U.S. Soccer

U.S. MNT Opens Send-Off Series with 2-0 Win Against Azerbaijan, Powered by Yingli Solar

Mix Diskerud and Aron Johannsson Tally Second-Half Goals and Tim Howard Ties Kasey Keller’s Record of 53 Career Victories in Front of 24,688 Spectators in San Francisco


SAN FRANCISCO (May 27, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Team opened its three-game Send-Off Series with a 2-0 victory against Azerbaijan at Candlestick Park as second-half substitutes Mix Diskerud and Aron Johannsson each scored a goal.

The match, powered by Yingli Solar, saw U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard tie Kasey Keller’s record of 53 career U.S. MNT victories. Howard also posted his 35th career shutout, making two saves for the clean sheet.

Next up for the USA is a match against Turkey on Sunday, June 1, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey (2 p.m. ET). The game will be broadcast on ESPN2, WatchESPN, Univision, Univision Deportes Network and ESPN Deportes Radio. Fans can also follow the MNT on Twitter @ussoccer.

Throughout the first half and into the second, the USA always seemed like the team that would score the first goal and the U.S. finally broke the stalemate in the 75th minute. Substitute Brad Davis delivered a free kick from the left side and Azerbaijan’s Ilkin Girtimov headed the ball up, but not out of danger.

Diskerud got a head on the falling ball it and it bounced to Michael Bradley, whose shot from 13 yards out was alertly blocked by Azerbaijan defender Elvin Yunuszade on the goal line with his left foot. The ball ricocheted to Diskerud, who had entered the match just four minutes earlier, and he finished with skill and powered it into the right side of the net. It was Diskerud’s third career tally and first of 2014. (SEE GOAL)

In the 81st minute, Johannsson doubled the USA lead off a Davis corner kick from the right side. Johannsson was completely unmarked at the edge of the six-yard box and he flicked his header into the upper right corner of the goal for the 2-0 lead. It was Johannsson’s first goal of 2014 and second of his young U.S. MNT career. (SEE GOAL)

Though the first half was scoreless, the U.S. created the majority of the scoring chances. Forward Chris Wondolowski, who got the start after Clint Dempsey was a precautionary scratch due to some soreness in his groin, put headers on frame in the fourth and 15th minutes. Both were saved spectacularly by Azerbaijan goalkeeper Kamran Aghayev, the first with his legs and the second with a tremendous tip over the crossbar.

In the second half, the USA had several chances but shot high, including a Michael Bradley took a free kick in the 49th minute that sailed just over the goal. The placement of that free kick carried some controversy as Brad Davis appeared to have been fouled just inside the penalty area, but the free kick was awarded a foot outside the box.

Budweiser Man of the Match Jozy Altidore also had a couple scoring chances, including a 63rd-minute sequence in which he received a pass on the ground from Bradley, held off his defender well on the turn and fired over the crossbar.

Defensively, Howard needed to make only two saves for the clean sheet, the biggest stop coming in the seventh minute against Vagif Javadov after the USA gave up the ball outside the box. In swirling winds, Howard confidently pushed the shot away for a corner kick.

Milestone Watch:

  • U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard tied Kasey Keller’s record of 53 victories, and Howard is now 53-28-15 since debuting for the U.S. MNT in 2002. Keller was 53-27-18 during his tenure from 1990-2007.
  • Howard is two appearances away from reaching the 100-cap milestone. He now has 98 career appearances as he looks to become the 15th U.S. MNT player to reach the century mark.
  • With Tuesday’s victory, Jurgen Klinsmann (29-11-8) is now one win away from matching Bora Milutinovic’s career wins total (30) for third on the all-time list. Ahead of them are Bruce Arena (71) and 2014 National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee Bob Bradley (43).
  • DaMarcus Beasley, who is looking to become just the third USA player to appear in four World Cups, earned his 115th career international cap and his first of 2014. He is fifth on the all-time caps list.

