Wembley wipe-out

Posted on 29 May 2008 by ASN Staff

England captain John Terry and Steven Gerrard scored on each side of halftime as the U.S. Men’s National Team fell to a determined England side at Wembley Wednesday.

The loss was the first for the U.S. in 2008, and broke their five-game undefeated streak going back to October of last year. It was also the USA’s first loss in four away matches after setting a team record of three consecutive victories outside their borders.

The U.S. was without midfielder Landon Donovan, who was a game-time scratch due to a strained groin which he suffered during the Los Angeles Galaxy’s 3-1 win against the Kansas City Wizards this past weekend. Without Donovan, who is just one cap away from reaching 100 international appearances, the U.S. struggled to create enough dangerous chances against the quality defensive line of England.

A compact U.S. defense did a good job of denying quality scoring chances throughout the opening stanza, and in particular keeping Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney from getting good looks at goal. The majority of England’s chances in the first half were created from the deadly foot of David Beckham, the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder finding numerous chances to whip crosses into the U.S. penalty area. England’s first real opportunity came in the 12th minute when Beckham’s service from the left flank dangerously skipped through the six-yard box before ending up harmlessly over the endline.

Along with Beckham, Gerrard proved dangerous all over the pitch as the Liverpool midfielder found open areas in the final third to exploit the U.S. defense. Beckham served in another dangerous kick in the 24th minute from just outside the area. Gerrard ran into the penalty box unmarked and pulled off a shot that was deflected by Carlos Bocanegra.

The U.S. got a look at the England goal two minutes later when Eddie Johnson held off his defender near the English endline on the right side of the 18-yard box and chipped the ball across the goalmouth. Michael Bradley was waiting at the far post but couldn’t stretch high enough to get a head on the ball.

Jermaine Defoe came close to opening the scoring in the 34th minute after a great build-up from the English team. David James sent a long ball to the feet of Wayne Rooney in the center circle. Rooney passed to Gerrard who sent a quick, sharp pass to Defoe. Despite being tightly marked by Pearce, Defoe managed to hit a shot that went wide left of the U.S. goal.

After missing a penalty kick for Chelsea in the Champions League final against Manchester United, Terry went into the match with a heavy heart. However, in the 38th minute the weight was slightly lifted when he put England in the lead by converting a trademark Beckham set piece. Handed a free kick on the right flank 40 yards from goal, the Galaxy midfield swerved in a dipping cross and the England captain rose above the crowd near the penalty spot to nod one home past Howard into the right corner.

The U.S. made two changes at halftime, swapping Brad Guzan for Tim Howard, and replacing Steve Cherundolo with Frankie Hejduk. The team came out of the locker room with a renewed sense of purpose, creating their most dangerous opportunity of the night in the first minute of the second half. Pearce advanced up the left flank and picked out Johnson making a run to the near post. The Sierra Mist Man of the Match hit a one-time volley toward goal that narrowly missed finding the inside of the left post.

Defoe once again created danger for the U.S. in the 53rd minute, taking an unbelievably swift first touch and turning on Pearce after collecting a free kick from Terry directly in front of the goal. The Portsmouth striker’s snap shot was well saved by Guzan, who maintained his composure in the face of a dicey scoring chance.

England doubled their lead in the 59th minute with Steven Gerrard showing his class. Manchester United defender Wes Brown played a ball to Gareth Barry in the middle of the park, who clinically spliced a ball between the U.S. defense and into the path of the perfectly timed run by Gerrard. The England number 10 made no mistake, calmly holding the ball at his feet long enough to draw Guzan out before slipping a shot across the goal into the lower left corner.

The U.S. continued to search for a goal of their own, getting two sniffs in the 66th and 68th minutes. On the first, Michael Bradley drove a ball into the area for Josh Wolff, but his diving header went well left. Dempsey followed that up two minutes later with a shot from 35 yards out, but the deflected effort fell harmlessly to James.

Bradley made three more changes to the U.S. lineup as Freddy Adu came into the match for Wolff in the 68th minute, along with Eddie Lewis, who replaced DaMarcus Beasley. Lewis put his experience to work with some fancy footwork along the right endline to get past English midfielder Joe Cole, then floating the ball to the back post. With U.S. captain Bocanegra ready to pounce, James managed to stretch a paw out and swat the ball out for U.S. corner. With the game in hand, England was able to keep the U.S. chasing until the final whistle.

The U.S. now travels to Santander on Thursday to prepare for their match-up with Spain on Wednesday, June 4 at Estadio El Sardinero.

“First, I would give credit to England,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. “Overall, I thought that the first 30 minutes we dealt pretty well with the speed of the game. As we moved on in the half, certainly we hurt ourselves with giving away some fouls around the box to a dangerous team on set pieces, and they took advantage of that. In the second half there was an attempt to push a level up on our end, but we couldn’t sustain enough pressure, and in that regard England on the night was quite good. The second goal for them was excellent passing movement and I give them credit.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report

Match-up: USA vs. England
Date: May 28, 2008
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Wembley Stadium – London, England
Kickoff: 8 p.m. GMT
Attendance: 71,233
Weather: 57 degrees, partly cloudy

Scoring Summary:
1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
ENG 1 1 2

ENG – John Terry (David Beckham) 38th minute.
ENG – Steven Gerrard (Gareth Barry) 59.

USA: 1-Tim Howard (18-Brad Guzan, 46); 6-Steve Cherundolo (27-Frankie Hejduk, 46), 22-Oguchi Onyewu, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (Capt.), 12-Heath Pearce; 8-Clint Dempsey, 13-Ricardo Clark (26-Maurice Edu, 78), 4-Michael Bradley, 7-DaMarcus Beasley (11-Eddie Lewis, 68); 9-Eddie Johnson (14-Nate Jaqua, 89), 16-Josh Wolff (19-Freddy Adu, 68)

Subs not used 2-Dan Califf

Head Coach: Bob Bradley

ENG: 1-David James; 2-Wes Brown (13-Glen Johnson, 58), 6-John Terry (capt.), 3-Ashley Cole (14-Wayne Bridge, 83), 5-Rio Ferdinand; 7-David Beckham (17-David Bentley, 46), 4-Owen Hargreaves, 8-Frank Lampard (21-Gareth Barry, 57), 10-Steven Gerrard; 9-Jermain Defoe (25-Peter Crouch, 68), 11-Wayne Rooney (22-Joe Cole, 79)

Subs not used: 12-Joe Hart, 15-Stephen Warnock, 16-Jonathan Woodgate, 18-Phil Jagielka, 19-David Wheater, 20-Tom Huddlestone, 23-Stewart Downing, 24-Ashley Young, , 26-Dean Ashton, 27-Theo Walcott, 28-Gabriel Agbonlahor, 29-Joe Lewis

Head Coach: Fabio Capello

Stats Summary:
Shots 9 / 16
Saves 3 / 2
Corner Kicks 5 / 4
Fouls 21 / 23
Offside 3 / 4

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Steve Cherundolo (caution) 44th minute.
USA – Heach Pearce (caution) 71.
ENG – Wayne Rooney (caution) 76.


Referee: Kyros Vassaras (GRE)
First Asst.: Dimitrios Bozaizides (GRE)
Second Asst.: Dimitrios Saraidaris (GRE)
Fourth Official: Peter Walton (ENG)

Sierra Mist Man of the Match: Eddie Johnson

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