USMNT Squander Lead Once Again In Switzerland


Once again a victory was within the grasp of the U.S. Men’s National Team. But once again they fell just short. Although Tuesday afternoon’s match against Switzerland was just a friendly, it continued the troubling trend of the USA dropping matches . A late goal by Valentin Stocker was  the culprit this time as Switzerland drew 1-1 with the USA in Zurich.

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Although the result was not ideal, the play by the USA was often actually pretty good. Led by midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, the USA hit the Swiss on the outside using their speed to open their defense. USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann implemented a 4-4-2 with a diamond in the midfield. Although center midfielder Michael Bradley looked a bit out of place he was able to use his passing skills to open up play on the periphery of the pitch.

In the 15th minute Bedoya nearly gave the USA the lead when his cross into the box found forward Gyassi Zardes. But the Los Angeles Galaxy star hit his shot high and wide. Bedoya would be at it again just 12 minutes later with a pass into the box for forward Jozy Altidore. But Altidore’s shot would also go wide.

The USA would take the lead shortly before half-time off of a free kick by left-back Brek Shea. Shea’s goal was his second goal this year with the national. The first goal came in their 3-2 defeat at the hands of Chile in January.

The second half would start just fine for the USA with Zardes once again causing trouble for the Swiss on the left flank. His header in the 49th minute just missed the goal by inches.

But the entire flow of the match changed in the 68th minute when Altidore would be given two consecutive yellow cards in the span of minutes. The first yellow was given for a rash challenge on Swiss defender Francois Moubandje while the second was for comments that he made towards head referee Luca Banti.

With the man advantage the Swiss went on the attack. Their attack was led by Xherdan Shaqiri, who was given large amounts of space to move the ball in and out of the USA’ s defensive half. His cross into midfielder Patjim Kasami the 75th minute nearly leveled the score. However, Kasami’s header was high.

But the Swiss would finally find the equalizer just five minutes later. Off of a short corner taken by midfielder Granit Xhaka, he would lay in a cross deep inside the USA penalty area. The USA defense would try and clear but inevitably the ball would bounce towards Stocker who hit his shot past goal William Yarbrough to tie the match at 1. The goal was Stocker’s fourth goal in twenty four appearances with the Swiss national team.

Although the USA did get a point out of the match, Stocker’s late goal continued a bad trend for Klinsmann’s side. Since the end of the World Cup, the USA has been outscored 12-1 in the second half of matches. They would look to change their luck on April 15th when they host Mexico in San Antonio, Texas.

Meanwhile Switzerland will next play Liechtenstein in a friendly in June. They currently sit in third place (3-0-2, 9 points) in Group E for the right to qualify for the 2016 European Championship, sitting behind only England (5-0-0, 15 points) and Slovenia (3-0-2, 9 points). The top two teams out of each group qualify for the 2016 tournament in France while the third-place squad may have to play a two-legged playoff with one of the other third-place squads.

Next: Editorial: Can The USMNT Win The World Cup? Does it Really Matter?