Youthful U.S. sneaks past Czech Republic in friendly
09/03/2014 3:30 PM
09/03/2014 3:31 PM
Prague, Czech Republic (SportsNetwork.com) - Alejandro Bedoya netted the only goal of the match on Wednesday as the United States men's national team earned a 1-0 victory over the Czech Republic in an international friendly at the Generali Arena.
With the 2014 World Cup in the rearview mirror, manager Jurgen Klinsmann's squad looked vastly different from the squad that featured in Brazil back in June.
Most of the regulars were left off the squad in favor of trying to usher in a new era of U.S. soccer based on youth with an eye toward the 2018 World Cup, which will be contested in Russia.
Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Kyle Beckerman and Jermaine Jones were all left off the squad on Wednesday, as well as goalkeeper Tim Howard, who is taking a one-year break from international competition.
In their places were young players Julian Green, John Brooks and goalkeepers Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando filled in for Howard, while Klinsmann handed international debuts to forward Joe Gyau, defender Greg Garza and midfielder Emerson Hyndman.
The home side had the better of the play early in the first half as they worked toward the upcoming European Championship qualifiers and the first quality chance came in the 19th minute.
Petr Jiracek did well to send Ladislav Krejci in behind the U.S. defense down the left wing and he sent a low cutting ball across the face of goal, but it was cleared away by Brooks with an excellent sliding block.
The Czech Republic had another stellar opportunity on the counter-attack in the 33rd minute as Arsenal man Tomas Rosicky got clear down the left wing and sent a low ball to the far post hoping for a tap-in from Vladimir Darida, but Darida couldn't get his toe to the ball and it rolled out of play.
The goal materialized in the 39th minute through a bit of sloppy play by the home side.
Goalkeeper Petr Cech played the ball out to Darida in the middle of the pitch and he was caught in possession by American midfielder Mix Diskerud, who set sail toward goal and let a strike go from the top of the box that was stopped by Cech, but Bedoya followed the play well and slammed home the rebound.
The second half brought the introduction of defender Tim Ream to Klinsmann's side and Rimando took over in goal for Guzan, while Garza, Hyndman, Brek Shea and Alfredo Morales also entered the fray.
The Czech Republic began to take control of the match in the second half and had several opportunities to find an equalizing goal, but Rimando made several quality stops to keep the home side off the score sheet and get the new World Cup cycle off to a positive start for the U.S.
The Stars and Stripes will take the pitch again on Oct. 10 in a friendly against Ecuador in East Hartford.
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