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Ukraine 2-0 USA: Disjointed U.S. display sees fired up Ukraine prevail

Mar 5, 2014, 3:59 PM EDT

Ukraine beat the U.S. 2-0, as the nation switched their attention from potential war to soccer. AP

The U.S. national team fell to Ukraine 2-0 in Cyprus on Wednesday, as goals in either half from Andriy Yarmolenko and Marko Devic inflicted defeat on Jurgen Klinsmann’s side.

Throughout the game the USA’s makeshift backline looked off the pace and Ukraine could have won by a more comfortable scoreline, with only Alejandro Bedoya and Jozy Altidore having half chances to score for the U.S. in a much brighter second half display.

In the first half Yarmaleko was found by Denys Garmash after a long ball over the top caught out U.S. central defenders John Brooks and Oguchi Onyewu as Ukraine took a 12th minute lead. Several other good chances fell the way of Ukraine, but it wasn’t until Devic’s strike in the 67th minute that the Eastern Europeans were out of sight. The U.S. did not look like dragging themselves back into the game, as Aron Johannsson’s volley was cleared off the line as the USMNT were easily shutout.

That said, it was only the USA’s third defeat in 19 games, as Klinsmann will have learned an awful lot from his squad as the build up to this summer’s World Cup continues.

(MORE: Three things we learned in USA’s defeat to Ukraine)

In an eerily silent Antonis Papadopoulos stadium in Cyprus, the U.S. started cautiously as Ukraine were fired up and ready to go.

And it took just 12 minutes for the “home” side to take the lead, as a defensive mix up saw Brooks play Ukraine midfielder Garmash onside and after his initial shot was saved, the ball fell to Yarmolenko to slot home easily and give Ukraine a 1-0 lead.

The U.S. backline looked shaky throughout a dominant first half from Ukraine, as time and time again dangerous balls saw the Eastern European side cause all kinds of problems for defenders Onyewu and Brooks.

In the 29th minute Yarmolenko got in behind Castillo at left back and surged towards the U.S. goal but took a little to long to settle himself before dragging his effort wide of Howard’s far post. Geoff Cameron was making some long runs from right back and delivered some inviting crosses in a timid first half from Klinsmann’s side. The only chance of real note for the U.S. came in the 40th minute as a corner was headed towards goal but Cameron couldn’t direct his effort on target.

(MORE: Emotional, poignant U.S. vs. Ukraine game reveals defiant Ukrainian spirit, as war looms)

After the interval the U.S. looked much better, as Kljestan clipped in a delightful ball that was knocked down to Bedoya at the back post and the Nantes midfielder rifled a volley towards goal which was heroically blocked by Ukraine. In the 50th minute Altidore then headed just over as a cross from the right saw the Sunderland man climb highest but failing to direct his effort on target.

That good start to the second half pepped up Klinsmann’s men as Bedoya fizzed an effort just wide and Clint Dempsey was thwarted by Ukraine ‘keeper Pyatov when clean through. Midway through the half Klinsmann made his first changes of the game, as Johannsson and Brek Shea came off the bench to try and add some extra attacking impetus as time was running out.

Just as the U.S. were beginning to dominate, another long ball over the top found substitute Devic who had his first effort brilliantly saved by Howard but the rebound was calmly tucked home to put Ukraine 2-0 ahead. Shea made some decent runs as he tried to get the U.S. back in the match after coming off the bench, but Yarmolenko almost scored his second and Ukraine’s third of the match with a cheeky lob from distance that Howard stumbled and then palmed clear. That chance came after another mishap from young U.S. defender Brooks as the German-American didn’t have a stellar outing.

The remainder of the game saw Klinsmann throw in some of his squad players, but the U.S. didn’t create any chances as they lost to Ukraine in a valuable learning experience before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.


United States: Howard; Cameron, Onyewu, Brooks, Castillo (Shea, 64); Jones (Williams, 81), Kljestan (Johannsson, 64); Bedoya (Boyd, 90), Dempsey, Johnson; Altidore (Agudelo, 86)

Ukraine: Pyatov; Khacheridi, Shevchuk, Kucher, Fedetskiy; Tymoshchuk, Yarmolenko (Morozyuk, 90), Rotan (Edmar, 78), Konoplyanka (Gusev, 66), Garmash (Bezus, 46); Zozulya (Devic, 64)

Goals: Yarmolenko (12′), Devic (67′)

  1. footballer4ever - Mar 5, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    Not a good showing football match and concerning performance heading into the WC. Either they are playing low profile just to surprise everyone at the WC or this is not looking good at all.

    • wandmdave - Mar 6, 2014 at 11:17 AM

      Did you expect a dominant performance from 1/2 of our starters and a backline with 3 players with little to no chance to make it to Brazil (especially now), one 20 year old, and a CB tandem that had never played together. I was expecting far worse going into the game considering Ukraine’s team was largely intact.

      The game accomplished its purpose. All the fringe players brought in blew their last chance at a ticket with the possible exception of Shea who despite all his shortcomings continues to not suck as much as everyone else at being a super sub in a position we are thin at.

      • footballer4ever - Mar 6, 2014 at 7:02 PM

        I expected for Klinsmann to start using the players who are supposed to represent US in the WC. This is no time to be experimenting around and looking for who can outshine anybody else. I guess we are still on the “experimenting” mode and that concerns me.

