U.S. Ties England in World Cup Opener

By Tim Persinko
|  Saturday, Jun 12, 2010  |  Updated 5:41 PM EDT
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The United States came out of their first match in this year's World Cup with a tie that felt like a win.

The American squad led by Landon Donovan walked out of the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in South Africa to chants of "U-S-A," having battled cross-pond soccer powerhouse England to a 1 - 1 draw.

Midfielder Clint Dempsey, who scored the solo goal for the United States, said after the match to ESPN, "This means we still have a chance to advance out of the group."

The United States did not advance out of the initial round of group play in the 2006 World Cup tournament.

Underdog Team USA effectively put the brakes on a potent English attack.  Brit forward Wayne Rooney, who proclaimed to the English papers that his squad was "not scared of anyone," was held to one shot on goal.  The English captain, Steven Gerrard played an explosive first half but was nearly invisible for the second.

The United States, wearing dark blue, only got off 12 shots to England's 18.  The equalizer, arriving forty minutes into the first half, came on what ABC announcer Martin Tyler called, "one of the softest goals you will ever see." 

Clint Dempsey let loose a left-footed strike at the center of the net from 25 yards out.  Although the play should have been routine for England's goalkeeper Robert Green, the ball squirted out of his hands and gently rolled into the net.

"Hey, they all count the same when they go in," Dempsey said.

The first goal of the game came after only three and a half minutes.  England's Gerrard found a wide gap in the edge of U.S. defense and blew by a flat-footed Ricardo Clark, blasting a low shot to beat American keeper Tim Howard.  Allowing early scores in World Cup play has been an epidemic for American squads.

Despite giving up the quick score, Howard proved stout for the rest of the match, holding off a late game fusillade of shots by the Brits.  Howard was named Man of the Match.

The Americans will now take the next week to prepare for their June 18 match with Slovenia, and then will meet Algeria on June 23.

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