Plucky Scots earn USA draw
By Lewis Rutledge. Last Updated: 12/11/05 6:07pm
Scotland conceded an early goal but came back to draw 1-1 with USA.
Both sides took the game seriously, and Scotland did well to recover after being outplayed in the early stages, but there was little for the fans to shout about in an encounter which lacked many goalmouth incidents.
USA have been in fine form of late, breezing through World Cup qualification, and they were rewarded for a bright start when they took an early lead.
DaMarcus Beasley sprinted into the box and received an incisive pass from Josh Wolff, but before he could get a shot away he was bundled over by Christian Dailly.
A penalty was rightly given, although Dailly was reprieved when he was only shown a yellow card. Kansas City Wizards striker Wolff calmly dispatched the spotkick into the bottom left corner, sending Craig Gordon the wrong way on nine minutes.
Gregg Berhalter nearly doubled the advantage moments later, curling a low free kick from just outside the area round the Scottish wall, only to be denied by a scrambling save from Gordon.
Scotland gradually came back into the game and started to enjoy their fair share of possession, but they lacked penetration and did not have a meaningful shot on goal until they surprisingly levelled after 37 minutes.
After earning a free kick out on the left wing, Graham Alexander crossed in an accurate ball that lacked pace, and Andy Webster did well to hold off a half hearted challenge by Brian Ching and guide his header into the corner of the goal, giving Kasey Keller no chance.
The goal lifted the crowd and spurred Scotland on, and for the first time in the match USA looked rattled.
Garry O'Connor flashed a header over from a Neil McCann cross, and there was a greater urgency in their play.
USA always looked threatening on the break, though, and nearly regained the lead on the stroke of half time after a fast counter attack, culminating in Ching cutting the ball back for his strike partner Wolff, who stroked his shot just wide.
The second half began at a high tempo, with both sides pressing for the next goal. The lively Beasley was a constant danger for the visitors, and went close to scoring when his goalbound effort was blocked.
The half was punctuated by substitutions which took some of the quality out of the tie, but the competitive nature remained until the final whistle.
Smith decided to throw on several of his young players, and there were promising cameos from Scott Brown and Shaun Maloney.
There were few clear cut opportunities, USA looking very solid at the back and Scotland working hard to close down every ball.
Gary Caldwell struck a fierce shot from distance that flew over the bar, and James McFadden's willingness to run with the ball posed problems, while at the other end Gordon had to be alert to keep out Jonathan Spector 30 yard drive.
In the dying stages Brown did put the ball in the net but was adjudged to have been offside when he was played through.
Overall a draw was a fair result, but Smith will take few positives from a Scotland performance that was below their best.
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Scotland v USA
|Scotland||Team Statistics||United States|
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|1||Shots on Target||5|
|2||Shots off Target||7|
Sat 12th Nov
Korea Rep2 - 2Sweden
Finland2 - 2Estonia
S. Africa2 - 3Senegal
Bulgaria6 - 2Georgia
Liechtenstein1 - 2Macedonia
Belarus3 - 1Latvia
Scotland1 - 1USA
Argentina2 - 3England
Romania1 - 2Ivory Coast
U.A.E0 - 8Brazil
Holland1 - 3Italy
France0 - 0Germany
Portugal2 - 0Croatia