JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 18: Landon Donovan (#10) of the United States celebrates scoring his team's first goal with team mates during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group C match between Slovenia and USA at Ellis Park Stadium on June 18, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Americans Mount Amazing Comeback, Settle For Tie After Go-Ahead Goal Is Disallowed

After being down 0-2, a U.S. comeback was sparked by a brilliant goal from Landon Donovan, and then another by Michael Bradley. But the Americans settled for a tie after the would-be game-winning goal was disallowed because of a phantom foul call.

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World Cup 2010, United States Vs. Slovenia: Late Referee Decision Dictates 2-2 Draw

The United States scored two second half goals to comeback from a halftime deficit, getting a point from Slovenia after a controversial 2-2 draw Friday.  Referee Koman Coulibaly's whistle canceling out a late, set piece conversion from Maurice Edu left questions as to whether the United States deserved all three points.

The U.S. went into halftime down 2-0 after first half goals from Valter Birsa and Zlatan Ljubijankic but immediately pulled one back after the second half kickoff when Landon Donovan put a shot from Samir Handanovic's left, near the goal line, into the top of the net.  In the 47th minute, the United States had made it 2-1.

Picking-up where they had left-off in the first half (before Ljubijankic's 41st minute, counter-attack goal), the United States maintained steady pressure on the Slovenes, controlling the second half.  But for all their threats, the United States' efforts resulted in few shots on goal before the 80th minute, the best being Jozy Altidore's powerful shot off a set piece-scramble that went straight into Handanovic's chest.

In the 82nd minute, the United States created their second clear chance of the half when a long ball played for Altidore was knocked into the path of Michael Bradley, the midfielder running onto the ball, one-timing a shot past Handanovic for the tying goal.  Altidore won an aerial battle in the arc and headed a ball down, to the right of attack, where Bradley ran into the space vacated by Bojan Jokic, who had followed a Donovan run across the box.  Bradley's right-footed one-timer completed the States' comeback, though the U.S. was one whistle away from getting a full three points.

Late in the match, a set piece converted by Maurice Edu was controversially denied by a referee's whistle, though replays left it uncertain what foul had occurred.  Speculation was that Malian referee Koman Coulibaly could have been calling Michael Bradley for offside or Maurice Edu for a foul on the kick, though video showed little evidence of either.  Video did show a number of players engaged in physical battles during the kick, with Slovene players wrapping-up counterparts as States players charged through their line.

After the controversial no-goal, the Slovenes were able to bleed out the match and retain a point, leaving them on top of Group C with four points ahead of Wednesday's match with England.

The United States have two points through two matches, concluding group play on Wednesday.  A win over Algeria means the worst the U.S. could finish is third in the group, even on points with Slovenia and England (five), losing on goal difference to England and goals scored to Slovenia should results break against the States.

Slovenia and England play at the same time Wednesday.


World Cup 2010, United States Vs. Slovenia: Michael Bradley Pulls U.S. Even In 82nd Minute

A long ball targeting Jozy Altidore in the arch was knocked down for Michael Bradley, whose finish from 16 yards out has pulled the United States even with Slovenia, 2-2.

A Landon Donovan run dragged left back Bojan Jokic across the area, leaving the left side of defense open for Bradley, who ran onto the Altidore ball and beat Samir Handanovic for the equalizer.

The United States’ has substituted has substituted into a 3-4-3 formation, bringing on Herculez Gomez for Oguchi Onyewu in the 80th minute.


World Cup 2010, United States Vs. Slovenia: Landon Donovan Wonder Goal Pulls United States Withiin One

Landon Donovan’s 48th minute goal from along the goal line, into the top of the net has putted the United States within one.

Donovan advanced down the right side of the Slovenia area, eventually cutting-in along the goal line. Slovenia failed to close the U.S. attacker down before he was within a few meters of Samir Handanovic, and a shot that went just above the Slovene `keeper’s head found the net.


World Cup 2010, United States Vs. Slovenia: Slovenes Shock United States, Take 2-0 Halftime Lead

The match played out as expected for 13 minutes.  Then the United States had one lapse in defense, setting themselves up to play into Slovenia's hands.

Valter Birsa's left-footed shot from 24 yards found the right side of Tim Howard's net, putting Slovenia up 1-0 just under a quarter-hour into the match.  The United States had nobody within two meters of Birsa at the time the Slovenia attacker let go of the shot.

The United States looked set to the goal back in the moments that follow, this a Jose Francisco Torres direct kick forcing a diving save from Samir Handanovic.  Moments later the States nearly tied the match when a ball rolled through the six yard box was barely missed by Clint Dempsey.  Slovenia also saved a ball off the line on a set piece, also blocking a United States shot that was headed toward an empty net.

But United States hopes were dashed in the 41st minute when Zlatan Ljubijankic finished a counter attack to put the Slovenes up 2-0.  A ball played to Milivoje Novakovic in front of the line caught the United States with only two defenders back, and when Novakovic played Ljubijankic behind then, the Slovene attacker had an easy finish to make it 2-0.


World Cup 2010, United States Vs. Slovenia: Ljubijankic Finishes Counter To Put Slovenia Up 2-0

Zlatan Ljubijankic was a surprise starter over Zlatko Dedic, but Matzaj Kek's decision has paid-off with the attacker's counter-attack goal to put Slovenia up 2-0.

The Slovenes countered after two minutes of furious attacking for the Untied States that saw two great scoring opportunities, but Slovenia caught the United States with midfielders and fullbacks forward, played the ball to Milivoje Novakovic in front of the line, who found Ljubijankic running free toward goal.  The Slovene slid the ball past an oncoming Time Howard to put the U.S. down 2-0 in the 42nd minute.


World Cup 2010, United States Vs. Slovenia: Valter Birsa's Left Puts Slovenia Up 1-0 Early

The United States have fallen behind early, allowing Valter Birsa and his left foot too much time from 24 yards, allowing the Slovene attacker to beat Tim Howard to the right side of the net, giving the Slovenes a 1-0 lead after 12 minutes.

Birsa was left alone just above the arc, able to take a touch and run onto the ball with no resistance.  The closest opposition was still meters away when Birsa let the shot go, putting the Group C leaders up one.

Slovenia earns a birth into the second round with a win today.

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