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United States vs. Slovenia - Live Match Thread - Now a recap

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OK, I will be doing my live match updates during the match and you of course can add your thoughts via the comments section.

Here is the lineup for the USMNT: Howard; Cherundolo, DeMerit, Onyewu, Bocanegra (C); Dempsey, Bradley, Torres, Donovan; Altidore, Findley.

I love the move to go with the more offensive minded Torres and this should allow the US to be a bit faster in the midfield and should really keep the pressure on Slovenia's defense.  It looks like the critics (myself included) who thought the US played too defensively against the English will get to see if we were right.

The lineup for Slovenia is: Handanovick; Brecko; Suler, Cesar, Jokic; Birsa, Koren (c), Radosavljevic, Kirm; Ljubijankic, Novakovic

OK, if you haven't caught one of my live match feeds here is how it goes, I post updates every 10 minutes, or when someone scores.  I try to capture the major action of the match as well as my observations on the play of each team.

0-10 Minutes

Well the players are in the tunnel and we are about to have them take the pitch, I do love the match specific ball (I wonder if all of them used in the match are printed with the specifics?).  Looks like a good crowd a bit chilly from the sounds of it.  Well the anthems are done and it is time for the match to get underway. So in addition to watching the match, I am monitoring both the FIFA matchcast as well as ESPN's World Cup app just in case they have something I miss.

I do wish that Slovenia would wear yellow and black just once so we could get a good Charlie Brown jersey shot, at least their home whites aren't nearly as bad.  Wow it was worse than France, just 10 seconds in and Slovenia alreay has a guy down on the pitch after going for a header against Dempsey, no card and Clint is kinda lucky to have not gotten a card given the days officiating.  Well if you wondered if Timmy was healthy he just kicked a ball almost the full length of the pitch to a onrushing Jozy but it is just a bit long.  It looks like the US are much more commited to playing attacking footy today.  Great run by Robbie Findley, earns the corner for the US and shows off the speed that will cause issues for Slovenia all day. 

Not much from the corner kick, and Slovenia takes back over. So ESPN notices a paper plane that lands on the pitch, both team are playing a bit franticly at the start and a bad turnover by the US in a dangerous position, and the US defense looks a bit shaky early on. 

10-20 minutes

The US is back on the attack but a turnover give the ball back and then a foul gives Slovenia a free kick and they play it into the area but the US clears it without a shot being taken.  Slovenia tries a long ball but the US takes it over and are looking for a way to get back into the Slovenia half of the pitch.  A long ball by the US but nobody makes the run and it goes back over to Slovenia,  the US takes it back but it gets broken up as Dempsey and Jozy can't connect.  A huge shot from distance by Birsa goes past Howard and Slovenia is up 1-0.

Well the US had to did themselves out of a hole against England and this team has made a habit of going behind and now they will need to figure out a way to come from behind once again.  The US gets a free kick from 10 yards outside of the area, but the Donovan attempt fails to get past the keeper and eventutally  it goes out for a goal kick and Slovenia take back over.  The US hasn't looked impressive except for a couple good runs by Robbie, the latest one is lost by Jozy who couldn't get possession and turn.  The US is still on the attack but a long range effort by Bradley goes wide and high over goal.  Good run by Landon, out for a US throw in and Jozy's first touch fails him as it goes all the way out on the other end of the pitch as Timmy plays it back into action (not sure I am a fan of the bright orange keeper kit he is wearing).

20-30 minutes

It does look like giving up an early goal again has gotten the attention of the US team. Another run into the area by the US, goes nowhere as their keeper is able to clear it out of danger.  A foul against the US at midfield gives Slovenia a chance on goal but Howard is there to clean it up and the US gets right back on the attack and a good ball into the area finds the head of Clint, then the head of Robbie but neither get it on goal and eventually it is out of danger and Slovenia is back on the attack. 

Well the US is starting to look dangerous, now it is a matter of getting shots on goal and finding the back of the net.  A bad call gives Slovenia a corner, but the US clears it easily but Slovenia keep possession and they are keeping up the pressure and looking for a second goal.  The US has to be careful as it is clear that the guys from the little nation of Slovenia are not impressed by the US squad at all.  I do like the energy that Torres brings to the pitch, but it looks as if the US is missing the defensive bite of Clark.  A decent ball into the area but Clint is called for the push in the box and it goes over to Slovenia, I would love to see the US try to take some shots instead of looking for the headers as you never know when a keeper will lose a ball in his own area. 

30-40 minutes

Slovenia has a deep throw in as Howard had to clear it out of his own end and the US plays a long ball all the way back to the keeper who gets the attack back going for Slovenia.  I have to say that Slovenia plays some solid football, their lines are tight and they move forward as a unit when they attack, breaking them down will not be easy but the speed of the US could be the key as they are struggling with possession.   I am not at all impressed with the US attacking the ball, they tend to be waiting until Slovenia move forward before they apply any real pressure.

A dangerous free kick for the US, and a great shot by Torres and then the US gets a blistering header from DeMerit that is just wide. Another player for Slovenia is down as everyone takes a water break, funny how guys always are near death until the stretcher arrives and then healed.

A great run gets the ball to Findley, who passes instead of shooting and the ball bounces around and a yellow card on Findley for the ball hitting his face.  Now the US is back on the attack again but nobody gets on the end of a great crossed ball and the US is keeping up the pressure.  They are getting close.

40-halftime

Well another goal for Ljubijankic gets behind the broken US offside trap and it is now 2-0 Slovenia with just minutes to go in the half.  The US had pushed forward with huge numbers, but eventually they lost the ball and Slovenia was able to take advantage of it.  The US has failed to take advantage of their chances and Slovenia have.

