U.S. Stages Second-Half Comeback To Tie Slovenia

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

been screened.

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

by Handanovic.

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


(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)