- Attendance of 29,059 is Largest Crowd for Soccer Match in State of Tennessee
- U.S. Next Faces 2010 FIFA World Cup Champion Spain on June 4 in Foxborough, Mass.
NASHVILLE (March 29, 2011) – The U.S. Men’s National Team fell to Paraguay 1-0 on Tuesday night in front of a record crowd of 29,059 at LP Field in Nashville.
The U.S. gave up the game-winning goal in the 18h minute, but outplayed Paraguay for a majority of the match, especially in the second half where the U.S. had seven shots while only allowing one. Twice it appeared the U.S. would earn their second straight come-from-behind draw with late chances, but Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar made two spectacular saves to keep the U.S. off the score sheet. With the loss, the U.S. record against Paraguay now stands at 2-2-2.
"Overall, I think the team had some good periods in terms of moving the ball and having ideas but we gave up a bad goal on a set piece, both in terms of responsibility and dealing with the play,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. “Paraguay is a strong team defensively and they close down fast but we hurt ourselves because when we got into good positions we didn't come away with many good chances. Part of it is a credit to Paraguay's defending, but those would be the areas that let us down and we ended up with a tough 1-0 loss.”
The U.S. will not get back together until late May when they will begin preparations for the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup from June 5-25 across 11 cities. Before kicking off the Gold Cup, the U.S. will host 2010 FIFA World Cup Champion Spain on June 4 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Kickoff against the No.-1 ranked team in the world and defending European Champion is set for 4:30 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN and Univision. Fans can also follow live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer.
Three days later, the U.S. will seek its fifth confederation championship title when they open Group C of the Gold Cup against Canada at 8 p.m. ET at Ford Field in Detroit. The team then travels south to face Panama on June 11 at 8 p.m. ET at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., before rounding out group play against Guadeloupe on June 14 at the brand new LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, with kickoff slated for 8 p.m. CT.
A record crowd in the State of Tennessee witnessed the USA take the field in their new Nike red jerseys with the motto “Indivisible” worn on the sleeve, which the team wore for the second game in a row. The boisterous fans braved rain throughout the match to create another outstanding atmosphere at LP Field. The largest crowd for a soccer game in the Volunteer State comes off the back of Saturday’s record-breaking crowd in the USA’s 1-1 draw with Argentina, when 78,936 fans came to New Meadowlands Stadium.
Bradley made four changes from the lineup that tied Argentina. Timmy Chandler, who turned 21 years old today, made his first start for the national team and again showed a strong ability to get up and down on the right flank while also providing dangerous crosses into the penalty area. It was also the first start in four career appearances for young forward Juan Agudelo, who played 90 minutes on the forward line for the USA.
Paraguay created the first opportunity in the fourth minute when a quick counter put Marcelo Estigarribia free down the left flank. The midfielder was able to send a cross into the penalty area where the South Americans had numbers, but Hernan Perez’ ladder-climbing header over the back of Jonathan Bornstein went wide right.
In the 18th minute the visitors took the lead after Oscar Cardozo latched on to a loose ball in the area. Hernan Perez whipped an inswinging corner into the box and when the ball popped loose from a deflection, Cardozo reacted quickest to smash the ball past a helpless Hahnemann from close range.
The USA immediately went in search of the equalizer and put together a nice move just two minutes later. Landon Donovan, wearing the captain’s armband for the USA, pushed the ball wide to an eagerly arriving Chandler. The right back’s cross found Clint Dempsey near the penalty spot, but the Texan’s header floated over the goal.
Six minutes later, Dempsey, who was named the Budweiser Man of the Match, took another attempt on goal, this time from long range as he tried to surprise Villar. The Fulham standout hit a looping volley from 35 yards out that gave Villar pause but the ‘keeper was able to come up with the save.
The USA was forced into an early change just before the break when defender Jay DeMerit was taken out in the 41st minute with a strained right groin. The gritty defender’s last action of the game was to head a Donovan free kick just over the goal from eight yards out before being replaced by Carlos Bocanegra.
At the other end Hahnemann did well near the end of the first half to keep the U.S. only a goal down, making back-to-back saves from long-distance. After a turnover in the USA’s half, Perez unleashed a low drive from 25 yards that skipped off the wet turf, forcing Hahnemann to keep the ball out with his chest. The rebound fell to Enrique Vera who tried his own luck from an even greater distance. Hahnemann, making his first start for the USA since Oct. 17, 2007, dove well and saved to his right.
