CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Saturday, November 14, 2009
Slovakia vs United States
Friendly - Saturday November 14, 2009
Tehelne Pole
On a cold night in the Slovakian capital, the US struggled to find the back of the net as a first half Marek Hamsik penalty kick gave the hosts the win.

Eddie Johnson made a return to the field for the national team and Dax McCarty earned his first cap for the US as a 73rd minute substitute.

The Americans nearly stepped into the lead in the opening minutes off a Robbie Rogers corner on the right side. Conor Casey nodded forward to Carlos Bocanegra for the tap in, but Austrian referee Stefan Messner disallowed it after seeing his assistant's flag raised.

After some midfield play Steve Cherundolo centered to Casey but the Slovakian central defense snuffed it out before the Rapids front man could get his shot off.

It would be another few minutes before the USA pushed forward again, when a Rogers' delivery into the box from 25 yards out just missed the head of the advancing Casey, and was an easy claim for Slovakian keeper Jan Mucha.

In the seventh minute, a long ball down the right side found Cherundolo, who then found Casey in front of goal. The Colorado man hit the ground before he hit the ball while Mucha collected the non-effort.

After a period of stagnant play in which the US nonetheless dominated possession, the Slovaks seemed more as the visitors, preferring to sit back and try their luck on the counter from the outset.

In the 22nd minute the Americans knocked on the door as Clint Dempsey collected the ball 30 yards out with his back to goal, yet turned between a pair of Slovaks and pulled the trigger just missing the goal by inches as the ball cleared the near post.

With some home team possession, Robert Vittek flew down the right wing and played a one-two with Vladimir Weiss and was brought by Jonathan Bornstein and the Austrian referee pointed to the spot.

"They got the ball out wide and had a little combination play. The ball went through one of our players' legs, so I tried to recover from that play and it was kind of soft [contact,]" Bornstein told Yanks Abroad after the contest. "We were just hip to hip and he went down, so you know, the referee must have seen something."

Hamsik placed the ball down for the home team and hammered it past Brad Guzan to collect his eighth international goal in 28 games for the Slovaks, who will be entering their first World Cup next summer.

In the 34th minute Dempsey, who took over play-making duties in the absence of Landon Donovan, found Casey on the edge of the box and the ex-Mainz attacker got off his shot between a pair of defenders. However, the effort lacked any sting and Mucha collected comfortably.

The American's best chance came a few minutes later when Dempsey lined up a free kick top left of the box and fired a screamer past a group of defenders and forced Mucha into a finger-tip save, that sent the on-target shot just past the far post.

With the attack centered on driving down the right side, Bornstein found space on the left and delivered a fine cross for Benny Feilhaber in the box, whose header skipped wide of the net.

Entering the second half, Bob Bradley tried to add more speed up top, bringing in with Johnson for Casey.

The US controlled the tempo of the opening minutes of the second half and saw their first chance six minutes after Jozy Altidore found Johnson darting to the right of the goal box. The Fulham striker got a foot on the feed but found the wrong side of the net.

The Slovakians countered a minute later courtesy of Erik Jendrisek, who found space behind the defense but the side the net with his shot.

Soon after Dempsey produced a skillful whirlwind strike in the box but could not get a full foot on the ball. In the 64th, The Fulham man fired a free kick from 25 yards out that deflected off a foot and nearly caromed into the net. On the ensuing corner from Rogers, Dempsey and Mucha leaped for the ball, but the Slovak won the duel.

In spite of their ball control and play-making the US was unable to break through the stubborn Slovak defense.

"I knew it was going to be a tough game, but I was kind of surprised that once they got their goal how much they stayed back," Dempsey told YA after the game. "They stayed back and kept it compact and tried to catch us on the counter but I thought we did well with keeping most of possession and trying to create chances."

"I thought we created enough chances tonight that we should have had a goal. Sometimes it goes for us, sometimes it doesn't. I thought we did pretty well. It's hard to break down a team that just sits back."

With little action on both ends for much of the second half, Bradley experimented with the eleven to see if it would produce results. In the 73rd, Clarence Goodson was brought on for Bocanegra and McCarty came in for the overworked Dempsey.

A minute later, the US survived a scary moment when 61st minute sub Stanislav Sestak found himself just onside and fired away, but Guzan was able to get a foot on the would-be goal.

"I mean obviously in the first half we created some chances but it was difficult game for us, it was a tough game for 90 minutes, the Aston Villa keeper said."Overall we'll take the performance and we'll try to learn from our mistakes and apply it for Wednesday."

In addition to Johnson's reappearance on the national team after a yearlong absence, Jeff Cunningham resurfaced after a four year hiatus as a 82nd minute substitute for the invisible Jozy Altidore.

