- Forward Juan Agudelo Nets Second Career Goal in 59th Minute
- U.S. Debuts New Nike Red Uniform in Front of 78,936 Fans
- U.S. Next Travels to Face Paraguay on March 29 at LP Field in Nashville Â
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (March 26, 2011) - “ The U.S. Men's National Team came from a goal down to earn a 1-1 draw with Argentina in front of a record crowd of 78,936 fans at New Meadowlands Stadium on Saturday. Forward Juan Agudelo's second-half strike from close range and goalkeeper Tim Howard's Budweiser Man of the Match performance secured the result for the United States, whose record against Argentina now stands at 2-6-2.
The U.S. now heads to Nashville to face 2010 FIFA World Cup quarterfinalists Paraguay on March 29 at LP Field. Fox Soccer Channel and Telefutura will broadcast the match live at 7 p.m. CT, and fans can follow the match at ussoccer.com's MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer.
"Whenever we get the opportunity to play against these great teams there are a lot of challenges, and there are things that now we can set our sights on," said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. "Argentina was very good with the ball in the first half and found a great rhythm that made it difficult on us, and the goal before halftime changed the thinking. I was very pleased with response from the team in the second half. To come away with a good result against a very good team there are some things to talk about, some things that need to be improved but also some positives."
The U.S. team debuted the brand new red Nike uniform with the motto "Indivisible" displayed on the sleeve. The motto was chosen from more than 6,000 entries submitted by fans by tweeting #RedAllOver during a five-day span leading up to the match.
Seven players in the U.S. lineup were part of the team that drew with Argentina on June 4, 2008, at the former Giants Stadium in East Rutherford including New Jersey native Howard who made five saves in another world-class performance against La Albiceleste.
The U.S. earned the first opportunity of the match in the fourth minute when Clint Dempsey was able to pick of an errant pass on the left wing. He held off defender Nicolas Burdisso before firing a left-footed shot that forced Argentina goalkeeper Mariano Andujar into an early save.
FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi was Argentina's main threat and the Barcelona forward was devastatingly effective for moments in the first half. In the 12th minute he elicited a save from Tim Howard - one of four in the first half - and later worked a silky give-and-go with Ezequiel Lavezzi before sending the ball just wide of the left post.
Dempsey was providing most of the danger for the USA and in the 37th minute he brought another save out of Andujar. Midfielder Jermaine Jones, who made his third start for the national team, started the move with Landon Donovan, who then found Dempsey streaking into the area. The Texas native cut back on his left foot but could not curl his left-footed effort past the Argentina goalkeeper.
Howard was at his best again in the 39th minute, stopping Messi after a 50-yard dribbling run that stretched from the center circle into the penalty area. The Argentina number 10 could only be held at bay for so long and eventually created his team's goal just before the interval.
Messi evaded U.S. defenders in the 42nd minute while dribbling into the penalty area before threading the ball back to Angel Di Maria. Howard made the initial kick save from five yards out, but the U.S. goalkeeper was left helpless as Esteban Cambiasso roofed the rebound from seven yards out to send Argentina into halftime with a 1-0 lead.
Bradley made two subs to start the second half, bringing on Agudelo for Jones and Timmy Chandler for Jonathan Spector. The appearance was the first cap for Chandler, who became the 59th player to earn his first cap under Bradley.
Howard was also the Budweiser Man of the Match the last time these two teams met in 2008 and he had to be alert for the USA early in the second half. In the 47th minute Di Maria cut the ball back to an onrushing Messi, but Howard sprung off his line to smother the shot and make a vital save. In the 58th minute Howard stood strong again, stopping Lavezzi's effort from a tight angle.
At the other end the USA was starting to come to life, and debutante Chandler helped set up the first U.S. chance of the second half. The marauding right back sent a weighted ball just inside the penalty area for Altidore, who headed the ball back to midfielder Maurice Edu at the top of the area. Edu skewed his effort wide, but the move was a sign of things to come at the offensive end for the USA.
