May 29, the U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) fell 4-2 to 15th-ranked Belgium in a friendly at FirstEnergy Stadium, raising concerns about the United States qualifying for World Cup 2014 in Brazil.
“We obviously at this level need to tighten up,” said U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard. “I think anybody would tell you that. Most of the teams are going to come up with fire power, so it’s on us to put the other team on our terms defensively. We should be dictating that.”
The USA now hold a 1-4-0 record with Belgium.
Dempsey scores 33rd international goal
Kevin Mirallas put Belgium ahead in just the sixth minute, collecting a loose ball that goalkeeper Tim Howard had poked away and chipping it into the net. Belgium dominated the first half, but in the 22nd minute, Geoff Cameron capitalized on a combination from Graham Zusi and Clint Dempsey to score his first international goal.
Belgium regained the lead in the 56th minute when an Omar Gonzalez clearance was pounced on by De Bruyne. He quickly squared the ball across the goal to Christian Benteke who easily tapped it home from six yards out. Benteke finished in fourth place in scoring in the Premier League with 19 goals.
Marouane Fellaini doubled the advantage for Belgium in the 64th minute, heading home another assist from De Bruyne, and then seven minutes later Benteke grabbed his second goal.
Dempsey converted a penalty in the 80th minute for the final 4-2 score. Dempsey’s goal was the 33rd of his international career, putting him one behind Eric Wynalda for second on the USA’s all-time scoring chart.
Stuart Holden came on as a late substitute for Sacha Kljestan in the 81st minute, making his first appearance for the USA since Oct. 12, 2010. DaMarcus Beasley became the 13th player to reach the 100-cap milestone for the U.S. Men’s National Team and was honored on the field before the game.
World Cup Qualifiers loom
The USA next faces Germany on Sunday, June 2, at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., for its 100-year anniversary celebration. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, WatchESPN and UniMas. Michael Bradley, Fabian Johnson and Danny Williams will all join the U.S. team in Washington D.C. on Thursday.
Following the Centennial Celebration Match, the USA begins a three-game set of qualifiers. The team travels to Jamaica for the second time in this qualifying cycle, having lost 2-1 on Sept. 7, 2012, in Kingston. Then it’s back to U.S. soil, where the team is currently enjoying a 21-0-2 unbeaten run in qualifying dating back to 2001. The USA faces Panama on June 11 in Seattle to reach the halfway point of the round, then welcomes Honduras to Salt Lake City on June 18.
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Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Belgium
Date: May 29, 2013
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: FirstEnergy Stadium; Cleveland, Ohio
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Weather: 79 degrees, humid
BEL – Kevin Mirallas 6th minute
USA – Geoff Cameron (Clint Dempsey) 22
BEL – Christian Benteke (Kevin De Bruyne) 56
BEL – Marouane Fellaini (Kevin De Bruyne) 64
BEL – Christian Benteke (Steven Defour) 71
USA – Clint Dempsey (penalty kick) 80
USA: 1-Tim Howard (12-Brad Guzan, 46); 20-Geoff Cameron, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 21-Clarence Goodson (5-Matt Besler, 69), 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 13-Jermaine Jones, 16-Sacha Kljestan (11-Stuart Holden, 81), 19-Graham Zusi (6-Brad Evans, 69), 24-Brad Davis (25-Terrence Boyd, 63); 8-Clint Dempsey (capt.), 17-Jozy Altidore (18-Eddie Johnson, 46)
Substitutions Not Used: 15-Michael Parkhurst, 9-Herculez Gomez
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
BEL: 1-Simon Mignolet; 2-Toby Alderweireld, 3-Thomas Vermaelen (15-Sebastien Pocognoli, 36), 4-Vincent Kompany (capt.) (16-Guillame Gillet, 72), 5-Jan Vertonghen; 6-Marouane Fellaini, 7-Kevin Mirallas, 8-Steven Defour (22-Timmy Simons, 76) 9-Romelu Lukaku (23-Thorgan Hazard, 83); 11-Kevin De Bruyne (14-Dries Mertens, 68), 18-Moussa Dembele (20-Christian Benteke, 41)
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Jean-Francois Gillet, 21-Thomas Kaminski, 13-Laurent Ciman, 17-Maxime Lestienne, 19-Jelle Vossen
Head coach: Marc Wilmots
Stats Summary: USA / BEL
Shots: 3 / 10
Shots on Goal: 2 / 8
Saves: 4 / 0
Corner Kicks: 5 / 4
Fouls: 4 / 9
Offside: 4 / 3
BEL – Timmy Simmons (Caution) 78th minute
USA – Jermaine Jones (Caution) 90
Referee: Jeffery Solis (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Osvaldo Luna (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Warner Castro (CRC)
Fourth Official: Chris Penso (USA)
Budweiser Man of the Match: