KENYA BROWN - Tuesday, February 2, 2016
A Steve Birnbaum goal in the 90th minute helped the United States to a come from behind win over Iceland on Sunday in Carson, California, to open their 2016 schedule.
To say that 2015 was a rough year for the U.S. national team may be an understatement, but head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and his players got the year off on the right foot as they prepare for the next round of World Cup qualifiers and this summer's Copa America Centenario.
Despite the win, the U.S. had to come from behind, as usual, as defensive miscues allowed the Icelanders to take the lead twice.
Iceland got on the scoreboard first in the 13th minute through Kristinn Steindorsson. His effort from inside the U.S. box deflected off defender Michael Orozco and sailed past goalkeeper Luis Robles.
Forward Jozy Altidore would level the score seven minutes later. Jermaine Jones would send a pass from the midfield up to Gyasi Zardes, who one-touched a pass to U.S. captain Michael Bradley. Bradley's through ball landed at the feet of Altidore who had no problem chipping his shot over Iceland goalkeeper Ogmundur Kristinsson.
Iceland did not have to wait too long to retake the lead in the second half as Aron Sigurdarson found the back of net three minutes into the restart. A stop in play saw the visitors quickly get things going again as the U.S. players were out of position. Sigurdarson, who was free down the left side of the field, escaped a challenge from winger Ethan Finlay, cut into the box and send a curling shot past Robles to score on his debut.
The U.S. would once again find the equalizer in the 59th minute through a goal from Michael Orozco. Iceland failed to clear the ball out of the area from a U.S. corner kick. Altidore was able to collect the ball from just outside the area and lobbed a pass back in that found the head of Birnbaum, leaving the Orozco wide open to head it into the goal.
Birnbaum settled the game with his own goal just before full time when rose above his defender to get his head on a Bradley free kick that flew past a diving Kristinsson.
The U.S. will head back to camp for the next few days before taking on Canada at the StubHub Center on Friday.
USA 3-2 Iceland
Goals: Kristinn Steindorsson (13th minute), Jozy Altidore (20th minute), Aron Sigurdarson (48th minute), Michael Orozco (59th minute), Steve Birnbaum (90th minute)
USA: 12-Luis Robles; 3-Brad Evans (15-Steve Birnbaum, 46), 19-Michael Orozco, 5-Matt Besler, 14-Kellyn Acosta; 4-Michael Bradley, 13-Jermaine Jones (25-Tony Tchani, 71), 7-Ethan Finlay (6-Darlington Nagbe, 61), 16-Lee Nguyen; 9-Gyasi Zardes (18-Jerome Kiesewetter, 75), 17-Jozy Altidore (8-Jordan Morris, 75)
Iceland: 1-Ogmundur Kristinsson; 2-Birkir Mar Saevarsson, 3-Hallgrimur Jonasson (4-Hjortur Hermannsson, 46), 5-Jon Gudni Fjoluson, 23-Ari Freyr Skulason (18-Aevar Ingi Johannesson, 84); 7-Aron Sigurdarson, 6-Gudmundur Thorarinsson (14-Diego Johannesson, 46), 8-Runar Mar Sigurjonsson, 17-Kristinn Steindorsson (15-Aron Elis Thrandarson, 46); 10-Arnor Smarason, 22-Eidur Smari Gudjohnsen (11-Kjartan Henry Finnbogason, 71)