USA 3, Iceland 2 | International Friendly Match Recap
The US national team came back twice before earning a late 3-2 victory in a friendly against Iceland at StubHub Center in Carson, California. Steve Birnbaum's header in the 90th minute – his first international strike – which came off a Michael Bradley free kick, sealed the win.
Michael Orozco and Jozy Altidore, the latter of whom was outstanding on the day, also scored for the US. MLSers Ethan Finlay and Kellyn Acosta earned their first caps as starters, later joined by Crew SC's Tony Tchani and VfB Stuttgart's Jerome Kiesewetter as debutants. New England Revolution No. 10 Lee Nguyen earned his first start (7 caps).
Former Columbus Crew SC midfielder Kristinn Steindórsson opened the scoring in the 13th minute, when Matt Besler's clearance popped up and Steindórsson's shot deflected off Orozco; US goalkeeper Luis Robles had committed to a right-side dive to intercept the original trajectory, and the ball brushed back to his left.
Yet the US needed only 7 minutes to equalize with a well-coordinated attack. Jermaine Jones, at the midfield circle, began dribbling upfield while directing traffic. He spotted Gyasi Zardes to his left, and a quick pass was redirected back toward center, with Bradley collecting and slipping a lead pass between two defenders as Altidore raced around one to the spot for the conversion.
The second half opened with Iceland taking advantage of some US confusion after quick-playing an awarded free kick in the 48th minute. A few passes opened up a clear lane for Aron Sigurdarson, who fired a rocket into the upper 90 at the far post, with little chance for Robles to deflect.
Yet again the Yanks wasted little time in responding. After Altidore earned a free kick on the left wing, his shot was deflected over the back line. The first corner came up empty, but a subsequent attempt was headed out to Altidore, again on the left wing. He chipped the ball across the box, where it found Birnbaum's head on the right side. The D.C. United defender – in retrospect, portending bigger things to come – directed the ball to Orozco across the goalmouth, where he sent it into the back of the net for a second equalizer.