November 14, 2012
SOME GOOD THINGS, SOME BAD
U.S. players hail comeback, but know they can't put themselves in situations to chase the game
KRASNODAR, Russia -- U.S. players were patting themselves on their collective backs for pulling off a 2-2 comeback tie in stoppage with Russia on Wednesday, but they weren't breaking their arms doing it.
|Michael Bradley: "We’re hard enough on ourselves to know that we have a year-and-a-half left to still take a few things up a notch.”
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
While they realized rallying twice late against a team that has not allowed a goal in World Cup qualifying was no easy task, the Americans knew they could not keep putting themselves in these situations.
“We know we have our determination and our fight," said goalkeeper Tim Howard, one of the heroes of the U.S. effort with six saves, some of them spectacular. "There were some good points. We were able to fight back and be resilient and find a goal or two when we needed it. The learning part of the game is just trying to cut back on some of the mistakes because at this level we gave them two chances that they didn’t create themselves and they took advantage of it. We have to learn from that and get better.”
Howard was talking about both goals the U.S. allowed Russia to score. A mistake by Danny Williams led to the Russians' first goal in the ninth minute and and penalty-kick call on defender Clarence Goodson gave the hosts an opportunity to grab a 2-1 lead in the 84th minute.
“It’s a strong group in terms of personality and character," Howard said. "We know we’ve got a lot of fight and a lot of heart. We’re still a pretty young team and we need to grow and get better and we will. At this level little mistakes cost. The good teams play a nearly perfect 90 minutes and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Mix Diskerud equalized for the Americans three minutes into stoppage.
"We did a good job of responding and finding a way to fight and claw our way back into it and I thought the end of the first half was very good and into the second half," said midfielder Michael Bradley, who scored the U.S.'s first equalizing goal in the 76th minute. "I think we deserved at least a point.”
Bradley has liked what he has seen from the U.S., but he realized there was still a long way to go.
"We’re moving ourselves forward," he said. "It’s a constant battle for respect and improvement. We’re honest with ourselves and see that a lot of things are going in the right direction, but we’re hard enough on ourselves to know that we have a year-and-a-half left to still take a few things up a notch.”