USA 1 – England 1 (Match Summary)

England's goalkeeper Robert Green reacts after he conceded a goal against the US during a 2010 World Cup Group C soccer match at Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg June 12, 2010. REUTERS/Darren Staples (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP IMAGE OF THE DAY TOP PICTURE)

1st Half

Both squads would feel somewhat unlucky to head into half on even terms, though England would have the better cause for complaint, as they continued their historical knack for poor goalkeeping.

The Three Lions did get off to a lively start, with skipper Steven Gerrard scoring in only the 4th minute. On a bit of a broken play, Wayne Rooney failed to latch onto a throw-in and his whiff sent the ball to Emile Heskey, who found Gerrard sneaking between Ricardo Clark and Carlos Bocanegra; apparently the two Americans thought marking the best attacking midfielder in the world wasn’t necessary. Gerrard’s shot would be the only English attempt to trouble Tim Howard.

USA were on their back foot for much of the half (an inevitable outcome due to England’s attacking prowess), but they did find an equalizer 36 minutes later through big match player Clint Dempsey. After turning the defensively defencient Gerrard, Dempsey struck a somewhat weak left footed shot that should have been an easy save. Robert Green provided what his nation will hope to be the only gaffe of the tournament as he fluffed the strike into the net.

Though the goals benefited from shoddy defending, both sides did generate skillful scoring chances. In the 19th, Donovan lofted a cross into the box but Jozy Altidore headed the ball into the ground, unable to capitalize on the fine service, while England saw themselves repeatedly foiled by Tim Howard, notably a minute after Dempsey’s strike when the keeper gobbled up Glen Johnson’s effort.

Howard gave Bob Bradley a scare following a challenge with Emile Heskey: the keeper beat England’s target man to the ball and found two pairs of cleats his reward. After a few minutes on the pitch, Howard was able to return to action, albeit with a noticeable grimace.

2nd Half

USA, who were certainly happier with the draw, did not completely cede possession for the entire half, but the Three Lions were the aggressive party in the second 45 minutes. Bar some excellent goalkeeping, and a continued effort to clamp down Rooney, England would have picked up a goal or two.

For much of the half, Rooney attempted to free himself from the shackles of the US defense by drifting all over the final third. His efforts were rewarded in the 51st with his first touch in the box, but, in a ruling that demonstrated his negligible influence on the match, the flag was up.

In contrast to Rooney’s neutered performance, Howard continued to put on a clinic. His 52nd minute save, in light of Green’s earlier butterfingers, was particularly noteworthy. America’s No. 1 somehow held onto Heskey’s powerful strike that was struck from just a few yards away.

Jozy Altidore provided USA’s only chance of the 2nd half when he flew past second half sub Jaime Carragher, but his ensuing shot, after grazing Green’s fingertips, skied off the post. Outside of a few half-chances off free kicks, the miss was USA’s only significant chance of the half. On the whole Bob Bradley should be pleased with the result, as his squad will be favored in their final two matches and have set the stage for advancing to the knockout round.

Come back later tonight to find out how USA put the clamps on one of the world’s most feared strikers.

2 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Rupert J Pelfrey says:

    It’s an interesting writeup of the game. Were there any suprises in the lineup? Would any changes in the lineup help USA in subsequent matches?

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