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.

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