Bradley's first goal comes late, defeats Switzerland 1-0.
BASEL, Switzerland (Wednesday, October 17, 2007) -- Midfielder Michael Bradley's first international goal came late, giving the United States men a 1-0 victory over Switzerland before 16,500 who braved a steady rain at St. Jakob Park tonight.
With both sides experiencing repeated footing problems on the wet turf, the U.S. snapped a five-match losing streak, its first since 1994. Winning for the first time against Switzerland, the Americans are now 1-3-3 in the series.
"It was a typical game in Europe," said Bob Bradley, who became U.S. coach in December and has led his team to 11-5-1 record this year. "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."
A pair of players making their first international appearances started the winning sequence with midfielder Maurice Edu collecting a rebound of an entry pass in the middle 35 yards out and quickly sending it to reserve midfielder Danny Szetala on the right sideline. Szetala crossed to the penalty spot where striker Clint Dempsey, streaking forward, had the ball hit his left knee.
The ball fortuitously lopped to the top right of the six-yard-box where Bradley raised his right foot and, with defender Stephane Grichting on his back, hit a soft shot on two hops into the left corner of the net for the 1-0 margin.
"It got pushed out wide to the right," Michael Bradley said. "I moved into the box and the cross went a little bit behind me and Clint popped it up a little bit," Bradley said. "Clint, the goalkeeper and I were all going for the same ball and I just managed to get my foot on it and put it in the back of the goal. Not the prettiest, but we’ll definitely take it."
Switzerland's starting lineup featured eight players from last year's World Cup team and nine who were on the field four days earlier in an impressive 3-1 win over Austria.
Neither team displayed any sustained advantage until Bradley, son of U.S. coach Bob Bradley, broke trough. Moments after that, Dempsey set up reserve midfielder Freddy Adu, who had slipped behind the Swiss defense, but the 18-year-old's shot from the middle of the penalty area sailed over the crossbar.
The U.S.'s best chances in the first half came is short order in the 42nd minute. First, midfielder Benny Feilhaber carried into the attack and fed forward Taylor Twellman in the box. Twellman quickly touched the ball to midfielder Eddie Lewis, who was pushing into the left side of the box. Lewis took one touch before blasting a shot that goalkeeper Pascal Zuberbuhler directed over the end-line.
The ensuing U.S. corner kick was cleared to the top of the box where Bradley was first to it and hit a drive that rebounded to Edu at the top of the box. Edu slipped a pass to unmarked defender Carlos Bocanegra, who drilled his five yard shot right at Zuberbuhler for the catch.
Forward Robbie Findley was sent on late to join Edu and Szetala in earning their first caps, while Adu, a veteran of five youth world championship tournaments, played his second game for the senior team. Goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who played the second half, made his third appearance.
"These are both young players. . . first time in a national team camp with this coaching staff," Bob Bradley said of Szetala and Adu. "I think its important to bring young players along at the right speed. Having a camp where they could get a feel for the way things have been done for these last nine months and to understand what is expected of them on the field and off the field I think it’s a good step now that they get on the field and are both part of a winning effort."
Three minutes before Bradley's strike, Guzan made a big save, taking a step to his right to snare Hakan Yakin's free kick from 18 yards out. Guzan redeemed himself for setting up the dangerous play after he misjudged an entry ball and handled it just out of the top of his box.
The Americans complete their 2007 schedule on the road against South Africa November 17 at the Nelson Mandela Challenge in Johannesburg.
"I think there are a lot of positive signs," Michael Bradley said. "We know that we’re not there yet, we have to keep working. We have one more game against South Africa, so we’ll go there and look to take another step forward and get ready for (World Cup) qualifying next year."
United States 1, Switzerland 0
Lineups: Switzerland - Pascal Zuberbühler; Johan Djourou (Steve Von Bergen 17), Ludovic Magnin (captain), Xavier Margairaz (Hakan Yakin 46), Marco Streller (Blaise Nkufo 46), Stephane Grichting, David Degen, Tranquillo Barnetta (Christoph Spycher 75), Gokhan Inler, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Fabio Celestini (Gelson Fernandes); United States - Marcus Hahnemann (Brad Guzan 46), Steve Cherundolo, Oguchi Onyewu (Dan Califf 46), Carlos Bocanegra (captain), Eddie Lewis (Danny Szetela 84), Benny Feilhaber, Maurice Edu, Michael Bradley, DaMarcus Beasley (Heath Pearce 31), Taylor Twellman (Freddy Adu 77), Clint Dempsey (Robbie Findley 90).
United States - Bradley (Dempsey) 86.
Shots: Switzerland 8, United States 9.
Shots on goal: Switzerland 3, United States 5.
Saves: Switzerland 4, United States 3.
Corner kicks: Switzerland 4, United States 3.
Fouls: Switzerland 16, United States 25.
Offside: Switzerland 0, United States 3.
Yellow card cautions: Switzerland - Streller 45; United States - Onyewu 45, Edu 53.
Referee: Frank de Bleeckere (Belgium).
Assistant referees: Peter Hermans (Belgium), Danny Huens (Belgium).
Fourth official: Nicole Petignat (Switzerland).
Attendance: 16,500 at St. Jakob Park in Basel, Switzerland.
Weather: 64 degrees, rain.
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