USA 3-2 Iceland: Birnbaum’s late winner gives USMNT positive start to 2016

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The United States kicked off 2016 with a 3-2 win over Iceland at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

The U.S. trailed twice, but goals from Jozy Altidore, Michael Orozco, and a late winner from Steve Birnbaum led the team to a positive start in the new year.

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The USMNT controlled the early play but it was Iceland who found the opening goal in the 13th minute. On the visitor’s first real chance, Kristinn Steindorsson’s shot deflected off of Michael Orozco and popped in over Luis Robles, who had no chance to make a stop in goal.

The U.S. nearly equalized just after Iceland’s opener, but Gyasi Zardes bounced an open header at the back-post over the crossbar on what should have been a United States goal.

After the Zardes miss, the U.S. continued to push forward and found their first goal of 2016 from Jozy Altidore. Jermaine Jones, Gyasi Zardes, and Michael Bradley linked up with a great bit of team play, with Bradley slotting Altidore in behind the defense. Altidore did well with his finish as he was rewarded for his hard work off the ball.

[ VIDEO: Jozy Altidore scores USMNT’s first goal of 2016 ]

Just before halftime there was a controversial decision, as Jon Gudni Fjoluson pulled down Altidore as the striker looked to run through all alone on the break. It could have been a red card, but Fjoulson was lucky to see yellow as the teams remained with 11 men on the pitch.

After the break, Iceland jumped out another lead in the 48th minute when Aron Sigurdarson scored in his national team debut. Iceland played a quick free kick that caught the U.S. off guard, allowing Sigurdarson to run in and curl a shot past Robles and into the side netting.

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Once again, the United States had to come from behind and Michael Orozco leveled things up at two in the 59th minute. Altidore played a cross and Steve Birnbaum did well to head the ball back across the box, where Orozco had moved forward to head home from close range.

The USMNT was the better team throughout the second half, though it looked like the match would end a draw. But then, Steve Birnbaum got his head on a cross from Michael Bradley in the 90th minute as the U.S. pulled out the win in the final moments of the game.