Crew SC winger Justin Meram earned his first start of the AFC Asian Cup as Iraq was victorious over Palestine, 2-0, in Canberra early Tuesday morning to advance to the Quarterfinal Round of the competition. Before subbing-off in the 68th minute, Meram's biggest influence on the match was drawing a penalty for the Lions of Mesopotamia -- which was ultimately saved by Palestinian 'keeper Tawfiq Ali.
Iraq next plays Iran in Canberra at 1:30 a.m. ET on Friday morning.
After scoring in his first international cap for Iceland on Friday, Crew SC winger Kristinn Steindorsson was given rest in Iceland's 1-1 draw with Canada on Monday afternoon in Orlando. Steindorsson will now return to Columbus to prepare for his first season in Black & Gold.
Crew SC's Romain Gall scored twice from the penalty spot to help the United States U-20 Men's National Team to a 2-0 victory over Jamaica on Sunday evening in group play of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Kingston. The brace pushed Gall's goal total for the tournament to five, leading all scorers in the competition. The Americans round-out the Group Stage on Wednesday against Trinidad & Tobago, needing a win or draw to assure their advancement to the Knockout Stage.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Soccer
It took only six minutes for Crew SC winger Kristinn Steindorsson to make his first cap for the Iceland National Team memorable. Steindorsson found himself unmarked in front of net to score his first international goal in a 2-1 win over Canada in Orlando on Friday.
Iceland faces Canada again in a friendly on Monday at 4:00 p.m. ET on beIN Sports. See below for the full MLSsoccer.com recap.
Canada 1 - Iceland 2 | International Friendly Match Recap
by Andrew Marcinko, MLSsoccer.com
Though they surely enjoyed the Florida sunshine, Friday's friendly against Iceland was likely not the start to 2015 Canada would have liked.
Iceland controlled the game early and held on for a 2-1 win thanks to goals from Columbus Crew SC midfielder Kristinn Steindórsson and Matthías Vilhjálmsson against a game Canada side. Despite being without several first-team regulars, both teams played spirited soccer on the night with former MLS MVP Dwayne De Rosario nearly sparking a comeback for Canada with a 70th-minute goal.
Canada have a busy slate in 2015, as they will play in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the summer, which includes one matchday hosted on home soil at BMO Field in Toronto, in addition tobeginning their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification quest in June. Meanwhile, Iceland are already in the thick of tournament qualifiers, having approached the midway point of Euro 2016 qualifiers in good shape, with a solid chance of qualifying for their first ever Euro tournament.
In Friday's friendly, Iceland came out strong, controlling much of the possession for the opening minutes. Rúrik Gíslason was a menace down the right wing, running at the Canadian defenders and quickly earning a free kick just inches outside the corner of the box in the fourth minute.
That kick was cleared, but Gíslason would be rewarded for his efforts just moments later. In the 5th minute, his inch-perfect cross to the far post was headed in easily by the newly signed Steindórsson to put the European side up 1-0.
Canada began to find the game after conceding, swinging crosses into the Icelandic box from all directions. In the 21st minute, Toronto FC’s Jonathan Osorio nodded a header just over the crossbar for Canada’s best chance of the half. Canadian forward Iain Hume, fresh off a strong season in India, showed his strength in challenging for a number of 50-50 balls.
The pace of play slowed down after the first 25 minutes, but Iceland was not quite done for the half. Sölvi Ottesen headed a far-post cross back across the face of goal, and Vilhjálmsson was just onside at the top of the six to nod it home to double their lead.
It was back-and-forth to start the second half, but Iceland was disciplined defensively and largely held the Canadians in check. De Rosario entered at the half for Canada and blasted a shot high and wide in the 60th minute. His aggression paid off in the 70th minute though, when he headed home a cross in traffic to bring Canada back within one.
It wasn’t enough in the end, however, as Iceland held on for the 2-1 win.
The Canadians won’t have to wait long for revenge, as the two teams face off again in a second international friendly on Monday afternoon (4:00 p.m. ET, beIn Sports).
Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter and defender Chris Klute discuss Friday's transaction.
In a battle between the last two AFC Asian Cup Champions, Japan topped Iraq, 1-0, Friday morning in Brisbane courtesy of a Keisuke Honda penalty. Crew SC's Justin Meram saw 35 minutes of action, coming on for Younis Mahmoud.
Japan remains at the top of Group D with six points, while Iraq and Jordan are tied on three points each. Jordan sits in second place by virtue of a +3 goal differential. Iraq plays Palestine on Tuesday at 4:00 a.m. ET in Canberra to cap-off play in Group D.
Gregg Berhalter discusses Crew SC's 2015 MLS SuperDraft picks Sergio Campbell and Sagi Lev-Ari.
Forward Sagi Lev-Ari reacts to being drafted by Crew SC in the Second Round of Thursday's MLS SuperDraft.