U.S. head coach Bob Bradley reacts during his team's Confederations Cup final soccer match against Brazil in Johannesburg in this June 28, 2009 file photo. Bradley, a studious man with a background in college soccer, was never going to generate the buzz of a big-name foreign coach but he knew the player pool well, knew the U.S. system and has now proved he knows how to get the best out of both. Qualifying for the World Cup is expected these days for the U.S. but beating European champions Spain on the way to the final of the Confederations Cup in South Africa last year was a pleasant surprise to even the country's most optimistic fans. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen/Files (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP) Content © 2010 Reuters All rights reserved.

World Cup Warm-Up: Czech Republic Downs United States 4-2

The U.S. names their final World Cup squad tomorrow, meaning tonight's friendly against the Czech Republic will be the last chance to impress for a cluster of bubble players.

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United States Defending Exploited In 4-2 Loss To Czech Republic

The United States allowed three second-half goals after going in to half time even at one, allowing the Czech Republic to leave their Tuesday friendly with a 4-2 win.

The U.S. left most of its key players out of the team, choosing to sit the likes of Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and Michael Bradley while the coaching staff evaluated the players on the bubble for the final World Cup squad. That squad will be announced on Wednesday.

Two players that failed to make a positive impression were left backs Jonathan Bornstein and Heath Pearce, both of whom failed to lock down a left side of defense that proved porous throughout the match. Both the second (Jan Polak, 58’) and third (Martin Fenin, 77’) goals allowed came through play built down the Czech right flank.

In the first half, the U.S. got on the board first when Petr Cech misplayed a Stuart Holden set piece, failing to punch a ball clear, allowing Maurice Edu to jump on a loose ball for the opening score in the 17th minute. It was Edu’s first international goal.

The Czechs equalized moments before half time with a set piece of their own. Tomas Sivok elevated over Oguchi Onyewu to head an equalizer past Brad Guzan, sending the teams into half drawn at one.

Polak would open the scoring in the second half, but a perfectly executed corner from the U.S. in the 66th minute would tie the match at two. Holden’s far post ball was headed back across goal by Clarence Goodson, allowing Herculez Gómez to easily head home the States’ second goal.

Eleven minutes later, Fenin would get the match-winner, with Tomas Necid adding a fourth in stoppage time.

Though the final score was disappointing, the United States accomplished what the needed. Bob Bradley was able to see a number of bubble players in action, helping him make the decision on his 23-man roster ahead of tomorrow’s 1 p.m. Eastern announcement.

Amongst the players who appeared to perform well tonight were Edson Buddle, Clarence Goodson, Herculez Gómez and DaMarcus Beasley.

Neither Bornstein nor Pearce helped themselves with Tuesday’s performance, nor did Eddie Johnson or Oguchi Onyewu, who would seem to be a lock for South Africa yet failed to show the health needed to contribute come June 12.

In his first game since an October knee injury, Onyewu did not look match fit. He failed to get lift to play the ball that led to the first Czech goal and showed a stiffness when backpedaling to get in position. At earlier points in the half, he looked slow to turn and run when the back line had moved up the pitch, while he also looked tentative in coming to a stop from sprints.

In post match interviews, Bob Bradley confirmed that the final team would be named tomorrow, saying he had some difficult decisions to make tonight.


United States Goes Into Halftime Drawn With Czech Republic, 1-1 (Player-By-Player Updates)

The United States got an early goal from Maurice Edu but was equalized moments before halftime, sending the Yanks into intermission drawn 1-1 in their friendly with the Czech Republic.

Tomas Sivok headed home a Jaroslav Plasil dead ball outswinger moments before half to give the Czechs their opening goal.

Beyond the score, it has been an informative half for Bob Bradley in his quest to determine who should be going to South Africa.

The Good

If you were to judge only on the last forty-five minutes (which, in this update, I will), Edson Buddle should go to South Africa, a perfect understudy to Jozy Altidore. He has been active, drawn fouls, and was important on the goal.

DaMarcus Beasley’s positioning and reading of play has been excellent, and while he’s clearly not as quick as he used to be, he has been able to apply timely pressure to the Czech Republic’s right back, when needed. He had a very good cross in the game’s third minute.

Maurice Edu has been active in midfield, and Clarence Goodson is affirming his place as the fourth center half, partially thanks to a strong headed clearance in the match’s 38th minute.

No Harm, No Foul

Stuart Holden has been active, but he’s also gotten himself out of position twice. It balances out.

Jose Francisco Torres poorly lofted a ball to Steve Cherundolo early, a ball that could have turned into a counter. Similarly, Torres almost allowed the Czechs a second break when trying to force a ball to the left side of the pitch. However, he has been quick to close down in midfield and his skill has helped maintain possession (at other times).

Steve Cherundolo gave the ball away twice in the first five minutes but settled-in and had a solid half, getting forward once to win a foul.

The Ugly

Oguchi Onyewu is not health. He is tentative when slowing up. He was slow to turn and run in the 11th minute. On the goal, he showed he may be having trouble backpedaling, and he didn’t get any lift in rising for the ball. In between, Onyewu appeared confident, and his presence made you remember how valuable he is – when healthy. Onyewu can not play this way in South Africa.

Eddie Johnson has failed to contribute anything.

Jonathan Bornstein has made at least nine mistakes:

5’ – misplaced a header, eventually forcing Onyewu to give a foul
13’ – too narrow in positioning, though Czechs did not find RW jumping into the play
14’ – another failed aerial challenge
20’ – aggression playing aball in midfield left him out of position, Czechs attacked through his area
30’ – raised foot foul that could have drawn a card if it made better contact
31’ – out of position on two-on-two challenge – played the man Beasley and Onyewu could account for, leaving the man in possession unmarked
31’ – committed a foul in a dangerous area of the pitch
33’ – too narrow in positioning
36’ – hits a pass too hard, giving possession away

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