Skip to content

Late Diskerud, Johannsson goals deliver 2-0 win for U.S. over Azerbaijan

May 28, 2014, 12:06 AM EDT

mix_diskerud Getty Images

Seventy-one places separate the United States from European minnows Azerbaijan in FIFA’s rankings, but after 74 minutes in San Francisco, there was nothing between the two nations on the soccer field. With late goals from Mikkel Diskerud and Aron Johannsson, however, the World Cup-bound U.S. were able to take a 2-0 win from their 85th-ranked guests, giving the team a slow but positive start to its Brazil 2014 buildup.

The U.S. created two good chances in the first half, but after two crosses for impromptu starter Chris Wondolowski were headed at Azerbaijan goalkeeper Karman Agayev, the teams returned to the locker room scoreless. In the second half, off a restart by Brad Davis, a Michael Bradley shot was blocked in front of goal by Agayev, leaving an opportunistic Diskerud to give the U.S. its late relief. Six minutes later, a corner kick allowed Johannsson to provide the home side’s insurance.

The U.S. continues its send-off series on Sunday against Turkey in Harrison, N.J. On June 7, the U.S. will face Nigeria in its final match before leaving for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

[MORE: Player ratings Three things | Subs shine]

Providing few surprises in his starting lineup, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann selected an initial XI that could also start June 16 against Ghana. Clint Dempsey, the team’s captain, was called on with Jozy Altidore up top, while a midfield built around Michael Bradley also featured Jermaine Jones, Graham Zusi, and Alejandro Bedoya. At the back, Geoff Cameron started in central defense beside Matt Besler, with fullbacks Fabian Johnson and DaMarcus Beasley completing the four in front of Tim Howard.

The day’s first surprise arrived shortly before kickoff when Dempsey was scratched from that starting XI. In his place, Wondolowski, playing in front of a largely home crowd, was chosen to partner Jozy Altidore up top, with tightness in the captain’s quadriceps forcing Dempsey from the starting lineup.

The first half’s best chances dropped for the man who was supposed to start on the bench, with Agayev called on twice to keep Wondolowski headers from giving the States an opening goal. In the fifth minute, a restart from the right by Zusi found an unmarked Wondolowski just outside the side-yard box, but the San Jose captain’s diving header went found Karman’s left knee after bouncing in front of goal. Just over 10 minutes later, Alejandro Bedoya beat his man on the right before finding Wondolowski eight yards out, with a strong hand from the Azerbaijan keeper putting the shot out for a corner.

With only one speculative chance testing Howard over the first 45 minutes, the teams reached halftime scoreless, prompting Klinsmann to make three of his six substitutions: Omar Gonzalez, believed to be fighting for a spot in the starting lineup, came in for Geoff Cameron; Timothy Chandler replaced DaMarcus Beasley at left back; while Zusi gave way for Davis.

Though a near-penalty in the 50th minute hinted Klinsmann’s changes might break through his team’s conservative opponent, the first half eventually began mirroring the first, just without the Wondolowski chances. Play moving from flank-to-flank failed to generate chances before the U.S. was dispossessed and briefly pushed back into their own half. After each inevitable Azerbaijan giveaway, the process would start anew.

By the 75th minute, the match looked destined to end in a draw, but converting on some penalty area chaos, the U.S. finally went in front. On a ball that dropped in the box after an Azerbaijani defender’s failed clearance, Michael Bradley forced Agayev to leave a saved shot in front of goal. There Diskerud, on the pitch for only four minutes, finishing into the right of goal to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead.

Six minutes later, Azerbaijan’s weakness on set pieces was finally exploited. Off a Davis corner from the right of goal, Johannsson uncoiled onto a shot inside the near post, giving the U.S. its insurance.

The 2-0 final also gave the U.S. a result it would have expected, but going 74 minutes without a goal, the team played like a group taking the first, tentative steps of a much longer journey. Klinsmann will look for improvement on June 1.

Lineups

United States: Tim Howard; Fabian Johnson (DeAndre Yedlin 62′), Geoff Cameron (Omar Gonzalez 46′), Matt Besler, DaMarcus Beasley (Timothy Chandler 46′); Graham Zusi (Brad Davis 46′), Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley, Alejandro Bedoya (Mix Diskerud 71′); Chris Wondolowski (Aron Johannsson 62′), Jozy Altidore

Goals: Diskerud 75′, Johannsson 81′

Azerbaijan: Agayev, Abisov (Hüseynov 46′), Sukurov (Qırtımov 46′), Ramaldanov, Budak, Qarayev, Yunuszada, Abatsiyev (Medvedev 71′), Cavadov (Nazarov 60′), Aliyev, Dadasov (Fardjad-Azad 66′)

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Geoff Cameron injured in Stoke City’s victory over Portsmouth

    Aug 27, 2014, 8:45 PM EDT

    Harry Kane, Geoff Cameron AP

    Lazio is most interested in the American’s services but the recent injury casts doubt on the likelihood of a transfer.

