CLEVELAND (May 29, 2013) – On a night where DaMarcus Beasley earned his 100th cap for his country, the U.S. Men’s National Team fell 4-2 to 15th-ranked Belgium in an international friendly at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The U.S. got on the scoreboard with Geoff Cameron’s first international goal and Clint Dempsey’s late penalty kick, but dropped its lifetime record against the Belgians to 1-4-0 dating back to 1930.
The USA next faces Germany on Sunday, June 2, at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., for its Centennial Celebration Match as U.S. Soccer commemorates its 100-year anniversary. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, WatchESPN and UniMas.
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. The Ft. Wayne, Ind., native broke through into the National Team fold before the 2002 FIFA World Cup and has gone on to earn the majority of his caps as a wide midfielder during a well-traveled career.
Since coming back into the National Team, Beasley started his third-consecutive game as an outside left back for Jurgen Klinsmann, a testament to the resurgent veteran’s tenacity and versatility.
Belgium was the stronger team from the outset, taking the lead in the sixth minute. Kevin De Bruyne played a through ball for the streaking Romelu Lukaku. U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard did well to come off his line and poke the ball clear, but Belgium winger Kevin Mirallas reacted quickest to the loose ball. The forward executed the most exquisite of chips from 15 yards to strand Howard and give his side the lead.
Belgium showed their class throughout the night with some impressive passing sequences, but the U.S. seized on its one major chance, tying the game from a well worked set piece. Graham Zusi hit a corner to the far post where Clint Dempsey rose highest to head it back across the goal. The U.S. captain’s effort completely befuddled the Belgian defense, and Cameron, stationed at the far post, headed home a simple finish from four yards to level the score.
Belgium regained the lead in the 56th minute when a poor Omar Gonzalez clearance was pounced on by De Bruyne. He quickly squared the ball across the goal to substitute Christian Benteke who was wide open and able to tap home easily from six yards out. Benteke, teammates of Brad Guzan at Aston Villa, finished in fourth place in scoring in the Premier League with 19 goals.
Marouane Fellaini doubled the advantage in the 64th minute, heading home another service from De Bruyne, and then seven minutes later Benteke grabbed his second, flicking home a deft one-timed finish after a defense-splitting pass from Steven Defour.
The USA finished the game’s scoring with a late penalty kick. Eddie Johnson’s cross was handled by Alderweireld, and Dempsey made no mistake from the spot with a cool finish to the goalkeeper’s right in the 80th minute.
Following the Centennial Celebration Match in Washington, D.C., the USA faces a rare 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.
- Stuart Holden came on as a late substitute, replacing Sacha Kljestan in the 81st minute. It was Holden’s first appearance for the USA since Oct. 12, 2010, a 0-0 draw against Colombia.
- 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.
- Sacha Kljestan earned his first start under Klinsmann, lining up against the country where he plays his club ball for Anderlecht.
- Graham Zusi played in his first international match against a team from Europe.
- Michael Bradley, Fabian Johnson and Danny Williams will all join the U.S. team in Washington D.C. on Thursday.
-U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report-
- See more at: http://www.ussoccer.com/news/mens-national-team/2013/05/usa-falls-to-belgium.aspx#sthash.y6zvjeN1.dpuf