By Benson Petit-Clair | firstname.lastname@example.org
The US Soccer men’s national team suffered a 2-0 loss to Ukraine – the highest ranked team not heading to the upcoming FIFA World Cup – on Wednesday in a friendly in Cyprus.
Things started off badly for the U.S., as the Ukrainians were able to get several looks early in the contest. Denys Garmash and Andriy Yarmolenko combined in the 12th minute of the match to give their troubled country the lead over the World Cup-bound US. The action began with Garmash running past the U.S. midfield to get behind the backline, who played him offside. U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard stopped the initial attempt from Garmash, but the FC Dynamo Kyiv midfielder would collect the ball and send it to a wide-open Yarmolenko, who tapped the ball into the empty net to provide Ukraine their first lead.
Yarmolenko provided another scoring chance for the Ukranians when he sets up teammate Artem Fedets’kiy after taking a ball from Sacha Klejstan in the midfield in the 32nd minute, but, an offside call bailed out the US.
After a lackluster performance in the first half, the U.S. responded early in the second half with a bit of their own pressure which would generate a flurry of chances to score. Alejandro Bedoya slipped a shot from the left side of the box, but his attempt was blocked by Fedets’kiy for a corner kick. The U.S. would receive another scoring opportunity two minutes later when Geoff Cameron crossed a ball to Jozy Altidore, who saw his header skim over the crossbar. Shortly after, Bedoya picked up an errant pass from Ukraine goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov, But he bent his attempt wide right as he try to catch the goalkeeper off-guard.
With the US unable to score, Ukraine added to its lead in the 68th minutes when Second-half sub Marko Devic, who entered the game two minutes earlier, netted a goal in similar fashion to the first goal of the match. Devic’s initial shot was saved by Tim Howard, However he was in position to deposit the rebound into the unguarded goal for the 2-0 lead.
The Americans’ best opportunity to pick up a score came in the dying minutes off a corner kick from Bedoya, but Aron Johannsson’s left footed strike was blocked by a defender who preserved the shutout.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s troops will try to get back into the winning column when they meet with CONCACAF foe Mexico in April 2 in Glendale Arizona.