Next on the Schedule:
The U.S. MNT faces Turkey in the second game of the Send-Off Series at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 1, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.
Broadcast information: ESPN2, WatchESPN, Univision, Univision Deportes Network and ESPN Deportes Radio
Social: Twitter (@ussoccer); Facebook; Instagram

Additional Notes:

  • This was the USA’s first international matchup against Azerbaijan.
  • The U.S. MNT is now 2-1-1 in 2014.
  • The USA is 2-2-0 at Candlestick Park.
  • Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann went with a starting lineup that featured goalkeeper Tim Howard, left back DaMarcus Beasley, right back Fabian Johnson and a center back pairing of Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron.
  • The midfield in Klinsmann’s 4-4-2 included Alejandro Bedoya on the left, Graham Zusi on the right, Jermaine Jones as the holding midfielder and Michael Bradley at the top of the diamond.
  • Chris Wondolowski and Jozy Altidore were paired up front.
  • Howard wore the captain’s armband for the first time in 2014 and the 10th time in his career. The U.S. MNT is 5-4-1 in games when Howard is the captain.
  • Klinsmann made three halftime subs as he readies this 23-player roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He made two defensive subs, bringing in center back Omar Gonzalez for Cameron and left back Timmy Chandler for Beasley. In the midfield, Brad Davis replaced Zusi to open the second half.
  • For Chandler, it marked his first appearance with the U.S. MNT since the squad’s 2-1 loss to Honduras on Feb. 6, 2013, in World Cup qualifying.
  • With Davis entering the match on the left side of the midfield, Bedoya switched roles to the right side.
  • In the 62nd minute, forward Aron Johannsson entered the game for Wondolowski and DeAndre Yedlin replaced Johnson. Johannsson made his eighth career appearance and Yedlin his third. Both players also have former ties to U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy – Yedlin with Seattle Sounders FC and Johannsson with IMG Academy.
  • Mix Diskerud was the USA’s final sub, replacing Bedoya in the 71st minute.

- U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Azerbaijan, powered by Yingli Solar
Date: May 27, 2014
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Candlestick Park; San Francisco, Calif.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. PT
Attendance: 24,688
Weather: 66 degrees, partly cloudy

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                        0 2 2
AZE                        0 0 0

USA – Mix Diskerud                            75th minute
USA – Aron Johannsson (Brad Davis)  81

Lineups:
USA: 1-Tim Howard (capt.); 23-Fabian Johnson (2-DeAndre Yedlin, 62), 20-Geoff Cameron (3-Omar Gonzalez, 46), 5-Matt Besler, 7-DaMarcus Beasley (21-Timmy Chandler, 46); 19-Graham Zusi (14-Brad Davis, 46), 13-Jermaine Jones, 4-Michael Bradley, 11-Alejandro Bedoya (10-Mix Diskerud, 71); 17-Jozy Altidore, 18-Chris Wondolowski (9-Aron Johannsson, 62)
Subs Not Used: 6-John Brooks, 8-Clint Dempsey, 12-Brad Guzan, 15-Kyle Beckerman, 16-Julian Green, 22-Nick Rimando
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

AZE: 1-Kamran Aghayev, 3-Rasim Ramaldanov, 4-Mahir Shukurov (capt.) (25-Ilkin Girtimov, 46), 7-Vagif Javadov (13-Dmitrij Nazarov, 60), 8-Gara Garayev, 10-Rufat Dadashov (28-Pardis Fardjad-Azad, 66), 11-Rauf Aliyev, 15-Ruslan Abishov (2-Badavi Guseynov, 46), 20-Ufuk Budak, 24-Abdulla Abasiyev (18-Maksim Medvedev, 71), 29-Elvin Yunuszade
Subs Not Used: 5-Shahriyar Aliyev, 9-Jihan Ozkara, 12-Emil Balayev, 14-Rashad Sadigov, 23-Salahat Aghayev
Head Coach: Berti Vogts

Stats Summary: USA / AZE
Shots: 14 / 7
Shots on Goal: 7 / 2
Saves: 2 / 5
Corner Kicks: 11 / 6
Fouls: 9 / 16
Offside: 1 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
None

Officials:
Referee: Henry Bejarano (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Warner Castro (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Fernandez (CRC)
Fourth Official: Armando Castro (HON)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Jozy Altidore


Player Quotes: 2016 U.S. Women's Olympic Soccer Team

Midfielder and co-captain Carli Lloyd

On making the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team:
Even though this is my third Olympics, each and every time it’s very special and humbling to be part of an Olympic Team. It’s special to represent U.S. Soccer, our country and Team USA, and it’s always a dream come true. This is another challenge that awaits us. No team has won a World Cup and then won an Olympics. We want to come home with a gold medal, so being able to thrive under the challenge is great. It won’t be easy and we’re going to have to be ready for it.” 

