JOHANNESBURG (AP) - Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley scored in
a furious second-half comeback, giving the United States a 2-2 tie
against Slovenia on Friday that kept alive the Americans' chances
of advancing in the World Cup.
Slovenia, the smallest of the 32 nations in the tournament, took
a 2-0 lead when Valter Birsa caught goalkeeper Tim Howard
flat-footed to score in the 13th minute and Zlatan Ljubijankic
scored on a counterattack in the 42nd.
Donovan scored in the 48th minute and Michael Bradley, son of
U.S. coach Bob Bradley, tied the score in the 82nd.
Bradley scored when Jozy Altidore's header fell in the middle of
the penalty area. Running at full speed, Bradley caught up to it
just in front of the net and tapped it over Slovenia goalkeeper
Samir Handanovic's head.
Second-half sub Maurice Edu appeared to put the U.S. ahead in
the 86th, poking in close-range shot after Altidore headed
Donovan's free kick to him. But the goal was disallowed by referee
Koman Couilibaly of Mali, apparently for a foul before Edu got the
"I'm a little gutted to be honest," Donovan said. "I don't
know how they stole that last goal from us. I'm not sure what the
call was. He (the referee) wouldn't tell us what the call was."
Slovenia (1-0-1) leads Group C with four points and would have
qualified for the second round with a win.
The U.S. (0-0-2) is second with two points, followed by England
(0-0-1) with one point, pending its match against Algeria (0-1) in
Cape Town later Friday. The top two teams in the group advance.
"We know we're good enough to play against a team like that,"
Donovan said. "We can't keep putting ourselves in holes like that.
We've got one more chance against Algeria, and we're still alive."
A pro-U.S. crowd dressed in red, white and blue came to cheer
the Americans, who entered with an 0-5 record against Eastern
European nations in World Cup play.
It was a blustery 55 degrees at gametime in Ellis Park, where
the U.S. lost to Brazil 3-2 in last June's Confederations Cup final
after taking a two-goal lead into halftime.
Slovenia had two shots on goal in the first half and scored on
Birsa put the Green Dragons ahead when the American defense gave
him yards of space. His left-footed shot from 30 yards went in
without any attempt to stop it by Howard, who froze and may have
Jose Torres, who replaced Ricardo Clark in the one change among
American starters, nearly tied it in the 37th minute with a free
kick from the side of the penalty area that was parried out of play
Robbie Findley got a yellow card in the 40th minute for a hand
ball in Slovenia's penalty area, an automatic suspension for the
Algeria match because he also was cautioned against England.
The U.S. nearly tied it a minute later when Clint Dempsey
crossed toward Donovan inside the 6-yard box. But as Donovan was
about to redirect the ball in, Miso Brecko slid in and knocked the
ball away. Donovan skidded into the goal without the ball, and
several American players put their hands on their heads in
Slovenia quickly countered, Ljubijankic got behind Jay DeMerit
to come in alone on Howard and slid the ball under the goalkeeper.
Benny Feilhaber and Maurice Edu entered at the start of the
second half for Findley and Torres, with Dempsey pushing up to
forward. The U.S. quickly got a goal back.
Donovan took a pass down the right flank from Steve Cherundolo,
patiently took three touches and from an extreme close-in angle put
the ball over Handanovic into the roof of the net. With his 43rd
goal, Donovan extended his American scoring record.
Donovan's 22-yard free kick in the 70th bounced off the wall
into the middle, but Altidore's 12-yard shot went right at