USMNT beats Azerbaijan 2-0 in friendly ahead of World Cup
The United States beat Azerbaijan 2-0 in its first World Cup tune-up on Tuesday in San Francisco.
Score: USA 2 (Diskerud 75', Johannsson 81') - Azerbaijan 0
The American side overcame a sluggish start to breeze past an over-matched Azerbaijani side 2-0 Tuesday in San Francisco.
Star forward Clint Dempsey sat out with a sore groin -- which, apparently, won't be an issue come mid-June -- and the U.S. had trouble finding the back of the net.
Mix Diskerud (occupier of Landon Donovan's #10 jersey) and Aron Johnannsson scored, but much was to be desired from the USMNT.
The U.S. will next face Turkey in a friendly Sunday.
Below is a blow-by-blow of how Tuesday night's game went.
80' -- Things are opening up and the Americans' chances are multiplying. Brad Davis' corner finds Aron Johannsson for an easy header. Both Davis and Diskerud have been strong off the bench.
75' -- How appropriate. Mix Diskerud -- #10 (ahem) -- gets the U.S. on the board. Michael Bradley's strike was denied and Diskerud buried the rebound.
71' -- Mix Diskerud (in Landon Donovan's #10) on, Alejandro Bedoya off.
65' -- Another chance wasted as Altidore's cross cleared. This has turned into a very windy nap.
61' -- Two more subs: Wondolowski off, Aron Johannsson on; Fabian Johnson off, DeAndre Yedlin on.
57' -- I don't know, you guys. I really thought at this point we'd be lighting up the scoreboard. But no. Azerbaijan, in fact, is throwing some balls in front of the net that could result in goals. The Americans should break through. I've said that A LOT.
48' -- Brad Davis fouled juuuuuuuust outside the box (according to the referee, at least -- replays prove otherwise), and Michael Bradley's free kick goes begging.
CLINT DEMPSEY GROIN UPDATE: Jurgen Klinsmann said it was fine, basically, then changed the subject.
But, yeah, he's fine. Klinsmann said Dempsey had been bothered for a few days.
Substitutions -- Off: Geoff Cameron, Graham Zusi, DaMarcus Beasley; On: Timmy Chandler, Omar Gonzalez, Brad Davis.
HALFTIME -- So, yeah, some chances wasted from the Americans, but really not that many. Not necessarily what we wanted -- or expected -- from the Americans. A very average feeling so far, but that can be erased with an inspired second half.
41' -- Probably a good time to mention that the U.S. has had plenty of chances, but zero conversions. Both items are notable. Of course it's reasonable that there be some rust; but the Americans need to put these chances away against such an inferior opponent. The latter certainly is concerning.
30' -- Alejandro Bedoya involved in a nasty collision, but he seems okay. Still scoreless. Ugh.
28' -- Azerbaijanis may have gotten away with a handball in their own box, but the official says play on. The Americans are threatening to break through, but still without success.
21' -- I promise soccer has been happening and I'm still here, just no great chances from either side. DaMarcus Beasley made his presence known with a solid run and the US earned a corner that was wasted.
Three corners thus far for the Americans.
15' -- Wondolowski -- again -- has a header denied from close range off a corner. Two great chances by the wayside for the Americans.
12' -- Azerbaijan gets a free kick from 25 yards and misses somewhat narrowly. Back four not looking terribly strong for the Americans.
7' -- Not a good sign -- the US gives it away in a bad spot and Vagif Javadov nearly puts one away from just outside the box, but Howard was able to deflect the shot wide. Azerbaijan earned a corner but couldn't convert.
4' -- Graham Zusi hooked in a perfect free kick to Dempsey's replacement Chris Wondolowski for an open header that was stuffed at the net. Should have been a goal. Credit the Azarbeijani keeper for somehow getting his knee -- yes, his knee -- on the ball at the last moment.
1' -- We are underway at Candlestick Park, as the U.S. has started its trek to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Okay, we should probably come out up top to say, no, Dempsey's injury doesn't seem serious and, no, this does not mean Landon Donovan will be back on the roster. But it also doesn't not mean that, ya know?
ESPN's Jeremy Schaap reported that US soccer isn't calling it injury, but groin sorenes (which, technically, is an injury). He probably will not play Tuesday.
That guy you see up there? Yeah, Clint Dempsey. He's not playing. Sore groin.
As alluded to earlier, Mix Diskerud will be sporting the No. 10 jersey, not Landon Donovan. It's okay if that feels weird to you.
Your American starters: Tim Howard, Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron, Matt Besler, DaMarcus Beasley, Jermaine Jones, Graham Zusi, Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey Chris Wondolowski and Jozy Altidore.
Also, here are some...things:
This might make your night pic.twitter.com/OvLgKdNRUT— roger bennett (@rogbennett) May 28, 2014
Before we get started, here's an important video message from noted soccer expert Snoop Dogg:
Tuesday will be the first time Jurgen Klinsmann and the United States National Team will have to strut its stuff in front of a national audience. The team has been training for weeks, and Klinsmann has recently shook things up by cutting U.S. soccer legend Landon Donovan from the 23-man squad headed to Brazil.
His son seemed pleased, a bunch of other people were less so.
Regardless, fans will finally get a chance to see the somewhat-finished product of the American squad when they take on Azerbaijan Tuesday night in San Francisco in a game the U.S. is supposed to win easily. It's mostly a confidence-builder.
The Americans have landed in Group G, where they will have to compete with Portugal, Germany, and Ghana. No easy task.
Tuesday marks the first time the Landon Donovan-less roster will play together. It doesn't mean much, but it could at least serve as some sort of indication of what's to come.
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