On the mix of veterans and less experienced players:
“Every tournament that I’ve been a part of has been different. We were there without Abby in 2008; in 2012 we were coming off the 2011 World Cup which we did not win, and now we are here in 2016 and we have a lot of young players. They have sparked the energy and have brought talent, but this is also mixed with us veteran players. We know what to expect and what is needed to win the gold medal. We know it’s different. We can help the younger players deal with that. We may also come out and lose our first game, and we have to realize that it is okay and we can keep moving forward and still win. Nothing worthwhile in life is gone through without challenges. This team will be able to handle it and lean on each other.” 

Defender and co-captain Becky Sauerbrunn

On making the U.S. Olympic Team:
“Any time you get to represent the United States is a tremendous honor. I'm thrilled to be going to my second Olympic Games. It is a truly unique experience being a part of Team USA with all these athletes competing in all these different disciplines. There's a real sense of camaraderie and being a part of something bigger than just your team. In that sense it's quite different from the World Cup where the spotlight and pressure rest solely on our team.”

On the mix of veterans and less experienced players:
“We have a lot of new faces on the roster compared to just a year ago. It's been a quick turnaround, but the young players have done such an amazing and professional job working in to our system while adding their own flair to our team DNA. We're attempting to evolve our style of play, and the new players have been instrumental in helping us get to a new level. It's a wonderful mix of experience and youth, and the team has a great energy at camps.”

Goalkeeper Hope Solo

On making the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team:
“Jill called and told me that I made the team and said ‘I know this is a formality,’ but every official Olympic roster means a great deal to me. It’s a hard roster to make, with less players, and it's a tough tournament, a lot of games in a short amount of time. You never know if you are going to be able to stay healthy all the way leading into when the roster is named. There are a lot factors that go into making it, and it means a great deal for every player. I’m excited to navigate our way through and see all that Brazil has to offer."

On how this is different from last year and the Women’s World Cup:
“It's a smaller roster than last year’s World Cup team and it's a much different mix of players. The task ahead of us is going to be challenging. By no means is this tournament going to be easy, not with all of the challenges we will face from our great opponents and also from the country itself. I believe in our young players’ skill. We all believe in their ability, but the fun part for me is that they will also have the opportunity to show the world more than skill alone. They will have to show the mental strength that it takes to rise to the occasion of an Olympic tournament."

Forward Mallory Pugh

On making her first Olympic Team:
“I’m super excited and nervous at the same time. When [Jill Ellis] called, a bunch of emotions were going through my mind. I was a bit in shock because I know I’ve worked hard and it’s because of my teammates on the National Team, on the U-20s and back at home that have pushed me. I appreciate that from them. I wouldn’t be in the position I am in today without them. I thought, ‘did that really just happen? Am I going to go to the Olympics?’ I will not only be with amazing athletes on my team, but also on Team USA. It will be so cool to see so many different athletes, find out their journeys and be inspired by them.”

Midfielder Allie Long

On making her first U.S. Olympic Team:
“As soon as Jill said congrats, I was so grateful and thankful. I tried not to cry, but when we hung up the phone I did; only happy tears. It was such a cool moment. People had told me this was impossible. The team had just won the World Cup, it was hard that they would change the team and I came in so late, but it happened. I think it’s one of the most humbling and special experiences. This is my first big tournament, but I know what it means to represent your country. I watched the last Olympic Games and I know how cool it is and what it takes to win. You represent everyone in the U.S. and everyone is watching. It’s so special. I’m focusing on being my best, both physically and mentally. I think when I’m there it will hit me, but this is unbelievable and I’m so happy.”

Midfielder Megan Rapinoe

On coming back from ACL surgery last December and making the Olympic roster:
“This is really special to me. There was a big part of me that didn’t know if this was possible, so that was a very realistic outcome to this. It’s very surreal, mostly because I have a lot of work to do now, and where I am at now is not where I am going to be in a few weeks. Going to the Olympics and representing your country is incredible, but this one is that much better. After everything I went through and the uncertainty, this one is very special.”

