Jurgen Klinsmann’s first team since the US lost to Belgium to end its World Cup was young and adventurous, and used that vigor to take a 1-0 halftime lead against the Czech Republic in a Wednesday friendly on NBCSN.
Ale Bedoya put home a rebound after Petr Cech saved a shot from Mix Diskerud in the 38th minute for the goal. Diskerud created the chance with a big interception that lead a 3v2 break.
Both teams had chances over the course of the half. The States had more consistent pressure and possession, but the Czechs showed plenty of danger on the counterattack.
The Czechs had the first opportunity of the match. Arsenal star Tomas Rosicky’s free kick curled over the wall but was easily cleared out.
The States made their plan to play physically very clear, forcing the Czechs to respond. Jozy Altidore and Michael Orozco were among players to get stuck in, and get whistled for fouls, inside of the first 10 minutes.
Joe Gyau of Borussia Dortmund recorded the first shot of the match when he picked up an almost-picked off pass from Altidore and hit a low-powered shot that Cech collected. Overall, he was perhaps the most impressive player of the opening moments.
John Anthony Brooks proved why he’s such a headache for Jos Luhukay at Hertha Berlin. On one hand, he made a crunching tackle early and then saved a goal by sliding to clear a cross in the 20th minute. On the other, he took some careless chances and aloof touches of the ball. Will he be a ‘work in progress’ in perpetuity?
Part of the plan was also to open up Fabian Johnson for crosses from the right side, though the first two met less-than-ideal fates. One was gobbled up by Cech, another frittered away inside the box.
Brad Guzan, wearing the No. 1, could’ve been tested in the 26th minute, when Vaclav Pilar was allowed to dribble in from the right wing to the middle of the pitch. The Czech man couldn’t muster much of a shot with his left foot, and it was easily caught by Guzan.
But there were three prime opportunities for the Czechs, the best being a counterattack off a Julian Green giveaway. Rosicky dribbled a good distance before being forced to pass across to a sliding Vladimir Darida, who could not connect in the 33rd minute.
Good work from Green and Timmy Chandler earned the States a trio of corners beginning in the 37th minute, though Green struggled with his service.
The States snagged their goal when Diskerud darted in to pick off a sloppy pass in Czech territory. His shot was pushed aside by Cech, but Bedoya followed the play and coolly slotted a left-footed pass inside the post. It was 1-0 in the 29th minute.
Czech Republic: Cech; Kaderabek, Prochazka, Kadlec, Limbersky; Darida, Jiracek; Rosicky, Pilar, Krejci; Vydra.
United States: Guzan, F. Johnson, Orozco, Brooks, Chandler; Bedoya, Corona, Diskerud; Green, Altidore, Gyau
Goal: Bedoya (38)