GOTEBORG, Sweden (August 22, 2007) — The U.S. Men’s National Team fell to Sweden, 1-0, this evening in a tightly contested match at Ullevi Stadium in Goteborg, Sweden. A blistering strike by Kim Kallstrom in the 56th minute provided Sweden with the game-winning goal.
In an even affair, the U.S. had their chances, including a 90th minute header from Michael Bradley, but Sweden goalkeeper Rami Shaaban was able to secure the shutout in front of the 20,648 faithful in attendance.
“Throughout the game, Sweden was still able at times to put a little more pressure on us at the right moments and play a little faster,” said U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley. "I think there were periods in the game where we adjusted to the tempo better, started to play a little quicker and created some chances. The next step for us is to sustain this for longer periods and be able to put more pressure on the other team throughout the game. It's only with these types of matches that we continue to move in that direction. The question was 'was this a fair result?', and the answer was yes."
The U.S. Men’s National Team will play host to No. 1 ranked Brazil when they visit Chicago for the “Clash of Champions” on Sunday, September 9, marking the five-time World Champion’s first-ever visit to the Windy City. Kickoff at Soldier Field is set for 3 p.m. CT, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Univision. Fans can also follow the match live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
Against Sweden, the first half started out very methodical from both sides as they settled into their formations. From the outset, Zlatan Ibrahimovic served as the focal point of the Swedish attack, using his size and speed to win balls in the air and play teammates behind the U.S. defense. For the United States, success would come through the flanks as DaMarcus Beasley and Benny Feilhaber used their quickness to create space to deliver crosses.
The USA’s first and best chance of the half came in the third minute after a quick re-start at midfield. Clint Dempsey took an entry pass from Steve Cherundolo and fed Feilhaber out wide right. Getting a step past his markers, he slotted a ball to the top of box where Beasley’s first-timer skimmed wide of the left post.
At the quarter hour mark, Ibrahimovic had his first breakaway of the opening stanza when a through ball over the top got past Oguchi Onyewu, leaving the 6’6” striker in one-on-one vs. U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard. The Everton ‘keeper charged off his line to make the initial stop, but the rebound came back to Ibrahimovic. He quickly spun around and fired a left-footed shot toward goal, only to be foiled by Onyewu who had smartly recovered to the goal line.
It was the USA’s turn to get a sniff just before the half hour mark when they attacked on a counter. Beasley played through traffic and executed a delayed give-and-go with Dempsey. The newly acquired Ranger crossed back looking for Dempsey at the penalty spot, but the pass was cleared straight back up the middle. Michael Bradley ran onto the loose ball but his 25-yard strike went wide right.
Two minutes later, it was Ibrahimovic again getting behind the defense and in alone on goal. Howard stutter-stepped and closed the space, standing the striker up and taking his shot in the left shoulder. The rebound caromed towards the right endline where Kennedy Barkircioglu ran it down and crossed it back into the area for Ibrahimovic, who muscled with Cherundolo before banging a header off the crossbar.
The U.S. changed formations at halftime, bringing on Bobby Convey and slotting Feilhaber into the middle for Pablo Mastroeni. The 4-2-3-1 formation saw Convey on the left, Landon Donovan in the middle and Beasley on the right. Sweden also made a number of changes, bringing on three new players to start the second half.
Throughout the second half, the U.S. and Sweden took advantage of the six allowed substitutions, with Bob Bradley exhausting all of his allotment by bringing on Jonathan Spector, Kamani Hill, Jay DeMerit, Charlie Davies and Sal Zizzo, giving the former U-20 MNT forward his first international cap. Brian Ching, who replaced Josh Wolff on the roster, suffered a left calf strain before the match and ended up not suiting up.
In the 50th minute, Sweden captain Daniel Andersson unleashed a 20-yard blast, but Howard was able to get down and make the save.
The U.S. quickly pushed the other way and Beasley buzzed down the right sideline before slotting a pass into the penalty area toward Donovan, who cleverly dummied it for Dempsey. The Fulham midfielder tried to angle his shot for the far post, but didn’t hit it cleanly and it was snared by Rami Shaaban.
Sweden finally broke the deadlock in the 56th minute when Kallstrom drilled a 20-yard shot after a receiving a nifty pass from Bakircioglu at the top corner of the box. Cutting inside from the left sideline with Cherundolo defending, Barkircioglu looked to have committed a foul when he pushed the right back with two hands, but no call was made and a split second later Barkircioglu touched the ball ever so slightly to Kallstrom, who was running in the opposite direction. Kallstrom took a small touch before quickly pulling the trigger on a left-footed bender that blew past a diving Tim Howard.
Sweden had two more good chances on the night, the first coming once again from Kallstrom in the 75th minute when his free kick went just a foot over the top left corner. Ten minutes later, substitute Dusan Djuric got past the U.S. defense on a counter-attack, but his shot was well wide left.
The U.S. had one final opportunity to score the equalizer off a free kick in the 90th minute. Convey served in the ball from the right sideline finding the head of Bradley, who hit a snap header on frame that Shaaban bobbled before covering up.
After the Brazil clash on Sept. 9, the U.S. then takes advantage of a double FIFA date in October, first facing Catalonia on Oct. 14 at the famed Nou Camp in Barcelona, Spain. Three days later, the U.S. will take on 2008 European Championship co-hosts Switzerland in Basel for the first game between the two sides in nearly 13 years, and the first since the 1-1 draw in the 1994 FIFA World Cup hosted in the United States. Both October matches will also be televised on Fox Soccer Channel and Galavision.
-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --
Match-up: USA vs. Sweden
Date: August 22, 2007
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Ullevi Stadium – Göteborg, Sweden
Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. ET
Weather: Cool, 65 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
SWE 0 1 1
SWE – Kim Kallstrom (Kennedy Bakirciouglu) 56th minute
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 22-Oguchi Onyewu, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.) (12-Jay Demerit, 76), 13-Jonathan Bornstein (17-Jonathan Spector, 64); 5-Benny Feilhaber, 4-Michael Bradley, 25-Pablo Mastroeni (15-Bobby Convey, 46), 7-DaMarcus Beasley (21-Sal Zizzo, 76); 10-Landon Donovan (20-Kamani Hill, 64), 8-Clint Dempsey (9-Charlie Davies, 85)
Subs not used: 24-Marcus Hahnemann
Unavailable: 11-Brian Ching
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
SWE: 1-Rami Shaaban; 2-Mikael Nilsson (13-Matías Concha, 46), 3-Olof Mellberg, 4-Petter Hansson (14-Daniel Majstorovic, 46), 5-Erik Edman; 6-Daniel Andersson (capt.); 9-Kennedy Bakircioglü, 8-Kim Källström, 7-Christian Wilhelmsson (15-Niclas Alexandersson, 46); 10-Zlatan Ibrahimovic (19-Markus Rosenberg, 66), 11-Johan Elmander (16-Dusan Djuric, 76)
Subs not used: 12-Johan Wilan, 17-Samuel Holmén, 18-Marcus Allbäck
Head Coach: Lars Lagerback
Stats Summary: USA / SWE
Shots 10 / 13
Shots on goal 6 / 6
Saves 4 / 6
Corner Kicks 2 / 5
Fouls 22 / 25
Offside 0 / 4
SWE – Kim Källström (caution) 31st minute.
USA – Carlos Bocanegra (caution) 44.
Referee: Kevin Blom (NED)
1st Asst.: Nicky Siebert (NED)
2nd Asst.: Roger Geutjes (NED)
Fourth Official: Erik Bergsten (SWE)
Sierra Mist Man of the Match: Tim Howard