Rogers, Gaven pick up U.S. caps
The U.S. Men's National Team came from behind against El Salvador for
the third consecutive time with a 2-1 victory in front of a crowd of
21,737 fans Wednesday evening at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.
El Salvador took the lead in the 59th minute through a Rudi Corrales
goal, but halftime substitute Brian Ching equalized in the 75th minute
with a well-struck header. Ching then turned provider in stoppage time
as he played a one-two with Sacha Kljestan to put the midfielder through
on goal and snatch the win with a clinical finish.
Crew midfielders Robbie Rogers and Eddie Gaven both earned caps in the
match, Rogers starting and going the first 86 minutes and Gaven coming
on at halftime and playing the entire second stanza.
The U.S. also came from behind to win or tie against El Salvador in
their last two meetings during the final round of FIFA World Cup
qualifying, drawing 2-2 last March in San Salvador after falling behind
by two goals and then bouncing back after allowing an early first half
goal to win 2-1 on Sept. 5, 2009 in Sandy, Utah.
The U.S. will next travel to Amsterdam where they will take on the
third-ranked Netherlands at Amsterdam ArenA on March 3 at 2:30 p.m. ET.
The match will be televised live on ESPN2 and Galavision and fans can
follow via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker.
"Overall, there were some good efforts and we saw some very positive
things on the field tonight," said U.S. Men's National Team head coach
Bob Bradley. "We went down but continued to push to get a win, and when
you can come away with a result from a good play at the end that's very
The falling rain markedly affected the opening stages of the match as
both teams seemed to struggle getting used to the ball movement on the
field. The first 20 minutes saw both teams trying to muster attacks and
establish a rhythm without much success, aside from an ambitious
fourth-minute shot by Osael Romero which U.S. goalkeeper Nick Rimando
smothered as it skipped to the far post.
The tempo began to change when an El Salvador cross from the left was
blocked by Brad Evans but skipped directly into the path of Juan Carlos
Moscoso. The midfielder was able to collect the ball in a dangerous spot
at the top of the area but slipped as he attempted to shoot.
The incident sparked both teams into life and play opened up. The U.S.
created some sustained pressure and were almost rewarded when Robbie
Findley broke behind the defense on the right flank. He cut a square
ball inside to the trailing Kljestan who took a touch and shot on frame
but the ball was deflected behind by the Salvadorian defense.
Kljestan was again on the end of a nice U.S. attack in the 31st minute
when Conor Casey received the ball in space on the left. He advanced
toward his defender and laid off a ball to the inside to a cutting
Kljestan who hit a one-time shot low to the 'keeper's left. Miguel
Montes proved equal to the task and palmed the ball around the post to
give the U.S. a corner.
The U.S. was now piling on the pressure in search of the opener as they
held possession around the El Salvador area. After a string of quick
passes in the 32nd minute, Heath Pearce beat his man to the endline and
lifted a cross to the far post where Rogers waited unmarked. However,
Rogers' downward header could only find the leg of an onrushing defender
and the ball deflected out for another U.S. corner.
The first half would end with another close chance when Brad Davis cut
in from the left in the 40th minute but had his shot blocked inside the
area. The rebound spun out to Kljestan who side footed a low show
destined for the back of the net until goalkeeper Montes again
intervened to push the shot around the post.
With Bradley making two changes at halftime by sending Ching on for
Casey and Gaven on for Davis, the U.S. came out attacking with purpose.
Findley saw a half chance tipped around the post by Montes and Rogers
and Ching could not connect after the winger beat his man and centered
for Ching inside the six.
The U.S. continued their pressure and scoring the first goal seemed to
be only a matter of time. However, it would be El Salvador who would
seize the advantage in the 59th minute.
A long ball out of the center of the field arrived on the left flank and
was misplayed by Evans. Corrales took advantage to cut in behind the
defense and got to the ball before the onrushing Rimando. He slid the
ball inside the far post and gave Los Cuscatlecos the 1-0 lead against
the run of play.
The U.S. responded with a pair of chances just moments later as Ching
saw a snap header go agonizingly wide of the far post after a Pearce
cross from the left in the 61st minute. Seconds later, Findley found
himself running at the last defender at the top of the box but was
barely tripped up before he could get a shot off.
Rogers then served in a series of three free kicks that each could have
been converted for the equalizer. The 68th minute saw Evans lose his
marker and head wide from 12 yards moments after Jeff Cunningham had
come on for Findley. Two minutes later, Ching was on the end of another
Rogers free kick from the left but Montes smothered his downward header
at his feet. The third free kick skipped through three U.S. attackers
at the far post only needing a touch to turn it toward goal.
The equalizer would finally come in the 75th minute after a great effort
from Pearce on the left sideline. He beat his marker, making just
enough room to get off an inch perfect cross to Ching who had ghosted in
behind the defense and was alone at the edge of the six yard box. This
time he made no mistake and buried his header at the near post past
Montes, who got a hand to the ball but failed to keep it out of the
Rogers wasted a golden opportunity in the 78th minute to take the lead
when he beat his man on the dribble and advanced into the box deciding
to unleash a drive the sailed wide of the goal instead of opting to pass
to Gaven at the far post.
Dax McCarty entered the fray on the 79th minute replacing Kyle Beckerman
in the center of the park. Two minutes later, Rogers almost made amends
by unleashing a searing drive from the top of the 18 that rattled the
woodwork as Montes could only watch rooted to the spot. It would prove
to be his last input of the match as Rogers was replaced by Geoff
Cameron in the 86th minute, giving the Houston Dynamo midfielder his
first cap with the MNT.
As the match entered stoppage time, a draw seemed certain even though
the U.S. still looked for a way to unlock the El Salvador defense.
Kljestan provided the heroics in the second minute of stoppage time when
he dispossessed Marvin González after a rather nonchalant pass from
Montes. Kljestan picked up the ball in the center of the field 25 yards
from goal and played a ball ahead to Ching. The forward returned the
ball with a neat pass right into the path of Kljestan who slotted the
ball behind Montes from eight yards to seal the win.
It was Kljestan's fourth international goal and his first since his
debut hat trick against Sweden on Jan. 24, 2009, at The Home Depot
Jonathan Bornstein, who went 90 minutes in central defense, wore the
captain's armband for the first time with the Men's National Team.