Gonzalez’s Second-Half Brace Pushes Chile Past USMNT



Gonzalez’s Second-Half Brace Pushes Chile Past USMNT

Report by Sean Maslin

Analysis: New blood smooths over continued tactical bewilderment for Klinsmann’s Yanks

Second chances in football are few and far between.

Especially at the international level, once a player becomes out of favor it can be difficult to get back in their manager’s good graces. Wednesday night’s match between Chile and the United States was a perfect example of players making the most out of their opportunities. Although Brek Shea and Jozy Altidore started 2015 off right, it was Chile’s Mark Gonzalez who led his side to the 3-2 victory.

Although January friendlies are typically known for their stilted play and lack of goals, Chile and the United States defied this trend. From the start of the first match both teams an energetic attacking brand of football. In just the 2nd minute of the match, Chilean defender Erick Pulgar hit a shot that looked promising but just went wide of the goal.

Chile might have had the first shot on goal, but it was the United States that struck first. After a foul on USA forward Clint Dempsey in the 6th minute, midfielder Michael Bradley laid a free kick into Chilean territory where wing-back Brek Shea volleyed home the goal. It was Shea’s first goal with the United States since July 2013 in the Gold Cup Final

Despite being up a goal, the United States was not safe. Chile, whose style emphasizes pace and speed on the outside, continuously forced the U.S. defenders into retreat and often into a dangerous game of cat and mouse. In the 10th minute Chilean midfielder Roberto Gutierrez slipped past U.S. center-back Matt Besler and buried the tying goal. The goal was Gutierrez’s fourth for Chile.

With the lead lost, the United States pushed back. Under the 3-5-2 formation with Shea as a wing-back the United States were able to flood the Chilean defense and set up several strong opportunities. In the 14th minute U.S. midfielder DeAndre Yedlin’s shot went just wide of the post after having received a direct pass inside from Bradley.

U.S.A.’s open play would finally pay off in the 30th minute when forward Jozy Altidore would finish off a pass by midfielder Mix Diskerud to take the 2-1 advantage. The goal would be Altidore’s twenty-seventh with the United States and his first since making the move back to MLS after having played in Sunderland.

After a first-half of fast, entertaining football the United States seemed to lose their confidence in the second-half. A Michael Bradley shot off the cross-bar in the 61st minute almost gave the United States the two goal advantage.

But while Klinsmann’s 3-5-2 formation might have helped on the attack, it left them susceptible to Chile on the counter-attack and on the outside.

Just four minutes after Bradley’s shot nearly put the game away, Chilean midfielder Marco Medell found forward Mark Gonzalez on the left flank. Using a dummy by Gutierrez, Gonzalez was able to surge past the U.S. defense and hit his shot past goalkeeper Nick Rimando to level the match at 2-2. The goal was Gonzalez’s first since the 2010 World Cup when he scored Chile’s only goal in their 1-0 defeat of Switzerland.

Gonzalez was not done though. Just ten minutes later, he would finish a rebound off of a diving save by Rimando to give Chile the 3-2 lead and the eventual victory. The play was set up by a cracking strike by Medell from just beyond the top of the penalty box. Rimando made an excellent save but was unable to retain possession and was not helped out by a listless USA defense.

The United States would have one last chance in the 77th minute when midfielder Lee Nguyen would hit a shot that was on target but went just wide of the right side of the post.

For Chile, this was their first victory against the United States since 1994. Jorge Sampaoli’s side currently does not have any other friendlies scheduled before starting the Copa Americain June but the team is likely to pick a few up during the next international window.

The United States meanwhile will look to rebound in two weeks time when they host Panama in Los Angeles. That match will be played on February the 8th at 4pm EST on ESPN.





United States- Nick Rimando, Nick Besler, Jermaine Jones, Steve Birnbaum, Michael Bradley, Brek Shea, Mix Diskerud (Will Trapp 59′,) Deandre Yedlin, Clint Dempsey (Gyassi Zardes 69′,) Jozy Altidore (Chris Wondlowski 75′,) and Bobby Wood (Lee Nguyen 45′).

Goals- Shea (6′) and Altidore (30′)

Yellow Cards- Bradley (36′,) Wood (45′ +2′,) Nguyen (50′,) Jones (52′,) Besler (71′,) and Shea (88′)

Chile- Johnny Herrera, Osvaldo Gonzalez, Jose Rojas, Juan Cornejo, Erick Pulgar, Gonzalo Espinoza (Gonzalo Fierro 72′,) Diego Valdes (Juan Delgado 59′,) Marco Medel (Paolo Diaz 79′,) Bryan Carrasco, Roberto Gutierrez (Andres Vilches 90+1′) and Mark Gonzalez (Angelo Sagal 90+1′).

Goals- Gutierrez (10′) and Gonzalez (66′ and 76′)

Yellow Card- Rojas (43′)


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