After twice relinquishing leads, U.S. settles for 2-2 draw with Poland.
By Robert Wagman
(Monday, October 11, 2010) -- Twice, the United States men allowed a young Poland team to erase a deficit and the Americans had to settle for a 2-2 draw in a friendly before a generally pro-Polish crowd of 31,696 at Chicago's Soldier Field Saturday.
The U.S. took a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute on a goal from striker Jozy Altidore off a wonderful pass from newcomer Jermaine Jones. But Poland answered in the 29th minute with a goal from Adam Matuszczyk after several defensive miscues.
Defender Oguchi Onyewu put the Americans ahead again 2-1 in the 52nd minute, but Poland again equalized on a tally by Jakub Blaszczykowski in the72nd minutes for a 2-2 tie.
The U.S. had several late chances, but could not convert.
The match was scrappy from the beginning. Both sides played aggressively, if not expertly, and the pace was quick for the entire match. The Americans controlled early, but then Poland took command of the midfield and controlled play for long periods.
U.S. coach Bob Bradley played an unusual formation, essentially a 4-2-3-1 with normal defensive midfielder Maurice Edu starting in central defense alongside Oguchi Onyewu. In Edu's place in midfield, Bradley started Jones, earning his first cap after delaying his first start for more than a year recovering from a broken shin beside his son, Michael Bradley. In front of them were a threesome of Stuart Holden, Clint Dempsey and Benny Feilhaber, while striker Altidore was alone up top.
If the U.S. continues to need proof it is just not the same team offensively without Landon Donovan, not called into the match because of his commitment to Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy. Even though Bob Bradley tried using three attacking midfielders, none could provide Donovan's level of expertise.
U.S. Player Ratings:
Goalkeeper Tim Howard - 5.5 Made one very good save on a first-half breakaway, but otherwise had an unremarkable outing. Probably could not be faulted on either Polish goal.
Defender Steve Cherundolo - 5.5: A solid defensive effort, but was not able to provide much help to the attack.
Defender Oguchi Onyewu - 5.5: Looked like a player who is not getting regular first-team minutes with his club. Early mistake led to Poland goal, but he recouped somewhat with sharply-hit, headed goal of his own.
Defender Maurice Edu - 5.5: Showed he is not a central defender and looked tentative and out-of-position too often..
Defender Carlos Bocanegra - 6: Did not have a lot to do, but provided cover when teammates in the middle were pulled out of position
Midfielder Stuart Holden - 6: Had a solid game. He pushed forward well and was the biggest offensive threat out of midfield. He is clearly showing improvement as he has become a regular starter in England.
Midfielder Jermaine Jones - 5.5: Playing for the first time with those around him, he was somewhat error-prone. But he showed aggressiveness and ability, and clearly has a spot in the starting lineup.
Midfielder Clint Dempsey - 5.5: Did not do much. At times, he looked not to be overly involved in the proceedings.
Midfielder Benny Feilhaber - 4.5: Did not provide much offense and was the only starter to be replaced.
Forward Jozy Altidore - 5: On the plus side, he scored early with a good finish. On the minus side, he blew a number of other good chances and, at times, looked somewhat disinterested in the proceedings.
Midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, (63rd minute for Feihaber) - 5.5: Did better than Feilhaber, but that was not saying much.
SoccerTimes U.S. Player of the Match: Stuart Holden.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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