Jozy Altidore of the United States is tackled by Marko Suler of Slovenia during the FIFA World Cup South Africa Group C match between Slovenia and USA at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Slovenia Vs. USA, 2011 International Friendly: USMNT Defeat Slovenia 3-2

Jurgen Klinsmann's U.S. team isn't desperate for a win against Slovenia, but they are desperate to show they have improved and are growing

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Slovenia Vs. USA, 2011 International Friendly: USMNT Holds On For 3-2 Win In Slovenia

It wasn't always pretty, it could be called lucky and they still have their problems, but the United States has a win and after a rocky start to the Jurgen Klinsmann era, they are happy to have the result. Goals by Edson Buddle, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore proved to be enough for the Americans to win 3-2, who just barely held on in the second half as Slovenia poured on the pressure.

Buddle broke the U.S. goal drought just nine minutes in when he hopped on a loose ball and ripped a 20-yard shot off of the post and in. The goal was created by pressure from Clint Dempsey, who pushed high and forced a giveaway from the Slovenia defense. The ball fell to Buddle, who showed no hesitation is letting his shot go and the Americans were in front early.

That lead didn't last for long though as Tim Matavz made his mark. The PSV striker broke through the high line that the U.S. defense was playing and he was in alone on goal. He left Tim Howard no chance with a good finish and Slovenia was level.

As quickly as Slovenia equalized though, the U.S. grabbed the lead back. Slovenia has been poor defending set pieces lately and the U.S. was all too happy to take advantage of it. Dempsey got free from his mark on a corner kick and was able to head home the go-ahead goal.

The U.S. wasn't done though. Minutes after putting the U.S. in front, Fabian Johnson got in behind the Slovenia defense and was clipped on the heel. He went down to the grass and the referee had no choice but to point to the spot. Alitodre took the penalty and took it well, sending the keeper the wrong way with a good, hard shot to make it 3-1 in favor of the U.S. at halftime.

The second half looked nothing like the first though. Slovenia just flew forward and the U.S. was helpless to stop them. Playing in a diamond midfield with a bad back line, the Americans were in trouble and it took them 30 minutes into the second half before they made a change. That meant that for a half hour, the U.S. goal was under attack.

Matavz was at the center of it all for Slovenia. First, Slovenia hit the bar and that ball fell to Matavz, who had his ball cleared off the line. A follow up shot forced Howard to save it before it was finally cleared. Slovenia came right back though and Matavz rattled the bar himself with a great shot.

There was no way Matavz was going to be denied a third time though. He nodded the ball down for a teammate before make a good run, receiving the ball, leaving Kyle Beckerman in his wake and finishing to cut the U.S. lead to one.

The rest of the match was just an exercise in hanging on for the U.S. As the Slovenians pushed forward, the U.S. just tried to keep them out. A bad late foul by Carlos Bocanegra gave the Slovenians one more chance, but the free kick went over the bar and the U.S. got themselves a 3-2 win away in Europe.

It wasn't the prettiest of matches and they certainly have a lot to work on. The back line is a mess and playing a diamond midfield in front of them is questionable at best, but after the first six matches under Klinsmann resulted in just one win, getting a win in Slovenia is a big deal. It's a boost that the U.S. will take into 2012 when World Cup qualifying begins and the matches get serious.


Slovenia Vs. USA Live, 2011 International Friendly: Tim Matavz Makes It Two

So Tim Matavz is good. He's really, really good. Anyone who watches the Dutch Eredivisie knows this. He has been tearing the league apart for two and a half years now, but now Americans know it too because he's just ripping the United States defense to pieces. He picked up his second goal on a smart finish, a goal that Slovenia most definitely deserved after rattling the bar twice in the prior four minutes. Now, the U.S. leads just 3-2 and are in real danger of blowing their two-goal lead.

Matavz did well to nod the ball down, then got a pass back, leaving him in on goal for the simple finish that cut the U.S. lead to one. He's been a menace all game, earlier rattling the bar and being right in the middle of a play that saw another ball hit the bar. He has a brace and very well could add to it before the end of this one.

The U.S. defense has been downright awful. They are unorganized and a diamond midfield in front of a bad back line is probably not the best idea, but that's what the U.S. is going with.


Slovenia Vs. USA Live, 2011 International Friendly: Pair Of Goals Puts USMNT Up 3-1

In the first 540 minutes that the United States played under Jurgen Klinsmann they scored all of two goals. In the next 45 minutes they scored three. Makes sense? No, but the U.S. isn't going to complain. They have themselves some goals and a 3-1 lean over Slovenia. After Tim Matavz leveled for Slovenia, Clint Dempsey scored then drew a penalty that Jozy Altidore finished to give the Americans a 3-1 lead in Slovenia.

