BASEL, Switzerland (October 17, 2007) — The U.S. Men’s National Team defeated Switzerland 1-0 behind a late goal from midfielder Michael Bradley on a rainy evening in front of 16,500 fans at St. Jakob Park in Basel, Switzerland. The victory was the first for the U.S. in Europe in six games, improving the team’s record to 3-5-2 in their last 10 matches on European soil. The victory also ended the team’s five-game losing streak.
“It was a typical game in Europe,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley, who improved his overall record with the team to 11-5-1. “Both teams made it hard for the other team. For us, it is important to understand the mentality of being in these games and still finding ways to win. It is still an important step for us. It's a game where credit goes to the team for sticking together, being organized and not giving too much away. And finding a way to win at the end.” [More Quotes]
The winning goal for the USA came in the 86th minute with Bradley getting the last touch in front of the net after a nice sequence of passes that started with first-time cap winners Maurice Edu and Danny Szetela. Edu pounced on a loose ball at the top of the penalty area, playing a perfect pass with one touch to the right flank for Szetela, who had come on to the field just two minutes before. Szetela whipped a perfect cross into the area that Dempsey controlled off of his knee onto the path of Bradley, who out muscled Swiss defender Stephane Grichting to poke the winner home.
Switzerland’s starting line-up featured eight players from the team’s strong 2006 FIFA World Cup team and nine who were on the field just four days earlier in an impressive 3-1 win over Austria.
The match was mostly an even affair, played in a steady rain that created some treacherous footing for both teams. It was the U.S. that finally broke through in the last five minutes, though. Moments after Bradley’s goal, Dempsey was at it again, this time turning on a ball and sending Freddy Adu into the area on a breakaway that he did well to touch with the outside of his left foot to try and lift over the goalkeeper and into the corner of the goal, but it sailed just over the bar.
The USA’s best chances in the first half came on back-to-back efforts in the 42nd minute. On the first attempt, midfielder Benny Feilhaber carried the ball into the attack, spotting Taylor Twellman for a short direct pass into the penalty area that the New England Revolution forward quickly played to a wide open Eddie Lewis pushing into the left side of the penalty area. Lewis took one touch before blasting a shot to the near post that was well saved for a corner by Pascal Zuberbuhler.
The ensuing U.S. corner was cleared to the top of the area by the Swiss defense, with Bradley jumping on the ball and hitting a hard shot on target that rebounded to the top of the area to Edu. The Toronto FC midfielder stabbed the ball perfectly through the Swiss defense to an unmarked Carlos Bocanegra, whose shot from five yards out was struck with authority, but directly to Zuberbuhler, who snared it without hesitation.
In addition to first-ever appearances for Edu and Szetela, the match also marked the first ever appearance for Real Salt Lake forward Robbie Findley, and just second appearance for Adu. The game was also the third for goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who played the final 45 minutes and earned credit for the win in relief of Marcus Hahnemann.
Just three minutes before Bradley’s strike, Guzan was called upon to make an important save on a free kick by Hakan Yakin from exactly 18 yards out. The attempt was set-up when Guzan handled a tricky ball just outside the penalty area.
The U.S. will make their first-ever trip to South Africa when they take on the 2010 FIFA World Cup hosts on Saturday, Nov. 17, in Johannesburg as part of the Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup. Kickoff at Ellis Park Stadium, which will host one World Cup semifinal match in 2010, is set for 4 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET) live on Fox Soccer Channel. Fans can follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
The Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup, an annual one-off event typically hosted in South Africa, began in 1994 and has seen South Africa face opponents like Brazil, Argentina, Holland, Nigeria and a host of others.
-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --
Match-up: USA vs. Switzerland
Date: October 17, 2007
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: St. Jakob Park – Basel, Switzerland
Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. ET
Weather: 64 degrees; rain
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
SUI 0 0 0
USA – Michael Bradley (Clint Dempsey) 86th minute
USA: 24-Marcus Hahnemann (18-Brad Guzan, 46); 6-Steve Cherundolo, 22-Oguchi Onyewu (2-Dan Califf, 46), 3-Carlos Bocanegra (Capt.), 7-Eddie Lewis (9-Danny Szetela, 84); 5-Benny Feilhaber, 13-Maurice Edu, 4-Michael Bradley,17-DaMarcus Beasley (11-Heath Pearce, 31); 20-Taylor Twellman (25-Freddy Adu, 77), 8-Clint Dempsey (29-Robbie Findley, 90)
Subs not used: 23-Jay DeMerit
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
SUI: 1-Pascal Zuberbühler; 2-Johan Djourou (25-Steve Von Bergen, 17), 3-Ludovic Magnin (Capt.), 5-Xavier Margairaz (22-Hakan Yakin, 46); 11-Marco Streller (31-Blaise Nkufo, 46), 13-Stephane Grichting, 14-David Degen, 16-Tranquillo Barnetta (17-Christoph Spycher, 75), 27-Gokhan Inler, 29-Stephan Lichtsteiner, 35-Fabio Celestini (33-Gelson Fernandes, 46)
Subs not used: 12-Diego Benaglio, 37-Germano Vailati
Head Coach: Jakob Kuhn
Stats Summary: USA SUI
Shots 9 8
Shots on goal 5 3
Saves 4 3
Corner Kicks 3 4
Fouls 25 16
Offside 3 0
SUI – Marco Streller (caution) 45th minute
USA – Oguchi Onyewu (caution) 45.
USA – Maurice Edu (caution) 53.
Referee: Frank de Bleeckere (BEL)
1st Asst.: Peter Hermans (BEL)
2nd Asst.: Danny Huens (BEL)
Fourth Official: Nicole Petignat (SUI)
Sierra Mist Man of the Match: Carlos Bocanegra