It proved to be Hahnemann’s last action in the net and after halftime Bradley made two more changes. Replacing Hahnemann in the net was David Yelldell. The German-American became the 60th player to be given his debut by Bradley. Jermaine Jones also entered the action with Maurice Edu making way.
The USA was the brighter of the two sides in the second half, and two minutes after the break had a shout for a penalty turned down by referee Jose Benigno. Jones fed Agudelo with the 18-year old forward skipping into the box. There looked to be contact on the U.S. player who went down near the top of the area, but the Honduran official was unmoved.
Moments later Villar had to be at his most alert, reacting to deflected ball after a give-and-go between Jozy Altidore and Agudelo. The ball was broken up by a defender and looked to be looping into the goal before Villar scampered back to pull the ball back off the line.
The U.S. was earning most of the possession but struggling to test Villar in the net. Chandler, who moved forward to the right wing after Eric Lichaj’s introduction, found Dempsey in the area after a nice move. The U.S. number eight was in a great position but couldn’t redirect his shot on target from 10 yards out.
Likewise Donovan was unable to put his shot on frame in the 75th minute. A long throw from Lichaj skipped through the defenders to Donovan at the far post, but his left-footed volley from close range flew clanged off the outside of the post and into the side netting.
With the U.S. dominating most of the possession, their opponents demonstrated their danger on the attack as well. In the 78th minute Marcelo Estigarribia smashed a left-footed drive past Yelldell and off the post from 30 yards out.
The USA was searching frantically for the tying goal and it almost came if not for a world-class piece of goalkeeping from Villar. Michael Bradley created the best chance of the night when he found a bit of space in the 86th minute. His thumping drive went flying towards the goal from 25 yards out, but Villar sprung across the goal to make an excellent one-handed save on the ball that looked destined for the top corner.
Pushing forward for one final chance, the U.S. earned another corner kick that fell to Jones at the edge of the area. The center midfielder fired a shot through traffic but Villar reacted superbly to push the ball away, with the final whistle coming shortly thereafter.
-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --
Match: USA vs. Paraguay
Date: March 29, 2011
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: LP Field – Nashville, Tenn.
Kickoff: 7p.m. CT
Weather: Cool and rainy, 55 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
PAR 1 0 1
PAR – Oscar Cardozo (21-Victor Hugo Mareco) 18th minute
USA: 23-Marcus Hahnemann (18-David Yelldell, 46); 21-Timmy Chandler (2-Jonathan Spector, 80),15-Jay DeMerit (3-Carlos Bocanegra, 41), 6-Tim Ream, 12-Jonathan Bornstein (16-Sacha Kljestan, 77); 8-Clint Dempsey, 7-Maurice Edu (13-Jermaine Jones, 46), 4-Michael Bradley, 10-Landon Donovan (capt.); 17-Jozy Altidore (19-Eric Lichaj, 60), 9-Juan Agudelo
Subs not used: 20-Mixx Diskerud
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
PAR: 1-Justo Villar; 3-Marcos Caceres, 21-Victor Hugo Mareco, 14-Paulo Da Silva, 4-Miguel Samudio; 13- Enrique Vera (2-Dario Veron, 79), 6-Osmar Molinas (15-Marcos Riveros, 63), 16- Cristian Riveros; 9-Hernan Perez (11-Osvaldo Martínez, 68), 7-Oscar Cardozo (19-Lucas Barrios, 79), 18-Marcelo Estigarribia (17-Aureliano Torres, 90+1)
Subs not used: 5-Antolín Alcaraz 8-Edgar Barreto, 10-Edgar Benítez, 12- Diego Barreto, 20- Néstor Ortigoza
Head Coach: Gerardo Martino
Stats Summary: USA / PAR
Shots: 13 / 5
Shots on Goal: 3 / 3
Saves: 2 / 3
Corner Kicks: 3 / 2
Fouls: 8 / 18
Offside: 1 / 1
PAR – Enrique Vera (caution) 29th minute
Referee: Jose Benigno (HON)
Assistant Referee 1: Oscar Velasquez (HON)
Assistant Referee 2: Hector Vergara (CAN)
Fourth Official: Edvin Jurisevic (USA)
Budweiser Man of the Match: Clint Dempsey