Posted November 19, 2013

As It Happened: Austria 1, USA 0 (and European WCQ finales)

International Soccer, Jurgen Klinsmann, U.S. men's national team, U.S. Soccer
Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley defend Austria and Bayern Munich's David Alaba. (Helmut Fohringer/EPA)

Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley defend Austria and Bayern Munich’s David Alaba. (Helmut Fohringer/EPA)

LIVE SCORES:  Austria 1, USA 0 FT
Romania 1, Greece 1 (2-4 aggregate) FT
Croatia 2, Iceland 0 (2-0 aggregate) FT
Sweden 2, Portugal 3 (2-4 aggregate) FT
France 3, Ukraine 0 (3-2 aggregate) FT

The U.S. men’s national team will look back on 2013 with great pride. The Americans finished first in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying Hexagonal. They won the CONCACAF Gold Cup. They beat the likes of Germany and Bosnia-Herzegovina, notched a qualifying point at Estadio Azteca and have amassed a 16-3-3 record.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s charges will close out the 2013 slate in Austria Tuesday (2:45 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, UniMas), looking to roll into the upcoming January camp with another result on European soil in its back pocket.

Follow along all the action from Vienna with us (and don’t fear, we’ll be providing updates on the European World Cup qualifying second legs as well):

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AND there’s the final whistle. Austria 1, USA 0. The Americans end the trip to Europe 0-1-1 and finish off the year with a loss in Austria. Doesn’t take away from the year that was, and there will be plenty of roster scrutinizing and decisions to be made in the coming months as the USA builds toward Brazil.

Next landmark moment: The FIFA World Cup Draw on Dec. 7. Hold your breath. Just about every group will have a “death” component to it.

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Altidore takes the kick, but he can’t replicate his Bosnia-Herzegovina heroics. Sends it wide of the near post. Into 3 minutes of stoppage time.

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90th minute – Last-gasp chance for the USA after Altidore draws a foul in a dangerous area. Wondolowski on for Beasley as well.

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88th minute – USA building through some nifty footwork by Kljestan as he seeks Boyd in the box, but Austria is packed in and has it covered.

Sakho gets his second for France, meanwhile, and Les Bleus have completely turned it around. Up 3-2.

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81st minute – Eric Lichaj on for Geoff Cameron, who had himself a positive experience at right back. Him and Altidore are the two individual winners from this game.

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RONALDO HAT TRICK!! AND that’s over. Portugal is going to get it done. Wow.

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RONALDO!!!! THERE’S THE ANSWER!! What a duel.

Meanwhile, in a game of lesser importance and quality, Sacha Kljestan replaces Alejandro Bedoya.

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74th minute – SAVE ALMER! Altidore hits it right to him after Omar Gonzalez lays it off nicely in the box.

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IBRAHIMOVIC!!! 2-2!! WHAT a powerful free kick from the Sweden star! Ronaldo v Ibra is ON. Portugal still up on away goals, but now 0 margin for error. What will Ronaldo do to respond? 18+ minutes to go.

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And BOYD NEARLY SCORES IT! Rifles a shot from the top of the box just over the bar.

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71st minute – Just saying, we’ve seen it before where the USA is down in Europe and puts it together late to rescue at least a draw. Plenty of time for an equalizer.

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GOAL IBRAHIMOVIC! Sweden’s superstar steps up to the challenge and pulls Sweden within 2-1 on aggregate on a header off a corner kick. Even so, Portugal has the away goal edge. Sweden needs TWO.

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67th minute – And here comes Terrence Boyd for Jermaine Jones, entering in the city where he plays his club soccer for Rapid Vienna. Comes on to some cheers from the Austrian crowd.

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66th minute – Another poor giveaway in the U.S. midfield by Jones nearly leads to a clear chance for Harnik, but Cameron swoops over to clear out the danger. Of the four USA defenders, he’s had the strongest night.

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63rd minute – Cameron tries to pick out Altidore in the area with a chip from the right, but Almer collects it. Nothing too threatening from the USA this half as the Americans look for an equalizer.

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The Iceland dream is officially over. CROATIA punches its ticket with a 2-0 win in Zagreb.

And Ukraine’s climb just got a whole lot tougher…down to 10 men for 43+ minutes.

