CARSON, Calif. (Jan. 31, 2016) – The U.S. Men’s National Team opened up its 2016 campaign with a stirring 3-2 comeback win against Iceland at StubHub Center on Sunday afternoon. Jozy Altidore, Michael Orozco and Steve Birnbaum got into the scorers’ column for the USA with Birnbaum also grabbing an assist and captain Michael Bradley providing a pair of helpers as well.
In an open, attacking match, Iceland grabbed the lead twice, once in the first half and again in the second, but the USA responded shortly after going behind on each occasion before Birnbaum grabbed the late game-winner in the 90th minute.
U.S. goalkeeper Luis Robles was called on late in the second half, preventing Iceland from breaking a 2-2 deadlock with a point blank stop on Birkir Mar Saevarsson for his only save of the match. Four players – starters Kellyn Acosta and Ethan Finlay, and substitutes Tony Tchani and Jerome Kiesewetter – earned their first senior caps with the MNT, while Lee Nguyen earned his first start after making seven previous appearances for his country.
The MNT will conclude its 2016 January Camp this Friday, Feb. 5 with a friendly against Canada at StubHub Center. The game is scheduled to kick off at 7:45 p.m. PT and will be broadcast on FS1, UniMas and UDN.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
ISL – Kristinn Steindorsson, 13th minute: Iceland worked the ball down the USA’s left flank and sent in a cross that was only half cleared. Iceland forward Eidur Gudjohnsen was able to beat defender Matt Besler to the ball inside the USA box and find a cutting Steindorsson, whose shot deflected off Michael Orozco, wrong-footing goalkeeper Luis Robles and finding the back of the net. USA 0, ISL 1
USA – Jozy Altidore (Michael Bradley), 20th minute: Jermaine Jones initiated a sharp move through the heart of the Iceland defense, ushering midfield partner Michael Bradley forward before picking out Zardes on the right side of the visitors’ penalty area. Zardes played a one touch ball into the path of Bradley, who sent it on for Altidore to send a deft chip from eight yards out over onrushing ‘keeper Ogmundur Kristinsson and into the open goal. USA 1, ISL 1 (SEE GOAL)
ISL – Aron Sigurdarson, 48th minute: Iceland quickly restarted play from a free kick near midfield as Sigurdarson was sent down the USA’s right flank. MNT midfielder Ethan Finlay tried to track back but was unable to clear the ball with a sliding tackle. Sigurdarson advanced toward the top right corner of the USA box and bent a shot around defender Steve Birnbaum and just out of reach of diving U.S. ‘keeper Luis Robles into the far side netting. USA 1, ISL 2
USA – Michael Orozco (Steve Birnbaum), 59th minute: Iceland was unable to clear a U.S. corner kick past Jozy Altidore, who was stationed at the top of the penalty area, and he chipped the ball back into danger at the left post where defender Steve Birnbaum rose above the fray to head the ball back across the face of goal. An unmarked Michael Orozco was waiting for Birnbaum’s headed pass and easily nodded the ball over the goal line to knot the score midway through the second half. USA 2, ISL 2 (SEE GOAL)
USA – Steve Birnbaum (Michael Bradley), 90th minute: Jerome Kiesewetter drew a free kick for the USA after a nice run down the left channel. Captain Michael Bradley notched his second assist of the day as he stepped up and served in a curling cross toward the back post where Birnbaum met it with a thumping header from six yards out that left Kristinsson no chance in the Iceland goal. USA 3, ISL 2 (SEE GOAL) FINAL
Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Luis Robles, 69th minute– Late in the game, U.S. goalkeeper Luis Robles thwarted a point blank attempt from Birkir Mar Saevarsson, who found himself open at the top of the U.S. box after combining with a couple teammates through the center of the defense.
Next on the Schedule: The U.S. MNT welcomes northern neighbor Canada to StubHub Center for its second game of 2016. The game is scheduled to kick off at 7:45 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on FS1, UniMas and UDN. The match will be the USA’s final warm-up before resuming World Cup Qualifying with a home-and-away series against Guatemala in March.
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- Forward Jozy Altidore’s first half goal gave him 32 for his international career and pushed him within two strike of tying Eric Wynalda (34) for third on the MNT’s all-time goals scored list.
- Defender Steve Birnbaum notched his first international goal for the USA in just his second match for his country. He also picked up an assist as he posted his first points for the MNT.
- Defender Michael Orozco, who was a late edition to the roster for the match against Iceland, bagged his fourth international goal, the most of any defender currently with the team.
- Michael Bradley’s two assists pushed him to third on the MNT’s all-time assist list. The USA captain now has 20 in his 10 years with the MNT, passing former team captain Claudio Reyna, who had 19 in 13 years with the team.
- Bradley is currently in eighth place on the USA all-time caps list at 110, and is now tied with Carlos Bocanegra and Paul Caliguiri. Next up on the list in seventh place is Claudio Reyna with 112. Cobi Jones is the all-time leader in appearances with 164.
- FC Dallas defender Kellyn Acosta and Columbus Crew SC forward Ethan Finlay made their international debuts with the full U.S. Men’s National Team. Acosta had previously appeared for the U.S. at numerous youth levels; however, this was Finlay’s first appearance for his country at any level.
- Lee Nguyen made his first career start for the MNT. He made his MNT debut as a sub on July 12, 2007 and has seven career appearances off the bench.
- Tony Tchani made his international debut for the USA, coming on for Jermaine Jones to marshal the midfield in the 71st minute.
- Jerome Kiesewetter earned his first full international appearance, coming on for Gyasi Zardes in the 75th minute. He had previously made 16 appearances and scored six goals for the U-23 MNT in 2015.
- With today’s win Jurgen Klinsmann moves past Bob Bradley into second on the MNT’s all-time coaching wins list with 44; he is now behind only Bruce Arena (71).
- The MNT is now 10-2-2 all-time at StubHub Center, outscoring its opponents 34-11
- The USA is now 3-2-2 all-time vs. Iceland, including a 3-1-0 mark in matches played in the U.S.
- Today’s match was the seventh meeting between the USA and Iceland, but the first since 1994. After meeting once in 1955 and again in 1978, the teams met four times from 1990-1994. The last match was on April 14, 1994, with Iceland claiming a 2-1 win in San Diego, California.
- In his 80th match in charge of the MNT, Jurgen Klinsmann fielded a starting back line of Brad Evans at right back, Michael Orozco and Matt Besler in the center of defense and senior team debutant Kellyn Acosta at left back.
- The USA’s starting midfield was comprised of Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley in the middle of the park with Ethan Finlay on the right and Lee Nguyen on the left. Jozy Altidore led the forward line up top with Gyasi Zardes partnering him in attack.
- Acosta is the fourth player from the 2015 U-20 World Cup team to earn a senior cap (Emerson Hyndman, Rubio Rubin, Matt Miazga).
- The five veterans from the 2014 FIFA World Cup team on the gameday roster were: Altidore, Besler, Bradley, Mix Diskerud and Jones.
- Ten players representing nine different MLS clubs were in today’s starting XI for the USMNT.
- Of the 10 players available as substitutes, Diskerud is the most capped with 36. No other player has more than seven.
- The match attendance was 8,803.
-U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report-
Budweiser Man of the Match: Michael Bradley