Dempsey did well to get free on a corner kick and found space from seven yards. The Slovenians have developed a reputation of being poor defending set pieces and showed why in letting Dempsey, the best finisher the U.S. has, get completely free. Once unmarked, Dempsey wasn't going to miss and he nodded home the corner kick to put the U.S. in front.

Just minutes later, Dempsey got in behind the Slovenia defense. He got clipped on his heel and went down to the grass. It was a clear penalty and the referee had no choice but to give it. Altidore took the penalty and sent the keeper the wrong way with a good, hard shot that put the U.S. in front 3-1 before the half.


Slovenia Vs. USA Live, 2011 International Friendly: Tim Matavz Equalizes For Slovenia

The United States defense is back to looking like, well, the United States defense. They were flat, unorganized, and left a huge hole, which probably isn't a good idea when the other team has someone like Tim Matavz. The U.S. defense allowed the Slovenian striker to get in all alone on goal and he wasn't going to miss that opportunity, slotting home his shot to equalize this match at 1-1.

Somehow, the U.S. left a huge hole in the center of the field. Their central defenders were spread out and Timothy Chandler was completely missing, allowing Matavz to slip in unmarked. The PSV striker equalized and this match is back on even terms.

The question now for the U.S. is whether they'll be able to keep Slovenia quiet with their high line. They have been vulnerable to getting caught napping, as they did on the Matavz goal, and while they've done well to get Slovenia caught offside a few times, they are straddling a fine line.


Slovenia Vs. USA Live, 2011 International Friendly: Edson Buddle Breaks The USMNT Goal Drought

Maybe two strikers really is the answer to everything? Okay, probably not, but the United States has a goal and those have been hard to come by recently so more of the same is probably a good idea. Edson Buddle hopped on a loose ball and ripped a shot off the post and in to get the U.S. off the mark against Slovenia just nine minutes into this friendly.

The goal was created by Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey and their pressure high up the field. The two pressed high, forcing Slovenia into an uncomfortable position before Dempsey's pressure forced the giveaway that freed the ball 20 yards from goal. Buddle hopped on it and quick unleashed a shot that found the post, then the net.

High pressure has been one constant for the U.S. under Klinsmann and now it's turned into a goal. The Americans will continue pressuring high and see if they can turn it into another goal, but with just one they are already well ahead of their recent average.


Slovenia Vs. USA, 2011 International Friendly: Lineups

As much as the United States has struggled under Jurgen Klinsmann, maybe it's not a huge surprise that he has altered his lineup to go with a more "American" look. For the first time under their new coach, the USA will feature two forwards, with Edson Buddle getting the start alongside Jozy Altidore up top. 

That wasn't the only significant change Klinsmann made, either. In perhaps another nod to his predecessor, Michael Bradley has been given his first start since Klinsmann's debut against Mexico. Bradley has only even appeared in one game since then. He'll start alongside Kyle Beckerman to create a midfield that will, tactically at least, look a lot like that of Bob Bradley. Fabian Johnson and Clint Dempsey will be the wide midfielders.

Also of note, this will be Carlos Bocanegra's 100th cap for the United States. He will also wear the captain's armband.

Slovenia starters: S. Handanović; Brečko, Šuler, Cesar, Jokić; Vršič, Bačinović; Ljubijankić, Iličić, Kirm; Matavž.

USMNT starters: Howard, Cherundolo, Goodson, Bocanegra (captain), Chandler, Beckerman, Bradley, Johnson, Dempsey; Buddle, Altidore. Bench: Hamid, Orozco Fiscal, Williams, Edu, Jones, Rogers, Shea.


Slovenia Vs. USA, 2011 International Friendly: TV Schedule And How To Watch Streaming Live Online

Until Slovenia was drawn with the United States in the 2010 World Cup, you had never heard of them. Yes, I am talking about you, uncultured swine who knows nothing about geography. Just so you KNOW, it's right next to Italy. They, much like the good old U.S. of A, have glowing picture boxes with cables, satellites, and the like. They also have the internet. That means that even though the USMNT is playing in this country that you didn't hear about until 2010, you can watch them play. MAGIC. Jurgen Klinsmann is off to a bad start as USMNT manager and could really use a win. Here's the television and streaming schedule.

Slovenia vs. USA

TV: ESPN2 (USA - English), Galavision (USA - Spanish)


We'll have live coverage of the game in our Slovenia vs. USA StoryStream. Kickoff is at 12:15 pm ET. For more on the entire world of football, check out SB Nation Soccer


Slovenia Vs. USA, 2011 International Friendly: Time For The USMNT To Show Growth

Jurgen Klinsmann's U.S. team isn't desperate for a win against Slovenia, but they are desperate to show they have improved and are growing

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