      • bear06 - Mar 7, 2014 at 1:13 AM

        shea didn’t do anything to raise his stock especially when he’s likely not going to get anymore PT since he gave the fans the middle finger.

  2. Dan - Mar 5, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    “[T]he U.S. didn’t create any chances”

    Does this not seem to sum up the huge prevailing issue with the USMNT for the past however many years? Klinsmann alone cannot remedy that. There continues to be the need for a creative force in central midfield. A player who can control the ebb and flow of the match while creating quality opportunities for others to score.

    • mikeevergreen - Mar 5, 2014 at 4:30 PM

      Michael Bradley wasn’t there. They are a much different team with him and Donovan.

  3. dws110 - Mar 5, 2014 at 4:13 PM

    Thus endeth Oguchi Onyewu’s international career.

  4. boscoesworld - Mar 5, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    Few of these players should go to Brazil. Dempsey, Altidore(both out of form), Howard, Jones, Johnson and maybe Bedoya . Shea should get some more time as things happen when he comes in. Sasha has run out of chances and seems to not be able to complete a forward pass. Cameron has a chance due to flexibility. His crosses in this game were a nightmare!! The whole starting back line was putrid in the first half. Johnson is better at left back usually but wasn’t great today. Funny that most of our better players are not based in Europe it seems.

  5. drewvt6 - Mar 5, 2014 at 4:23 PM

    That was ugly. Not sure what to take from an entire team putzing around on the field like it just don’t care.

  6. mikeevergreen - Mar 5, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    What does Jurgen have up his sleeve that he can’t even show just a peek of it?

  7. jerseybornfloridaliving - Mar 5, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    The whole defense should be embarrassed after today’s game. Tim Howard made initial save on both goals as defense didn’t pick up marks after save or cover the goal line they all just stood around leaving Howard out to dry and these were supposed players playing for chance at WC 14 ? Seriously!

  8. hildezero - Mar 5, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    I’ve never heard of those players. What clubs do they play at and in what league?

  9. el timo - Mar 5, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    We’ll be fine. You will not see Onyewu, Brooks, Klejstan, on the field in Brazil. They killed us up the middle today. And contrary to what Lalas had to say on ESPN after the game (is Brad Evans married to his sister?), Geoff Cameron played well at right back on defense, and made the only dangerous crosses into the box from the right side. Germaine Jones showed us again what he can do playing both ways. Bedoya’s delivery on set pieces was excellent. Dempsey and Altidore will have to stop whining and start getting the job done soon, but they’ve done it before, and likely will again. Who woulda thunk, half of our best players are home in MLS!

    • bear06 - Mar 5, 2014 at 11:33 PM

      Germaine? It’s Jermaine and he had a decent game especially in the second half so I don’t know what game you were watching

      • el timo - Mar 6, 2014 at 8:13 AM

        I don’t know what comment you were reading. I said Jones “showed us again what he can do…” For example, his throughball to Dempsey in the second half was perfect, and CD couldn’t handle it. Jones is a lock to start in Brazil if he’s healthy.

    • bear06 - Mar 7, 2014 at 1:15 AM

      Nvm I thought you meant it in a bad way.

  10. jucam1 - Mar 5, 2014 at 7:14 PM

    This team isn’t getting out of the qualifying group anyway, Jurgen has to have his sights on ’18 and build with young talent that plays in Europe where they can develop correctly and assimilate to Jurgen’s style. It’s cute to be a star in MLS, and score a lot in Concacaf qualifying, but like Jozy continues to show, that only breeds mediocre players. Let Jurgen play the young guys this cup, give them experience, they are not going to win a game either way but you are developing for ’18, a better draw (hopefully), and a competitive team. I really hope that Jurgen has the ling term view here

  11. nappy25 - Mar 5, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    – Those new jerseys look sharp when the numbers and names are ironed on. I admit I was a hater.
    – Castillo lost a plane ticket to Brazil.
    – FJ and DMB seem to be the best Left Mid/Back paring.
    – Cameron did well except for his horrid crossing.
    – Kljestan was really bad. I’d rather Beckerman be playing than him.
    – An out of form Dempsey does not deserve to be starting.
    – Jozy played like “2010 Jozy”. No hustle, ball watching, no energy. I truly think his Club form has transferred over to the Yanks. When he scored for AZ, he scored for the Yanks.
    – Williams can easily take Beckerman’s ticket to the WC.
    – If AJ continues lighting up The Eredivisie and Deuce can’t score or assist to save his life, then AJ deserves the nod.
    – I’m sold with Bedoya. He was running all over the field and seemed to put himself in every link-up play.
    Off topic: Chile played some pretty football minus the lost. It was like watching Spain tiki-taka in fast forward.

  12. midtec2005 - Mar 5, 2014 at 10:15 PM

    I know what to take from this, our best creative, attacking players are all in MLS. This team didn’t have those guys on the field. This includes Donovan, Bradley, and Zusi. I could be forgetting someone else too. Mix wasn’t there either.

    I said this when the roster was announced: for the first time in a long time I think the MLS contingent is better than the Euro contingent. If nothing else the MLS defensive players are better (who thought that would be the case 5 years ago?).

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