New England Soccer Today

Matadors of the Midway

CHICAGO, Ill. – In a free flowing, wide-open game in which the defending took a back seat, the United States and Poland each traded a pair of goals en route to a 2-2 draw at Solider Field Saturday night.

Jozy Altidore gave the Yanks the first goal of the game only 13 minutes in while Adam Matuszczyk equalized at the half hour to leave it knotted at one before the half. Oguchi Onyewu put the Americans ahead with a header in the 52nd minute before Jakub Blaszczykowski leveled it once and for all in the 73rd.

The United States came out firing on all cylinders early, ready to prove that their last match – a thorough 2-0 defeat to Brazil on August 10th – was nothing more than an embarrassing anamoly.

And they did just that, thanks to an organized midfield with the much-hyped Jermaine Jones making his national team debut in the central midfield. The Schalke 04 midfielder displayed his skill almost immediately when he lofted a gorgeous ball from the halfway line ahead to Altidore, who took it into the box and banged it through in the 13th minute.

Poland responded by promptly reorganizing in the midfield and utilizing the flanks, where they found plenty of room. Suddenly, the Americans, who had played the role of hunter in the opening minutes, were now the hunted.

Pinned deep inside his own end, Stuart Holden muffed a clearance that was quickly seized by Lubovic Obraniak. The Polish midfielder quickly deferred it to Matuszcyk, who sent a skipping shot into the net for the equalizer in the 30th minute.

Minutes before the interval, the Americans nearly reclaimed the lead when Altidore took a pass from Holden and sent a shot that sizzled off the bar in the 42nd minute.

Half two resumed with both sides vying for open space and opportunities.

The Yanks were the first to capitalize when Holden delivered a cunning corner into the box, where Onyewu elevated and speared it through via the header to recover the lead in the 52nd minute

In a throwback to the first half, the Polish pushed forward in response, pressuring their opponent’s backline with good passing and securing the ball in the midfield.

With a sea of red jerseys converging upon the American end, the guests leveled again when Blaszczykowski corralled a failed clearance and launched a missile that lodged itself in the upper corner of the net to make it 2-2.

Hoping to find another tally before time, Holden sent a teasing corner into a posse of players, where Carlos Bocanegra glanced it off of defender Lukasz Mierzejewski before it took a fortuitous route toward the frame. But, at the last possible moment, Andrzej Niedzielan cleared it off the line to preserve the draw.

Leave a Reply