Recap and reaction: Czech Republic 0–1 USMNT

A youthful United States team ran out 1–0 winners in Prague on Wednesday, The first half saw the Americans look imposing and confident, scoring the go-ahead goal late on. The second half, spurred in part by U.S. subsitutions and in part by increased Czech energy, saw the Czech Republic take control of the match, putting the U.S. goal under near-constant pressure. However, the Czechs could not find a breakthrough, thanks in the main to an excellent goalkeeping display by second-half keeper Nick Rimando.

First half

The U.S. lineup for the first half: Brad Guzan; Fabian Johnson, Michael Orozco, John Brooks, Timmy Chandler; Alejandro Bedoya, Joe Corona, Mix Diskerud; Joe Gyau, Jozy Altidore (captain), Julian Green. While a relatively callow starting 11 compared to the Czechs, the Americans started the game looking comfortable and confident, and that would continue throughout.

The team, central midfielders Corona and Diskerud in particular, had been challenged by Jurgen Klinsmann to play with a little bit of bite and aggression, and so they did, making several legal but powerful tackles, fighting hard to regain the ball when without it and being tidy in possession. Diskerud perhaps took Klinsmann’s challenge too literally, committing several fouls.

The U.S., after 15 minutes, was looking the better side, but turnovers would give the Czechs opportunities. First in the 20th, then in the 33rd, the Czechs broke with pace, sending in dangerous crosses from the left. Brooks did very well to slide and get a foot on the first, and the second was just too far ahead of the Czech attacker, and the shot went into the side netting. Otherwise, however, the U.S. were the more attacking team.

It would take a Czech turnover, though, to get the U.S. the goal their approach play had been warranting. In the 39th, Petr Cech played a bouncing ball into central midfield. Diskerud pounced on the poor first touch of the Czech player and drove straight into the Czech box. His shot was well saved by Cech, but the ball fell kindly for the trailing Bedoya to sidefoot home.

The U.S. played out the rest of the half with ease, finishing the period with nearly a minute of calm possession. Of the U.S. players, Brooks, Diskerud, and Gyau all looked very strong, with good showings from Johnson and Altidore, as well.

Second half

Subs at the half: Tim Ream on for Orozco and Nick Rimando for Guzan. The U.S. team started almost as brightly as they finished the opening half, with first Bedoya forcing Cech into a save with a long-distance knuckler and then Green ripping a fierce drive from distance that deflected out for what should have been a corner but wasn’t given.

On the hour mark, however, the Czechs would serve notice of things to come, as Brooks got turned and gave away a free kick. The kick was poor, but not cleared well. Tomas Rosicky picked the ball up and played in Ladislav Krejci, forcing an impressive close-range kick save from Rimando. Shortly after, the U.S. made most of its substitutes, bringing on Greg Garza, Alfredo Morales, and Brek Shea for Chandler, Diskerud, and Corona, respectively. The change upset the balance of the game and the Czechs nearly took immediate advantage, as Gyau failed to deal with a back-post cross. The Czechs took the ball into the penalty area and got off a scrambled close-range effort that Rimando again did well to parry (it would become a theme). That save got picked up by the Czechs and sent back in, but the ball was cleared, only for it to be put back in again, with Rimando coming up with yet another save from close in.

The rest of the game played out as a series of Czech crosses and shots, with Rimando a brick wall in goal and the U.S. attack lacking the fluency of the first half. While the team recovered its aggression to some degree, the composure in possession that had marked the first half was gone, and the Czechs seemed a good bet to level the score.

Rimando made several important saves in this period, the most important coming in the 89th minute, when a ball from the Czech defense put a Czech attacker in behind the U.S. defense. Rimando somehow managed to make himself big and the Czech shot deflected past the post and out for a corner.

In the end, the Czechs could not find a way through the Real Salt Lake man’s forcefield and the U.S. earned a win when a draw would have been a fairer result.

