Republic of Ireland 4, USA 1 | International Friendly Recap
The US national team’s much-discussed, second-half struggles since the World Cup reared their head again on Tuesday – in a big way – in a 4-1 loss to the Republic of Ireland in a friendly at Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
In the teams' first meeting in 12 years, a second-half brace from Ireland’s Robbie Brady and goals from James McClean and Anthony Pilkington overshadowed Mix Diskerud’s goal in the 39th minute to momentarily equalize at 1-1.
The result marked the USA's worst loss in 47 games, dating back to a 4-1 setback at the hands of Brazil in May 2012. It’s also the second straight loss for the US following their 2-1 defeat on Friday against Colombia in which they squandered a 1-0 lead.
The USMNT have now gone winless in four, including the two October friendlies. It's the USMNT’s first four-game winless streak since June-September 2011, coinciding with former head coach Bob Bradley’s last game and Jurgen Klinsmann’s first three.
As has been the case since Brazil 2014, the USMNT manager continued his lineup tinkering, bringing in D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid for his second national-team appearance and giving San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski his first start since a pre-World Cup friendly on May 27 against Azerbaijan.
But Ireland was the aggressor from the opening whistle despite resting many of their starters following a 1-0 loss to Scotland on Friday in a EURO qualifier, including LA Galaxy star Robbie Keane who was released to rejoin his MLS club ahead of the start of the Conference Championship series.
The Irish took advantage of a US giveaway to get on the board in the 7th minute on a perfectly timed feed from David McGoldrick to a charging Pilkington, who chipped past Hamid after the D.C. 'keeper was forced to come off his line.
The USA worked their way into the game and enjoyed their best spell of the match midway through the first half when they generated a few looks at goal, including a low, grazing shot from Fabian Johnson that struck the base of the right post in the 22nd minute.
The Americans finally nabbed the equalizer in the 39th minute when an Ireland turnover led to a long feed to forward Jozy Altidore at the right corner. The Sunderland man crossed to Wondolowski, who used a header to lay the ball off for Diskerud's leaping, right-footed, toe-poke goal.
The US will feel they should've gone into the break with a lead when they struck woodwork a second time in the 43rd minute. Bedoya crossed for Altidore in front of goal and the striker's left-footed shot took a deflection before clanging off the bar.
But the US came out of the locker room flat footed, and it cost them in the 55th minute. A Johnson giveaway deep in the US half of the field set up a another perfect McGoldrick feed to Brady for a 1-v-1 finish past Hamid and a 2-1 lead for the hosts.
The US nearly equalized again in the 67th minute when second-half substitute Bobby Wood got behind the Ireland defense on a long Hamid goal kick, but Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given pushed his attempt just wide.
Then Ireland put the game away in the 82nd minute thanks to a blistering run from Shane Long, whose well-taken shot clanged off the post. The rebound eventually made its way to McClean, whose stinging shot from just outside the box beat Hamid.
Brady added the final goal off a majestic set piece in the 86th minute.
The US caps 2014 with a 6-5-4 record and an even 20 goals scored and 20 allowed. But what will probably be most alarming to US fans is that 11 of those 20 goals conceded have come after the 80-minute mark in their last 11 games.