You have to wonder if the change in the midfield has lead the the US's inability to keep possession, we all wanted a more attacking side, but Slovenia have countered that well and converted their chances while the US has looked dangerous but failed to do anything when given the chance.  You would think that a team would look to protect the 2 goal lead with just minutes left in the half but Slovenia are still attacking and doing a good job of forcing the US to chase them.  It as if they have seen us play before and know how to effectively block the passing lanes that the US is trying to use.  Well that is the whistle for the half and the US are down 2-0 and looking like a team that is being outplayed and outclassed.

Halftime thoughts

I had expected more from the US, who played well as a team against England who had the better play by players, well the shoe is on the other foot today as the US has the better players but Slovenia is playing like the better team and the 2-0 scoreline and continued attacking style of Slovenia have been much more impressive than I thought they would be.

45-55 minutes

So what will the US do at halftime, Edu is in for Torres, Feilhaber for Findley, not sure why the US is going with a more defensive lineup when down two goals?  Findley and Torres were two players showing some energy, so this move has bring Dempsey up top with Altidore.  A mistake by Slovenia, one of their first leaves Landon one on one with the keeper and he doesn't make any passes and he gets the US back in the match. 2-1.

Wow you have to wonder what Bob said to them at halftime, a great ball in and Gooch just is a second late from evening the match up.  This is a very different US team than what we saw in the first half, so you have to keep hoping that the the US can find another couple goals.  A good punch out by Howard and Slovenia gets a corner kick,  who try to get tricky and go short but they turn it over to the US for a goal kick.  I thought that Slovenia might come out more defensive in this half, but if they planned on doing that the US goal changed their minds and they are playing the same attacking style they played in the first half.

55-65 minutes

Well the US is still pushing very high and so far their defense has been up to the task, but the US has to do a better job of possession. It is a very risky thing that the US is doing, but this is the World Cup and high risk can lead to high reward.  Losing the match will put the US in a very bad position of needing a lot of help from other teams, so getting a result is a must and losing 3-1 isn't going to be any worse than losing 2-1.  The US is calming down a bit from the fast start, a good ball to Jozy but he loses the ball and goes down.  Another US free kick but the US is unable to get it on goal and of course another Slovenia player is down on the pitch.

Slovenia is back on the attack with a deep throw in, but the US clears it to midfield, wow twice a player is called for a handball when it hits them in the face, at least Edu didn't get a card.  So the US got back into the match quickly in the second half, but now it looks like Slovenia has adjusted well.  The US needs to stop doing the whole long ball thing, the speed of Findley is gone and Jozy has been off the entire match.  The US get a good stretch of possesion but their final play just plays the ball out of bounds for a Slovenia goal kick.

65-75 minutes

The updside to the second half is that the US defense is playing better, the midfield is still iffy at best, but at least the midfield is playing better. A good run by Bradley, but eventually the US plays it too long and it goes out for a Slovenia throw in.  With just about 20 minutes left the US has to figure something out, Jozy makes a run and gets taken down, it should have been a red, but only a yellow as the US gets a free kick from just outside of the box.  Landon plays it in and it deflects to Jozy but his shot goes right to the keeper and a great chance ends with nothing on the scoreboard.

Slovenia is back on the attack, but they play it long for a US goal kick.  The US is playing desperate ball, it is a bit early for that but a foul gives us another set piece, So far it is nothing, you can finally see some emotion from the US.  Slovenia make their first change, as Ljubijankic is out and Pecnik is in.  Once again the ball bounces around in the area and the US player gets taken down but gets called for foul as the Slovenia player who pushed him down trips over his leg.  This match has gotten very, very ugly as the fouls by Slovenia have become very nasty.

75-85 minutes

The flurry of yellow cards in the last 10 minutes tells you that Slovenia has gotten desperate as the US has become the better team and are creating good chances.  The US is making some mistakes but Slovenia is unable to do much with them in this half, but the US has to find a way to get their shots on goal.  The US is doing an good job of getting the ball into the Slovenia half of the ptich, but unable to do much in the final third, as we have just over 10 minutes left you have to wonder who will the US bring in to get some fresh legs on the pitch.  Herculez Gomez to the resuce for the US?  Well he is coming in at least, and he was able to get a late goal against the Aussies.  Wow Gooch is out and Gomez is in, as the US push another man forward as they know they need to get the result in this one.

and the US is even on a goal by Bradley 2-2.  There was so many ways that could have gone wrong, but not we are even and the US has to continue to push and go for the win, a draw is OK but the win would really put the US in the drivers seat of the group.  Those halftime changes have made an impact, while not on the scoreboard it has allowed the US to get back in the match, not sure why (gonna have to watch this one again).

85-final

Well this is it, 5 minutes plus stoppage time and we are even 2-2, the US gets a free kick from a dangerous postion and you can see Landon looking, the US scoreds on the free kick but a horrible call by this official pull the goal by Edu off the board.

Well first Germany, and now this, you have to really wonder what is going on with the officials in this World Cup, you have seen a number of calls go in favor of the "underdogs" in matches, but today you have seen the officials make calls that have cost teams goals and matches.  Can the US overcome the fact that they are playing against 12 men?

Slovenia is deep in the US end of the ptich and the US gets the ball back with 3 minutes of stoppage time, you have to wonder if the emotion and action can go any higher than the last 10 minutes?

Neither side seems interested in this match ending in a draw, well an injured Slovenia player and of course they are going to make a change as the first man of the match is actually taken off the pitch on the stretcher.  Komac comes in for Pecnik who is the injured player.  The whistle blows and it ends a draw and for the US the draw against the England had to feel like a win, this one has to feel like a loss and a horrible one at that as the US had a goal taken off the scoreboard on a bad call.

2-2 is your final

OFF MY SOAPBOX