MICHAEL ADUBATO - Friday, November 11, 2011
France vs United States
Friendly - Friday November 11, 2011
Stade de France
On a chilly night it Paris, it was the French who were the hotter team as they sent the Americans to yet another defeat. The coup de gras was delivered by substitute Loic Remy in the second half.
The Americans could only manage two shots on goal, giving team captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris a quiet night between the sticks.
Les Bleus started the game by refusing to share the ball with their visitors as they kept the ball for long spells. A Brek Shea steal however showed the hosts that the USA were here to play however as the Americans slowly got into the game.
Ten minutes Jeremy Menez found some space as he was played through the middle and burst past a defender but Clarence Goodson came to the rescue to intercept before any damage could be done. The French were at it again a minute later too but the defense was holding strong.
A pair of minutes later Shea was on the ball but was taken down by a Mathieu Debuchy elbow that leveled him. The Greek referee Micheal Koukoulakis however, must have blinked and missed it as he waved play on.
The French continued to have the lions' share of the ball and they almost paid dividends with it when it was played over the top to Karim Benzema. Carlos Bocanegra however saw it coming and made the Read Madrid man run for nothing.
Clint Dempsey picked out Timmy Chandler charging up the left wing and the Hoffenheim man whipped the ball into the box for Jozy Altidore but Lloris reached it first to deny the Jersey boy.
After Mathieu lost the ball on top of the box, Benzema found himself in possession and stuck a shot from the far left top of the box but again, this comes to nothing.
Benzema was at it most of the night and twenty minutes in he spotted Franck Ribery's run. The ball however went wide and the return ball was whipped into the box and across goal, no Frenchmen in sight, thus only producing empty promises to the capacity French crowd.
Adil Rami was looking for an assist but his pass to Ribery bearing down on goal ended in the Bayern man shooting wide of the post from very close range.
The Americans won their first corner soon afterwards that Steve Cherundolo whipped it. Maurice Edu got a head to it from six yards out but the lack of power enabled the Lyon shot stopper to make a simple save.
Altidore had a decent chance on the 34th minute mark when he bared down on goal, raced past a pair of defenders but as he struck from inside the box his effort skimmed wide of the near post.
Benzema found Ribery again and the midfielder danced around would-be defenders and managed a half hearted shot, as the crowd started to show their frustrations.
Five minutes before the intermission the French did manage a shot on goal after a clumsy Kyle Beckerman brought down Menez. The shot from distance was taken by the fouled Frenchman however Howard easily scooped it up.
Yann M'Vila played the ball cross field to Mathieu Debuchy and when the Lille defender played it into the box, he soon realized that there wasn't a team mate in sight.
Americans were very lucky not to concede a goal in the first 45 minutes as they appeared to lack any kind of shape and had the French attacking as they didn't at the D-Day landings!
The hosts came out of the locker room and got back to business almost immediately with Mathieu and Ribery charging forward almost immediately. This is soon followed by a free kick from 25 yards out after Altidore brought down Alou Diarra. Rami took the shot and missed the target completely.
Kyle Beckerman got off a shot of his own in the 51st minute from roughly the same distance but it was hit so feebly that it bounced a couple times before it reached the keeper.
Laurent Blanc's men came closer a few minutes later when a flick on by Benzema was drilled at the goal by Rami, but the man who plays his club soccer for Valencia only managed to rattle the post.
The pressure just wouldn't stop and a 20 yard free kick by the Madrid man almost resulted in the first goal of the night and would have had it not been for Tim Howard who was having a busy night.
The French side would pin the Americans back as soon as they gained possession and often by fouling but the Greek referee was obviously trying to gain French favors by leaving his whistle and cards in his pocket.
This opinion was reinforced in the 63rd minue when Altidore found an opening and burst through the middle but before he could make it to the box after flying past Diarra, he is bought down by Rami. But the Greek was bearing gifts again.
Chandler did manage to get a shot off 20 minutes into the second half but could only watch it sail over the crossbar. This was soon followed by a Maurice Edu attempt from the top fo the box but it was smothered by the defenders.
That elusive French goal should have come in the 69th minute when substitute Marvin Martin found himself with the ball and nobody around but Howard. He shoots from close range but the Evertonian's chests blocks it again and it falls to another sub, Olivier Giroud. With nothing but net in front of him from a comfortable distance, the Montpellier forward sends it high over the goal. It was the miss of the night.
The break through finally came in the 72nd minute. Remy broke into the final third and beats Goodson before firing a scorcher past Howard to send the crowd into a frenzy.
Fulham's Dempsey challenged a trio of defenders but is brought to his knees by fellow Londoner, Arsenal's Laurent Koscienly. The ensuing free kick from 19 yars out is hit by Jermaine Jones but not close enough to count.
The remaining minutes of the game were like most of the minutes, belong to the French is the frigid Stade de France. An Altidore break through was called offisides and that pretty much ended any hopes of an equalizer.
"The real piece that was missing, is scoring a goal," coach Jurgen Klinsmann said after the game. "I think from a tactical perspective, how the team was shaped and working and really finding a rhythm after a difficult first 10-12 minutes."
"We made life very difficult for France and they realized after about half an hour they realized this was a team that would have a go at them."
"We would have liked to have gotten a draw or a win," Dempsey said after the game.
"I don't think we deserved the win but a draw would have been fair. France has a lot of quality players on their team- but we still need to work on a few things and hopefully improve in the future."
Nest up for the Americans will be a rematch against World Cup 2010 opponents Slovenia on Tuesday evening.