LONDON (May 28, 2008) — The U.S. Men’s National Team fell, 2-0, to England on Wednesday evening in front of 71,222 fans at Wembley Stadium. John Terry and Steven Gerrard scored on either side of halftime for the Lions.
The U.S. was without the services of midfielder Landon Donovan, who was a game-time scratch due to a strained groin which he suffered during the L.A. Galaxy’s match this weekend against the Kansas City Wizards. Without Donovan, who is just one cap away from joining the century club, the U.S. struggled to create enough dangerous chances against the quality defensive line of England.
The loss was the first for the U.S. in 2008, and broke their five-game undefeated streak, going back to October of last year. It was also the USA’s first loss on European soil after setting a record of three consecutive victories across the pond.
The U.S., who donned their anthracite jerseys, white shorts and anthracite socks for the first time, now turn their sights to Spain, the fourth-ranked team in the world. The team travels to Santander on Thursday to prepare for their match-up at on Wednesday, June 4 at Estadio El Sardinero. The match will be live on ESPN360.com and delayed on ESPN2 (5:30 p.m. ET) and Galavision (7 p.m. ET/PT).
"First, I would give credit to england," said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. "Overall, I thought that the first 30 minutes we dealt pretty well with the speed of the game. As we moved on in the half, certainly we hurt ourselves with giving away some fouls around the box to a dangerous team on set pieces, and they took advantage of that. In the second half there was an attempt to push a level up on our end, but we couldn't sustain enough pressure and in that regard england on the night was quite good. The second goal for them was excellent passing movement and I give them credit."
The majority of England’s chances in the first half were created from the deadly foot of David Beckham, as the L.A. Galaxy midfielder was provided numerous chances to whip free kicks into the U.S. penalty area. England’s first real opportunity came in the 12th minute when Beckham’s service from the left flank dangerously skipped through the six-yard box before ending up harmlessly over the endline. The free kick was a retake, as Beckham had served a similar ball into the box one minute earlier, but the referee had blown his whistle before the kick was taken, thereby making Beckham’s service, and Gerrard's resulting header past Tim Howard, null and void.
Along with Beckham, Gerrard was dangerous all over the pitch as the Liverpool midfielder found open areas in the final third to exploit the U.S. defense. Beckham served in another dangerous kick for Gerrard in the 24th minute from just outside the area. Gerrard ran in to the penalty box, unmarked, and pulled off a shot that was deflected just enough by Carlos Bocanegra to keep it from going on goal.
The U.S. got a look at the England goal two minutes later, as Eddie Johnson held off his defender near the English endline on the right side of the 18-yard box and chipped the ball across the goal-mouth. Michael Bradley was waiting at the far post unmarked but couldn’t stretch high enough to get a head on the ball.
In the 26th minute, the U.S. strung together a great sequence as Heath Pearce crossed the ball to Johnson on the right side. Johnson touched it down to Dempsey for a give-and-go, but his shot was soft and went right to David James.
Jermaine Defoe came close to breaking the scoreless tie after a great build-up from the English team in the 34th minute. James sent a long ball to the feet of Wayne Rooney in the center circle. Rooney passed to Gerrard who sent a quick, sharp pass to Defoe. Despite being heavily marked by Pearce, Defoe managed to hit a shot that went just wide left of the U.S. goal.
After missing a penalty kick for Chelsea in the Champions League final against Manchester United, Terry went into the match with a heavy heart on his back, but in the 38th minute the weight was lifted when he put England in the lead. Beckham swerved in a well-placed free kick from 40 yards out on the right flank, and the England captain rose above the crowd near the penalty spot to nod one home past Howard into the right corner, much to the delight to the English fans and his teammates.
U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan came into the match for Howard at halftime, along with defender Frankie Hejduk, who replaced Steve Cherundolo for the U.S. Also at the break, David Bentley replaced David Beckham for England.
The U.S. team came out of the locker room with a renewed sense of purpose, getting off a shot in the first minute of the second half. Pearce carried the ball up the left flank, passing to Johnson at the top of the box. Johnson hit a one-time volley toward goal, sending it just wide left.