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57th minute – How does Eddie Johnson react to today’s news coming out of Seattle? With Osvaldo Alonso getting a DP contract, Johnson — who SI’s Grant Wahl reported is being shopped by the Sounders — is certainly not going to get the major raise he was hoping for, at least at CenturyLink Field. Best way to prove himself to Seattle and any potential suitor is with his play.

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55th minute – Beasley commits a foul on Harnik in the attacking third. He is absolutely getting roasted at left back tonight. Not a strong showing.

Meanwhile Brek Shea and Aron Johannsson come out, Mix Diskerud and Eddie Johnson come in. Not good enough from Shea, OK from Johannsson.

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Here’s video of Austria’s goal:

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GOAL CRISTIANO RONALDO!!! PORTUGAL IS ON ITS WAY!! Tremendous through ball by Moutinho and trademark powerful finish for the Real Madrid star. No doubt as to which superstar is winning the battle between Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic. Sweden needs 3.

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49th minute – HARNIK JUST WIDE!! The winger went for goal instead of looking for an open teammate in the area, and he nearly bent his chance inside the far post, but missed. More out of sorts looks for the back four.

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48th minute – Shea seeks a streaking Bradley over the top. Can’t find him, but that’s already a couple of active instances from the former FC Dallas star in the early going this half. Pinching a bit more centrally as well.

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Second half underway, with no changes being made to Jurgen Klinsmann’s lineup. We’ll see how effective that halftime speech was.

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First-half thoughts: Johannsson worked pretty well in that position behind Altidore, the place where Clint Dempsey would normally be playing, and Altidore had an active first shift. Bedoya and Shea were practically non-existent, though, and it gets worse going further back in the formation. Jones has turned the ball over repeatedly, even Bradley had a nearly costly giveaway, and defensively the back line is out of sorts. Still, the USA should have had one, either on the ball that was over the line or the defender’s unseen punch that sent the ball on its way. To only be down 1-0 isn’t the worst thing in the world as Klinsmann looks to make adjustments.

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Benzema levels it all up for France!! Moments after having a goal disallowed for offside, he makes it 2-2 on aggregate. France may be avoiding catastrophe after all.

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USA CLOSE AGAIN! Off a corner, Altidore throws a leg up and connects off a bounce off the outside of his right foot, but it goes just wide of the left upper corner. And that’s how the first half ends. Austria 1, USA 0 in the rain in Vienna.

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43rd minute – Bradley has a chance stuffed in the area!! Altidore elected to cut back a pass to Bradley instead of having a go at go from a right-sided angle, but he can’t level the score. CLOSE as the half ends. Not to say a tie score would reflect the balance of play.

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Remember when France was left for dead? Mamadou Sakho scores. 2-1 on aggregate now in favor of Ukraine. Playoff series on!

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Man, breakdowns all over the place, with Michael Bradley giving the ball away uncharacteristically in a place that would make Rico Clark and Claudio Reyna cringe. That comes after the back line is just completely stretched and lost on a cross from the right to allow Janko to have all the space in the world for one-time home the opener. Discouraging start. And that was all after a foul throw in for the second straight game. So avoidable.

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And Croatia goes up 2-0 on Iceland. The dream is slipping away.

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33rd minute – GOAL AUSTRIA!! Janko! Can’t say it wasn’t coming.

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31st minute – Shea certainly seems like his best use for the USA is as a sub off the bench. Far too often when he’s been starting he goes invisible for lengthy stretches. Much better as a game-breaker going up against weary legs.

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Meanwhile, Romania has pulled one back on Greece but still has work to do, trailing 4-2 on aggregate.

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Your 2010 World Cup USA experience update:

Slovenia beat Canada 1-0 in a friendly, extending Canada’s goalless drought to 10(!) games.

England just kicked off a friendly against Germany

Algeria has qualified for the World Cup at the expense of Burkina Faso (which just hit the post in stoppage time)

And USA nemesis Ghana is through to the World Cup as well after eliminating Egypt.

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25th minute – Omar Gonzalez comes up with a big intervention to get in the lane and prevent a clear cross from the right. Austria really having its way when in space and going at USA defenders. Still scoreless.

