Switzerland 1, USA 1 | International Friendly Match Recap
The US men’s national team dropped another result in the final minutes on Tuesday, giving up one more late goal – this one in the 80th minute – to draw Switzerland 1-1 in a friendly played at Stadion Letzigrund in Zurich.
Unlike previous matches, which had seen a full strength USMNT give up late goals to tie or lose games, the Americans conceded after going down a man on Tuesday. Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore was sent off in the 68th minute after being shown consecutive yellow cards, first for a foul, then for dissent.
Orlando City SC left back Brek Shea gave the US the lead in the 45th minute, beautifully curling a 25-yard free kick into the top right corner to give the Yanks the advantage.
The US couldn’t make the goal stand up though, allowing Valentin Stocker to poke home a loose ball inside the six-yard box following a corner kick 12 minutes after Altidore’s ejection. The goal was the eighth the US has conceded in the 80th minute or later in their last eight matches, and the third such goal in their last two games after allowing an 83rd-minute equalizer and a stoppage-time winner in last week’s 3-2 loss at Denmark.
US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann made three changes to the lineup that fell at the Danes, inserting Shea at left back for Greg Garza and plugging Danny Williams and Alfredo Morales into the midfield for Fabian Johnson and forward Aron Johannsson, who missed the match due to illness and infection, respectively.
Klinsmann also changed the shape of his midfield, switching from a flat four to a diamond formation. The tactical shift moved LA Galaxy attacker Gyasi Zardes from the wing to forward, pushed Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley into more of an attacking role and sent Alejandro Bedoya from a central midfield spot to the outside. Williams slotted in at holding mid and Morales played opposite Bedoya in one of the wide positions.
The changes paid off early, with Bedoya giving the Swiss plenty of problems down the right side. The FC Nantes attacker was at the heart of the USA’s first chance, collecting a Timmy Chandler through ball in the 15th minute and racing into space on the right flank before whipping in an early cross that an open Zardes volleyed high and wide.
Bedoya was at it again in the 27th, running onto an Altidore through ball in the right side of the area and cutting a ball back to Bradley at the top of the six. But Toronto FC's Designated Player couldn’t keep his effort on frame, sending his first time shot well over the bar.
Bedoya had a chance of his own in the 32nd, running onto Shea’s bouncing cross at the penalty spot and heading a shot on target that Swiss ‘keeper Roman Burki held with relative ease.
The Swiss should’ve taken the lead in the 39th minute. Inter Milan attacker Xherdan Shaqiri created the chance, collecting a through ball on the left wing and rolling a cross to Admir Mehmedi at the top of the six yard box. Thankfully for the US, Mehmedi couldn’t redirect his shot on frame, barely getting a touch on the ball and not troubling Real Salt Lake ‘keeper Nick Rimando with the effort.
Shea gave the US the lead on the stroke of halftime, smashing a left-footed free kick over the wall and into the top right corner from 25 yards out.
The US started the second half strongly, generating solid opportunities in the 49th and 52nd minutes. Zardes had the first chance, beating Burki to a high ball in the box but heading his contested shot just wide of the left post. Bradley had the second look, collecting a poor Burki punch at the top of the box before having the ball poked away from behind while he was winding up for a shot.
Switzerland controlled things after Altidore’s red card, challenging the US defense – which was backstopped by international debutant and halftime goalkeeper sub William Yarbrough – with some sustained pressure.
They finally broke through in the 80th minute. Midfielder Granit Xhaka started the play, collecting a return pass following his short corner and whipping a ball into the area. The US couldn’t quite clear the danger, with Stocker eventually pouncing on a loose ball inside the six-yard box and poking his shot past the Mexican-American Yarbrough to equalize.
The USMNT is now 1-2-1 in 2015, losing at Chile and beating Panama in January and February before falling at Denmark last week and tying Switzerland on Tuesday. They return to action two weeks from Wednesday, taking on Mexico in a showdown in San Antonio on April 15.