With the foul count increasing in the second half, the USA's proficiency from set pieces was always going to be important and indeed they found the equalizer from a dead ball situation. Donovan curled a free kick in from the right where Carlos Bocanegra rose highest to head the ball on frame. Andujar made the initial save, but Agudelo was there to clean up the rebound for his second goal in just his third cap. The young forward has two goals in 106 total minutes for the United States.
Both teams pushed forward to grab the winner, much to the delight of the crowd. After a nice attacking move Dempsey had a shot taken off his left foot as he tried to cut toward goal, and on the defensive end Jay DeMerit atoned for a bad giveaway by providing a goal-saving tackle on Di Maria.
Goalscorer Agudelo went close with a header in the 73rd minute, with Chandler teeing up another inviting cross for the teenager while Bocanegra just misconnected with a dangerous Donovan corner to the near post after 83 minutes. Â
Fittingly, Messi had the last good chance of the game. In the 87th minute he controlled a ball in his stride while barreling into the USA's area. Oguchi Onyewu and Bradley did well to force the Argentina winger wide, and in the end he could only lift his left-footed shot over the goal.
The final whistle called time on a second-consecutive tie for the USA and Argentina in East Rutherford, N.J. This match was equally bruising as the encounter in 2008 with 21 fouls, and just as thrilling, with 20 total shots. The enthusiastic crowd of 78,396 is the largest crowd ever to watch a soccer game at New Meadowlands Stadium.
The USA will depart for Nashville on Sunday ahead of Tuesday's match with Paraguay.
The United States will seek its fifth confederation championship title when they join Group C of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup along with Canada, Panama and Guadeloupe. The U.S. will first take on Canada on June 7 at 8 p.m. ET at Ford Field in Detroit. The team then travels south to face Panama on June 11 at 8 p.m. ET at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., before rounding out group play against Guadeloupe on June 14 at the brand new LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, with kickoff slated for 8 p.m. CT.
-- U.S. Men's National Team Game Report --
Match: USA vs. Argentina
Date: March 26, 2011
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: New Meadowlands Stadium - East Rutherford, N.J.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Weather: Clear and windy, 35 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
ARGÂ 1 0 1
ARG - Esteban Cambiasso 42nd minute
USA - Juan Agudelo (Carlos Bocanegra) 59
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 2-Jonathan Spector (21-Timmy Chandler, 46), 15-Jay DeMerit, 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (Capt.), 13-Jermaine Jones (9-Juan Agudelo, 46), 4-Michael Bradley, 7-Maurice Edu, 8-Clint Dempsey, 10-Landon Donovan; 17-Jozy Altidore
Subs not used: 6-Tim Ream, 12-Jonathan Bornstein, 14- Edson Buddle, 16-Sacha Kljestan, 23-Marcus Hahnemann
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
ARG: 1-Mariano Andujar; 8-Javier Zanetti, 4-Nicolas Burdisso, 6-Gabriel Milito; 24-Marco Rojo, 20-Ever Banega, 14-Javier Mascherano (Capt.), 5-Esteban Cambiasso (16-Lucas Biglia, 73); 22-Ezequiel Lavezzi, 10-Lionel Messi, 7-Angel Di Maria
Subs not used: 3-Nicolas Otamendi, 9-Jose Josa, 11-Javier Pastore, 12-Adrian Gabbarini, 15-Marcos Angeleri, 17-Fernando Belluschi, 18-Nicolas Gaitan, 19-Mario Bolatti, 21-Augustin Marchesin, 23-Eduardo Salvio
Head Coach: Sergio Batista
Stats Summary: USA/ARG:
Shots on goal: 4/6
Corner Kicks: 2/6
USA - Maurice Edu (caution) 35th minute
USA - Timmy Chandler (caution) 48
USA - Landon Donovan (caution) 79
USA - Carlos Bocanegra (caution) 90+1
Referee: Roberto Garcia (MEX)
First Asst: Marcos Quintero (MEX)
Second Asst.: Victor Calderon (MEX)
Fourth Official: Edvin Jurisevic (USA)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Tim Howard