Ukraine vs. USA: Final score 2-0, USMNT defense struggles

Kyle Rivas

All if the USMNT's best defenders are home preparing for the MLS season or injured. It showed.

The United States doesn't have anything to worry about heading into World Cup preparation -- most of their first choice players were left at home for Wednesday's friendly against Ukraine -- but Jürgen Klinsmann learned a lot about his backups. His second choice defense, in particular, looked very poor, and it's obvious that the USMNT can't afford any injuries this spring. Ukraine looked like a strong first choice team playing against a backup defense, and were good in their 2-0 win.

It was very apparent from the beginning of the match that the makeshift back line of Edgar Castillo, John Brooks, Oguchi Onyewu and Geoff Cameron were simply not coordinated enough to deal with Ukraine's dangerous attackers, nor were they individually good enough to make up for their lack of chemistry. It took just 12 minutes for Ukraine to score, with Andriy Yarmolenko punching in their first effort.

Some poor defending by Brooks kept Denis Garmash onside on a run in behind the defense and left plenty of space behind the back line. His initial effort was stopped by Tim Howard, but Castillo failed to track the late run of Yarmolenko and Garmash found him for a tap-in. Four minutes later, Ukraine had a goal wrongly disallowed when Oleksandr Kucher was flagged for offside, even though Alejandro Bedoya was keeping him on.

The United States started the second half strongly, producing a couple of early chances. Bedoya had a shot blocked over the bar at the end of a great move in the 49th minute and Jozy Altidore just barely missed on a clean header two minutes after that. However, it didn't take long for Ukraine to regain control and take advantage of the poor USMNT defense.

A pair of substitutes hooked up for Ukraine's second goal in the 67th minute, with Brooks the biggest culprit for his side once again. Brooks moved up the pitch to try to win the ball back, but failed, leaving tons of space behind him. Roman Bezus picked out Marko Devic with a ball over the top, and though Howard saved his first effort, Devic was able to roll his second shot into the back of the net.

Klinsmann's side picked up the pace at the end of the match, with Clint Dempsey and Aron Johannsson both creating decent chances, but the USMNT never found the goal.

Ukraine: Pyatov, Khacheridi, Kucher, Fedetskiy, Shevchuk (Makarenko 79'), Rotan (Edmar 77'), Tymoshchuk, Konoplyanka (Gusev 65'), Garmash (Bezus 46'), Yarmolenko (Morozuk 90'), Zozulya (Devic 65')

Goals: Yarmolenko (12'), Devic (68')

United States: Howard, Castillo (Shea 63'), Brooks, Onyewu, Cameron, Kljestan (Johannsson 63'), Jones (Williams 80'), Johnson, Dempsey, Bedoya; Altidore (Agudelo 85')

Goals: None

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