"That's a frustrating loss for us. We at least deserved a draw tonight," Jonathan Spector remarked. "Who knows if it was a penalty or not. I'm saying that we created some good combinations in the first half and created come good opportunities."

The Americans fly off to Denmark on Sunday to warm up for their Wednesday night encounter in Aarhus against the Danes.
Sunday November 15, 2009 12:39 pm
Have to agree with everyone else on here. Bornstein is showing time and again he's a liability. It seems like every team we have faced exploit him. Castillo can't come soon enough. Give Bornstein to Honduras.
Bret G
Sunday November 15, 2009 4:28 am
Here's an idea Bob. Your in Denmark on wedns. and check this out one of our better talents just happens to play on a top team in the danish super liga... his name is Marcus Tracy... I know you have a tough time keeping track of our boys that don't play in the MLS, but he's a stud and scores regularly in a top league.

Now I know it could be difficult to find him in the same country you'll be in a couple of days but try sending one of your assistants to find him and suit him up cause he'll be twice as good as any forward you played yesterday!
Sunday November 15, 2009 2:40 am
C'mon Yankee Jim. Bornstein is definitely not the worst US player in the last 8 years because that easily goes to Brian Ching. Regardless, Castillo hasn't been recently called in bc he just officially switched allegiances. Then his club team played Torres' in some kind of weird Mexican playoff game I think. Anyway, we will see both of those players in the Jan. camp for sure the Denmark game may be too late for either of them, esp. Castillo to get time w/ his teammates. The only real reason we are complaining about a loss instead of celebrating a win is bc LD wasn't there. We most likely would have put 2 or 3 away had he been pulling the strings. I wouldn't mind seeing the same forward rotation vs. Denmark, but this time w/ Donovan AND Demps pulling the creative strings.
Sunday November 15, 2009 1:44 am
People have to stop complaining about player selection. We were already resorted to bringing in Dax McCarty. Torres and Castillo had games today. There club comes first especially when they are trying to make the play offs. And then we have the same with MLS players. This was a fairly solid line up choice. As far as Cooper, he isn't doing anything with 1899 to warrant that much more of a look than say someone like EJ who has impressed at Fulham and played pretty well today.
But the main point is if you want Torres, Castillo, and Holden than you don't understand International soccer, you have to keep club coaches happy.
Sunday November 15, 2009 1:29 am
ok, this is my 1st time comment ever on any blogs!! BB is a total moron. Why not play spector as LB rather than CB. Bornstein is just terrible except for that goal vs CR. He s useless at anything on the pitch. Casey??? Is just so lazy. No hustle at all. Should be only a sub if any. Why not start cunningham or put CD up top where he belongs anyway. EJ just completely sux too Cooper shouldve been there. Dax mcarthy?? We don't need to waste time to see what he can do, we re totally covered in the CM. It was a total disgrace how we played today and we will never advance to any round if BB thinks like that. Everygame is very important since we qualified and he should treat it like that. What a joke!!! Total disappointment!!! Boca dolo mb spector and somewhat dempsey all did good today. Rogers so so too.
Saturday November 14, 2009 11:00 pm
I just didn't see a lot of great services to the forwards for the US today. I saw very little I liked from midfield. There were very few runs with the ball from midfield to create open spaces. The forwards constantly had someone on their back when they were receiving the pass. Why pass to these guys if they can't do anything with the ball. The only one that impressed me tonight was Spector & Boca & Dolo. Everyone else seemed lethargic, bored and unimaginative out there. Was suprised we didn't see Dempsey play forward at all since he will probably end up there for the WC. They looked so sloooow without Donovan out there creating runs.
Saturday November 14, 2009 7:35 pm
All immm gonna say is Bornstein and Casey and nothing else. Ok on another note Altidore is letting me down as of recent. MB played a hell of a game and so did spector even though he wasnt really tested. Ohhh and Dolo' is and should be our starting right back. We really dont have a Left back problem cause we have plenty of players that can fill that spot its just that When Bornstein is playing it seems like we need a Left back.
Saturday November 14, 2009 7:28 pm
Jose hit the nail on the head. Same with Goodson. Bornstein is the worse man in USA colors I have seen in the last two WC cycles. Couse, one could put the blame where it belongs, Bob Bradley.
Saturday November 14, 2009 5:29 pm
So how does Coach Bradley know that Castillo would not be more effective than the disastrous Bornstein at left back? It wasn't just the penalty (which was a relatively soft call). It was the constant giveaways and the general impotence of Bornstein. His unwillingness to even trial Castillo is unbelievable. Has he called him into a recent camp even?
Saturday November 14, 2009 4:49 pm
EJ ,Casey,Borstein,Felhaber,,,,We seen enough
Now I will like to see Cooper ,Castillo ,Torres,Holden
For BB,,,I did not understain the replacesments ,,
To much posession ,but they don't know what to do with the ball
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