Defender Whitney Engen

On making her first U.S. Olympic team:
“It has been kind of a crazy year for me, so to have been picked is a huge honor. Winning the World Cup last year was amazing, but then the process started again and I’m happy that the hard work has paid off.”

On the mix of veterans and less experienced players:
“There is a good mix of youth and older players, but every person has been in a big stage in the same capacity. It’s not the same level as a World Cup or the Olympics, but every person knows how to win and likes to win. We have a lot of first-timers, but we’ve all won before. That gives us the confidence going into Brazil.”

Midfielder Lindsey Horan

On making her first U.S. Olympic Team:
“It’s such an unreal feeling. It hasn’t settled in. I’m grateful and thankful to get this opportunity to represent my country at the Olympics. It’s a special feeling knowing you represent your country and have all of these amazing athletes around you, and we are all at the end of the day in one big team.”

Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher

On making her first Olympic Team:
“It’s very exciting. I was sitting in my apartment ready to go explore Chicago with my parents, so receiving that phone call from Jill sure made the day a bit better. This is a huge honor. You dream of going to the Olympics and competing there. The Women’s World Cup is the biggest stage for soccer, but the Olympics there is just something special about joining Team USA and the history behind the Olympic Games. It’s incredible, and being part of it is very special.” 

Midfielder Morgan Brian

On making her first Olympic Team:
“Making the Olympic team is a life-long dream. It's always an amazing feeling fulfilling a dream and one we have all worked incredibly hard for. We want to bring back the gold medal and do something no other team has done before, all while representing the Red, White and Blue.”

Defender Kelley O’Hara

On making the U.S. Olympic Team:
I don’t think it will ever get old or less stressful when it comes to making a roster because this team is so deep and so many people can make it. Can it be a dream come true if it’s your second Olympics? I say yes because it’s special to go to another one. Not a lot of people are two-time Olympians. I’m honored to be on this team and represent the USA.”

On how the Olympics differs from a World Cup:
“The World Cup is solely football, but at the Olympics you are part of Team USA, this bigger picture and these amazing athletes that are coming together and pulling for each other. You’re not only part of just U.S. Soccer, but also of Team USA and that’s very cool.”

Defender Julie Johnston:

On Making the U.S. Olympic Team:
“I feel anytime you can represent the country it’s an amazing honor. Coming off the World Cup win, it was such a great journey. Right after that win I just wanted more, and to have another opportunity to play with this team in a big tournament. Rio was the next stop and this whole process always makes me fall in love with the sport over and over again.”

Defender Meghan Klingenberg:

On making the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team after being an alternate in 2012:
“When Jill called me that’s what she said, ‘this call is a bit different than 4 years ago,’ and it was one of the best things. I was happy and proud in 2012 as alternate but I wanted to be on the team and win a medal with my teammates and win a medal for the USA. So to be able to go to Brazil is special and now that I’m going I’m humbled and honored to represent it with this group of people. We have a great team with incredible people.”

Defender Ali Krieger:

On making the U.S. Olympic Team after having an ACL injury keep her out four years ago:
“I’m so excited to make the team. After three tries, it’s finally happened. I was an alternate in 2008, and then not being able to go in 2012, but now it’s my first time going to the Olympics so I’ve waited for this my entire life and I’ve trained for it my entire life. We are playing for a bigger Team USA. It’s inspiring to see so many athletes be a part of this. There’s extra motivation and extra support. It’s bigger than just ourselves. This focuses on everything. It’s so cool. Not many people get to go to the Olympics and being part of this group that does go is unbelievable. I’m so happy and excited. You play to be able to compete at the highest level and you dream of this when you’re young. Making it a reality is amazing”

Forward Alex Morgan:

On Making the U.S. Olympic Team:
“Just to be able to continue on this journey with this team is incredible. Even though the players have changed over the last year especially, the heart of this team always stays the same. For big tournaments this team always performs well and shows up for big moments so I’m excited to continue this and help the younger players as we move close to Rio.”
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WNT Jul 12, 2016
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