Saturday, June 18, 2011

18 June 2010 - The Comeback Kids Strike Again

On 18 June 2010, the United States scored twice in the second half to salvage a 2-2 draw after falling behind to Slovenia in the group stage of the World Cup.

The US had already rescued a point in their first match, equalizing against England to earn a 1-1 draw, while Slovenia claimed the group's top spot with a win over Algeria. The Slovenians looked certain to hold on to their position when they took a 2-0 lead in the first half with goals from winger Valter Birsa (13') and forward Zlatan Ljubijankič (42').

But, as they had in the first match, the US displayed a combination of determination and resilience. They came out firing in the second half and were rewarded when Landon Donovan surged into the Slovenian box in the 48th minute and blasted the ball into the roof of the net from close range to cut the gap to 2-1. The US continued to press for an equalizer and found it in the 82nd minute when a header from forward Jozy Altidore dropped for midfielder Michael Bradley, who then chipped it over the Slovenian keeper.

As improbable as the comeback had been, the US came close to winning it a few minutes later when substitute midfielder Maurice Edu put the ball in the back of the net. But the referee disallowed the goal for reasons that remain unexplained. Still, the point for the draw proved critical for the US, who were tied England on points at the end of the first round, but won the group by virtue of goals scored.

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