Roberto Gutierrez

Chile 3-2 USMNT: Another lead disintegrates for Klinsmann’s crew

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Friendlies or not, these blown leads and miserable second halves have grown pretty old.

First half goals from Brek Shea and Jozy Altidore had the United States men’s national team up 2-1 at the break, with Roberto Gutierrez scoring Chile’s goal in the 10th minute. Two second-half finishes from Mark Gonzalez earned Chile a 3-2 win.

A trio of U.S. players made their international bows, with Steve Birnbaum (DC United) starting in the back while Gyasi Zardes (L.A. Galaxy) and Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew) coming off the bench.

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And the Yanks were again victimized by poor organization after substitutions. It’s fair to note that the six substitutions of a friendly are a bigger hiccup than the three in a formal competition, but the U.S. has been outscored 9-0 in its last five second halves.

Some have speculated that Jurgen Klinsmann wouldn’t have lined his men up in a 3-5-2 had DeAndre Yedlin not been allowed to go to Chile, and the speedy youngster gave the States plenty of thrills on Wednesday night while also showing his marking and finishing remain quite raw.

Shea was on the business end of a through ball from Matt Besler, and the Orlando City man ripped a left-footer past Johnny Herrera to open the scoring in the sixth minute (Watch the goal here).

And while Gutierrez victimized Jones and Besler to tie it at 1 four minutes later, the States attack did a number on Chile’s back line on the go-ahead goal (Watch the goal here). DeAndre Yedlin won a throw-in after a pacy right-wing run before finding Mix Diskerud, who laid off for Altidore in a spot the big man rarely misses from (at least in a U.S. jersey).

It was 2-1 after 45 minutes. Here’s how we recapped Half No. 1.

Lee Nguyen entered the game at halftime for the Yanks, moving Clint Dempsey up to forward as an ineffective Bobby Wood subbed off.

Nick Rimando had his share of scares, but there’s no doubt the Real Salt Lake man made a pair of huge saves in the match’s first hour. Most impressive was his bailing out Jones after some Diego Valdes thievery near the U.S. 18.

Michael Bradley put a screamer off the cross bar in the 61st minute. Moments later, Rimando bailed Steve Birnbaum out of a potential own goal, though it’s unfair to mention Birnbaum’s name for the first time now. The DC United defender played well in his first cap.

As the States made subs, Chile began to find its home form. At times, the excuse that the Yanks are mostly out of season and Chile are 4-5 games into theirs seemed decent.

And then came the equalizer on a stunner from Mark Gonzalez, who absolutely fooled Nick Rimando and lifted a shot over the goalkeeper’s right arm.

source: APGonzalez added a second less than 10 minutes later, finding a rebound and pounding a shot that took a turn off Birnbaum and into the net.

Substitute Chris Wondolowski nearly headed a neat cross from Michael Bradley home, but Herrera made a nice save on the San Jose striker.

Shea could’ve seen red for a high challenge late in the match, but was only shown yellow.

Zardes had a good chance in stoppage time, but his low shot was parried away by Herrera, who had a strong match.

The States next game is in California on Feb. 8 against Panama.


USMNT: Rimando; Birnbaum, Jones, Besler; Yedlin, Bradley, Dempsey (Zardes, 68′), Diskerud (Trapp, 60′), Shea; Altidore (Wondolowski, 75′), Wood (Nguyen, 46′)

Goals: Shea (6′), Altidore (31′)

Chile: Herrera, O. González, Rojas, Pulgar, Cornejo, Espinoza, Valdés (Delgado, 59′), Medel (Diaz, 79′), Carrasco, M. González (Sagal, 90+1′), Gutiérrez

Goals: Gutierrez (10′), M. Gonzalez 2 (66′, 75′)

At the half: Altidore, Shea have USMNT leading Chile 2-1 (video)

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The United States men’s national team dalliance with a 3-5-2 has them up 2-1 at halftime in a friendly against Chile on Wednesday.

Brek Shea and Jozy Altidore have scored for the States, with Roberto Gutierrez sandwiching a Chile goal in between.

Matt Besler chipped a through ball between two Chilean defenders, and Shea lashed a left-footed bullet past Johnny Herrera, who was playing deep near his post. The Orlando City man made it 1-0 inside of six minutes (Watch the goal here).

Gutierrez leveled the score after just 10 minutes, though, darting between Jermaine Jones and Matt Besler to head home. In a short period of time, we saw that the 3-5-2 giveth, and the 3-5-2 taketh away (or playing a center mid at center back!).

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DeAndre Yedlin bungled a gorgeous opportunity in the 14th minute. Wide open and 1v1 with the keeper Herrera, Yedlin took a touch before passing across goal, too deep for Bobby Wood. Whether Wood could’ve got there with a dive is up for debate.

It was sloppy at times, with the States very much getting used to the 3-5-2 and both sides using a bevy of second-choice players (Chile more than the Yanks, who’ve seen many stars return to MLS).

And then came Altidore on the end of a brilliant bit of work from the Yanks up the right flank. DeAndre Yedlin won a throw-in, then worked the ball to Diskerud. The midfielder dribbled into the box before laying off for Altidore, who curled a finish side panel (Watch the goal here).

Rimando made a big save off a horrible giveaway by Jones near halftime, as Diego Valdes came in close before Rimando pushed the shot away with his left arm.

Altidore created another big chance in the 43rd minute, collecting a pass from Dempsey before being taken down just outside the 18 for a dangerous free kick.

Gutierrez had looked to have made it 2-2 when he leaped over Jones to head home just before halftime, but was ruled to be offside. If he was, it was very close.


USMNT: Rimando; Birnbaum, Jones, Besler; Yedlin, Bradley, Dempsey, Diskerud, Shea; Altidore, Wood.