In the 51st minute, Guzan joined in on the action as Rooney, Gerrard and Defoe once again connected, with Defoe’s shot being saved by Guzan.
Defoe once again created danger for the U.S. two minutes later, taking a swift first touch and turning on Pearce after collecting a free kick from Terry directly in front of the goal. Guzan maintained his composure, however, holding on to Defoe’s shot that went directly to his chest.
In the 59th minute, Wes Brown played a ball in to Gareth Barry in the middle of the field. Barry split Oguchi Onyewu and Pearce, hitting a perfectly timed a ball to an onrushing Gerrard, who held the ball at his feet long enough to draw Guzan out before slipping the ball across the goal into the lower left corner.
The U.S. had two more chances, in the 66th and 68th minutes as Bradley sent in a ball to Josh Wolff, but his diving header near the top of the box was well left. Dempsey followed that up two minutes later with a shot from 35 yards out, but the deflected shot fell harmlessly to James.
Three more changes were made to the U.S. lineup as Freddy Adu came into the match for Wolff in the 68th minute, along with Eddie Lewis, who replaced DaMarcus Beasley. England's Peter Crouch also made his entrance into the match in the 68th minute, coming on for Defoe. Maurice Edu came in for Ricardo Clark in the 78th minute, as both teams used all six allowable substitutes.
Lewis put his experience to work quickly, with some fancy footwork along the right endline to get past English defender Joe Cole, sending the ball to the back post where Bocanegra was crashing. But it was not to be for the U.S., as James was able to stretch a paw out and swat the ball out for U.S. corner.
Adu had the last shot of the match for the U.S., hitting a low drive on target from 24 yards out but James does well to get down and make the save.
U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report
Match-up: USA vs. England
Date: May 28, 2008
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Wembley Stadium – London, England
Kickoff: 8 p.m. GMT
Weather: 57 degrees, partly cloudy
1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
ENG 1 1 2
ENG – John Terry (David Beckham) 38th minute.
ENG – Steven Gerrard (Gareth Barry) 59.
USA: 1-Tim Howard (18-Brad Guzan, 46); 6-Steve Cherundolo (27-Frankie Hejduk, 46), 22-Oguchi Onyewu, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (Capt.), 12-Heath Pearce; 8-Clint Dempsey, 13-Ricardo Clark (26-Maurice Edu, 78), 4-Michael Bradley, 7-DaMarcus Beasley (11-Eddie Lewis, 68); 9-Eddie Johnson (14-Nate Jaqua, 89), 16-Josh Wolff (19-Freddy Adu, 68)
Subs not used 2-Dan Califf
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
ENG: 1-David James; 2-Wes Brown (13-Glen Johnson, 58), 6-John Terry (capt.), 3-Ashley Cole (14-Wayne Bridge, 83), 5-Rio Ferdinand; 7-David Beckham (17-David Bentley, 46), 4-Owen Hargreaves, 8-Frank Lampard (21-Gareth Barry, 57), 10-Steven Gerrard; 9-Jermain Defoe (25-Peter Crouch, 68), 11-Wayne Rooney (22-Joe Cole, 79)
Subs not used: 12-Joe Hart, 15-Stephen Warnock, 16-Jonathan Woodgate, 18-Phil Jagielka, 19-David Wheater, 20-Tom Huddlestone, 23-Stewart Downing, 24-Ashley Young, 26-Dean Ashton, 27-Theo Walcott, 28-Gabriel Agbonlahor, 29-Joe Lewis
Head Coach: Fabio Capello
Corner Kicks: 5/4
USA – Steve Cherundolo (caution) 44th minute.
USA – Heach Pearce (caution) 71.
ENG – Wayne Rooney (caution) 76.
Referee: Kyros Vassaras (GRE)
First Asst.: Dimitrios Bozaizides (GRE)
Second Asst.: Dimitrios Saraidaris (GRE)
Fourth Official: Peter Walton (ENG)
Sierra Mist Man of the Match: Eddie Johnson