  2. League Cup Roundup: QPR and Aston Villa crash out

    Aug 27, 2014, 7:55 PM EDT

    Romain Vincelot celebrates his goal that knocked out Villa Getty Images

    QPR and Aston Villa followed Manchester United’s lead in crashing out of the League Cup to clubs from the Football League.

  3. Champions League Roundup: Ludogorets defender saves penalty to put Bulgarians through

    Aug 27, 2014, 7:02 PM EDT

    Cosmin Moti, the hero for Ludogorets Cosmin Moti, the hero for Ludogorets

    Ludogorets defender Cosmin Moti took the gloves and saved two penalties to help his side advance to the Champions League group stage.

  4. Transfer needs – Everton, Hull, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester City

    Aug 27, 2014, 6:07 PM EDT

    Falcao Getty Images

    Let’s take a look at five more clubs and how they will wheel and deal before the window slams shut.

  5. Olivier Giroud undergoes ankle surgery, out 3-4 months for Arsenal

    Aug 27, 2014, 5:43 PM EDT

    Olivier Giroud scored the only goal in what was often a rather drab affair at the Emirates. Getty Images

    The loss of Giroud skyrockets the possibility of Wenger soon moving to sign another pure striker.

  6. Report: Xabi Alonso reaches agreement with Bayern Munich

    Aug 27, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    arjen_robben_xabi_alonso Getty Images

    Reports across Europe claim that Xabi Alonso has reached an agreement with Bayern Munich.

  7. Xabi Alonso retires from Spanish National Team

    Aug 27, 2014, 3:40 PM EDT

    Spain v France - UEFA EURO 2012 Quarter Final Getty Images

    “The hardest thing is knowing when to say goodbye,” Xabi Alonso said.

  8. VIDEO: Bayern Munich’s Pep Guardiola loses it, shoves Thomas Muller

    Aug 27, 2014, 2:20 PM EDT

    Guardiola

    Guardiola gives Muller a piece of his mind during Bayern’s open practice session.

  9. Tottenham Hotspur sign Argentine international Federico Fazio

    Aug 27, 2014, 1:47 PM EDT

    Press Conference - UEFA Super Cup for UEFA Getty Images

    Fazio heads to White Hart Lane on four-year deal from Sevilla.

  10. UEFA postpone Israel’s Euro 2016 qualifier vs. Belgium due to safety fears

    Aug 27, 2014, 1:14 PM EDT

    Mideast Israel Palestinians AP

    As conflict continues between Israel, Hamas, UEFA has stepped in to postpone qualifier.

  11. PHOTO: British papers rip into Manchester United after League Cup humiliation

    Aug 27, 2014, 12:32 PM EDT

    MK Dons v Manchester United - Capital One Cup Second Round Getty Images

    Following United’s embarrassing 4-0 defeat to a third-tier team, the UK media have not been kind.

  12. $410 million Las Vegas soccer stadium deal closer; next stop, Major League Soccer…

    Aug 27, 2014, 12:01 PM EDT

    Las Vegas

    Soccer in Sin City… why not? Stadium deal gets over next hurdle, hinges on MLS team heading to Nevada.

  13. Report: Arsenal bid $82 million for Edinson Cavani. Remy, Falcao, Welbeck linked

    Aug 27, 2014, 9:42 AM EDT

    Cavani AP

    After Oliver Giroud’s bad injury, will Arsenal spend big to bring in Cavani?

  14. VOTE: Where will Manchester United finish in the Premier League this season?

    Aug 27, 2014, 9:12 AM EDT

    louis_van_gaal AP

    Have your say on where van Gaal’s side will finish this campaign.

  15. Confirmed: Neil Warnock takes over at Crystal Palace; what will he bring?

    Aug 27, 2014, 8:46 AM EDT

    warnock-4361-1879034_478x359

    Eagles swoop to hand former boss his second stint in charge at Selhurst Park.

  16. AC Milan want to sign Chelsea’s Fernando Torres. Should he leave?

    Aug 27, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    fernando_torres Getty Images

    Milan want Torres on season-long loan deal. Will the Spaniard move on?

  17. Report: Neil Warnock to be named new Crystal Palace manager

    Aug 27, 2014, 7:18 AM EDT

    Hull City v Sheffield United - FA Cup Semi-Final Getty Images

    Experienced lower league manager set for second stint in charge of Palace.

  18. CONCACAF Champions League Roundup: New York makes victorious debut

    Aug 27, 2014, 1:02 AM EDT

    concacaf champions league logo

    Red Bulls win their full tournament debut, while Club Améric takes a valuable point on the road.

Featured video

Balotelli will boost Suarez-less Liverpool