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From our Brian Straus, a screen grab of the controversial no-goal call. The ball is what is behind Almer’s face, but it’s unclear where that is in relation to the goal line:

AustriaCall

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22nd minute – Alaba and Harnik combine to keep the USA on its heels, but Alaba’s poor first touch after reclaiming the ball at the top of the area lets him down.

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HOW WAS THAT NOT CALLED A GOAL??? Certainly looked to have crossed the line completely! First came off Cameron’s head and then Arnautovic’s hand and it definitely was all the way in before Almer could palm it out. Tough break.

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16th minute – SAVE ALMER!! Johannsson takes a turn to unleash one from distance, and Almer has no choice but to parry it over his own goal. Corner for the USA.

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15th minute – ALTIDORE COMES CLOSE!! Sees the ball facing goal from about 25 yards out, creates space for himself and pushes it just wide of the left post with a low, right-footed blast.

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14th minute – BROOKS nearly gets toasted by Harnik, who deked him out and created space deep in the U.S. box before crossing through the 6-yard box…to nobody. Brooks was anchored to the ground on that.

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12th minute – Howard leaps to grab a deflected ball in the area, as Austria’s movement off the ball is starting to stretch the U.S. a bit. If Howard turns in a clean sheet, he’ll tie Kasey Keller for the USA record with 53.

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11th minute – Quarter-chance for Austria as Harnik gets by Beasley and whips a shot toward Howard’s goal but pulls it well wide of the right post.

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8th minute – Cameron getting forward in the early going is an encouraging sign for the USA, which really lacked a punch from just about anywhere against Scotland.

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And Manduzkic has been sent off with a straight red card!! Lifeline for Iceland. Will be up a man for more than a half, and Mandzukic had scored Croatia’s goal. Verrrrrry interesting.

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Some highlights for you from Europe:

Greece’s goal:

Croatia’s goal (Iceland still needs just one to take the edge on away goals):

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4th minute – Nothing too menacing either way in the early going. Individuals to focus on: Geoff Cameron at right back in place of the minorly injured Brad Evans and John Brooks in central defense. Few, if any, spots on that back line for Brazil are locked up. Every opportunity matters.

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SCARY moment in the Greece-Romania game as it looks like the Greece goalkeeper was pelted with a projectile from the stands, a flare or firecracker even. He’s being tended to by medics.

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And this match is underway. Interesting lineup for Jurgen Klinsmann indeed, with the Bedoya-Johannsson-Shea attacking trio behind Jozy Altidore. Let’s see if Altidore receives more service tonight than he did in Scotland on Friday.

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Back to the USA, here is Austria’s lineup for this friendly:

Goalkeeper: Robert Almer (Energie Cottbus)

Defenders: Gyorgy Garics (Bologna), Aleksandar Dragovic (Dynamo Kyiv), Martin Hinteregger (Red Bull Salzburg), Christian Fuchs (Schalke 04)

Midfielders: Christoph Leitgeb (Red Bull Salzburg), David Alaba (Bayern Munich); Martin Harnik (VfB Stuttgart), Lukas Hinterseer (Wacker Innsbruck), Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City)

Forward: Marc Janko (Trabzonspor)

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In Africa, Bob Bradley’s Egypt bowed out despite a 2-1 victory over Ghana in the second leg of their playoff. The Black Stars advanced to the World Cup on a 7-3 aggregate. For more on Bradley’s legacy in Egypt, check out Brian Straus’ post-match reaction.

The last African berth is up for grabs, and Algeria currently has an away goals edge on Burkina Faso despite the two being level on total goals at 3-3.

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As you can see, we’ll update the European scores at the top of our post. Right now, the only goal has been scored by Greece, which looks to be well on its way to the World Cup, holding a 4-1 aggregate lead over Romania.

Iceland trails Croatia on aggregate by a goal, and if you haven’t read Jonathan Wilson’s piece from this morning on Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Thor Halldorsson, do yourself a favor and check it out. Soccer is his part-time gig. He’s a full-time film director, who was behind Iceland’s Eurovision 2012 entry.

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STRAUS: USA still faces lineup questions despite landmark 2013

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Here is how Jurgen Klinsmann is deploying his team today (4-2-3-1), courtesy of U.S. Soccer:

USA lineup vs. Austria

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1 comments
RomarioDelLago
RomarioDelLago

USA choking vs a team they should beat, imho.   Too bad we couldn't bring a full-strength squad to that one.