MATHEW WAGNER - Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The United States men's national team fell apart in the second half as the Irish drubbed the Americans in the final match of the year in Dublin on Tuesday.
Ireland took an early lead in the seventh minute off a bad giveaway in the midfield by Alejandro Bedoya. A through pass by David McGoldrick put Anthony Pilkington behind the U.S. defense, and Pilkington chipped a shot over goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
The Americans needed some time to recover from the shock of going down early, and they finally found the equalizer in the 39th minute.
Mikkel Diskerud forced a turnover deep in the Irish half, and the ball eventually reached Jozy Altidore in the 18-yard box. He lobbed a pass to the right side of the area to Chris Wondolowski, who headed the ball to the center for Diskerud. The Norwegian-American midfielder then did a low karate-style kick to send the ball into the back of the net.
That U.S. goal seemed to energize the Yanks for the rest of the half, even having Altidore drill the crossbar when his 16-yard shot was deflected en route to the goal. Still, both teams went into the break on equal terms.
Unfortunately, that momentum didn't carry over for the Americans in the second half as the Irish were the next to find the back of the net.
In the 55th minute, Fabian Johnson tried to clear the ball from the right corner on a double team, but the clearance went straight to an Irish player. McGoldrick ended up with the ball on the left side of the 18-yard box and passed to Robbie Brady, who from the left beat Hamid to the far post.
The U.S. had a couple of opportunities to equalize yet again, but Shay Given made a big leg save on the Americans' best chance when Bobby Wood was one-on-one with the Irish goalkeeper.
Ireland put the match to bed in the 82nd minute with its third goal of the match. Right after Shane Long drilled the post with a shot, James McClean launched a shot from the left outside the box that deflected off an American defender en route to the goal.
To add insult to injury, Ireland added another goal in the 86th minute through a beautiful free kick by Brady that slotted into the top left corner of the net.
With the loss, the Americans ended the year with a 6-5-4 record, but they won just one of their last eight matches of 2014.