U.S. verdict

Let youth be served: This was a very young U.S. squad but the way they played in the first half was impressive. Diskerud, Johnson, and Altidore were the experienced heads, but newbs like Gyau, Brooks, and Green all looked very lively.

But not too much: In the second half, the U.S. got even younger and less experienced, and it showed. Had the Czechs been more composed in front of goal, the U.S. would have drawn or lost. Still, a great learning experience for all.

Rimando MOTM: Nick Rimando may be technically second choice behind Brad Guzan, but he looked excellent, making six or more saves that preserved the win for the Americans. Guzan had far less to do, but there’s little else Rimando can do to state his claim for the starting spot.

Brooks catches the eye: Especially in the first half, John Brooks was everywhere, playing good defense and stepping into midfield to jump-start the attack. While he was perhaps too ambitious with his passing at times and in the second half forced back by Czech pressure, he looks more and more like a U.S. center back of the present, rather than the future.

Final thoughts

While this match had little objective meaning from an American perspective, Jurgen Klinsmann prepared his young squad well and they looked very good for 45 minutes. The second half deteriorated, but considering the team got a point away in Europe, that’s hardly something to be too concerned with. And, in Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando, the U.S. is well stocked in the goalkeeping department during Tim Howard’s absence and into the future.

12-Brad Guzan (22-Nick Rimando, 46); 23-Fabian Johnson, 4-Michael Orozco (5-Tim Ream, 46), 6-John Brooks, 21-Timmy Chandler (3-Greg Garza, 63); 11-Alejandro Bedoya (8-Emerson Hyndman, 67), 15-Joe Corona (13-Brek Shea, 63), 10-Mix Diskerud (2-Alfredo Morales, 63); 7-Joe Gyau, 17-Jozy Altidore (capt.), 16-Julian Green
Substitutions Not Used: 9-Jordan Morris, 14-Rubio Rubin, 18-Bobby Wood
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

Czech Republic
1-Petr Cech; 2-Pavel Kaderabek (17-Radim Reznik, 46), 5-Vaclav Prochazka, 3-Michal Kadlec, 8-David Limbersky; 22-Vladimir Darida (9-Borek Dockal, 79), 19-Petr Jiracek (13-Lukas Vacha, 46), 10-Tomas Rosicky (capt.); 6-Vaclav Pilar (12-Milan Petrzela, 46), 7-Ladislav Krejci (11-Daniel Pudil, 69), 20-Matej Vydra (14-Daniel Kolár, 46)
Substitutions Not Used: 4-Marek Suchy, 15-Ondrej Mazuch, 16-Tomás Vaclik, 18-Tomas Horava, 21-Josef Sural, 23-David Bicík
Head coach: Pavel Vrba

Scoring Summary
USA – Alejandro Bedoya — 39th minute

Stats Summary (USA / CZE)
Shots: 7 / 10
Shots on Goal: 5 / 5
Saves: 5 / 4
Corner Kicks: 4 / 5
Fouls: 8 / 5
Offside: 1 / 4

Misconduct Summary
USA – Alfredo Morales (caution) — 90th+1 minute

Referee: István Vad (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: Róbert Kispál (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Vencel Tóth (HUN)
Fourth Official: Petr Blažej (CZE)

Venue: Generali Arena; Prague, Czech Republic
Attendance: 12,642
Weather: 62 degrees, partly cloudy


  1. Came home from the Union game and am watching the first half of the US game. Was checking to see if the summary of the Union game was up yet when I saw this. Fortunately it was right after Bedoya scored. Guess I can go to bed now 🙂

  2. Klinsman declares semis are goal for 18 World Cup. Uh Jurgen your about 12 to 16 years premature. It’s the current 12 year olds who MAY be good enough, a radical overhaul in philosophy and recruiting and a whim and prayer. Semis in 18 that’s funny stuff. The US play was dreck in this World Cup- totally outplayed by Ghana, Germany, Belgium, Mexicans and Ticos- 3rd best team in CONCACAF.

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