down the wing by Ludovic Giuly before Giuly sent in the cross that resulted in Nene’s strike. Both times Bocanegra was let down by teammates who failed to clear the dangerous passes, but the left back never should have placed his teammates in those situations. With the exception of these two breakdowns, Bocanegra did an admirable job in defense, particularly since he spent most of the match marking the elusive Sessegnon.

Captain America will hop on a plane later this weekend, as, on Tuesday, he’ll again be in his familiar red, white, and blue when the USA takes on Brazil in a friendly.

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