Frustrating loss against Austria ends stellar year for U.S.

IMAGE, USSOCCER.COM

VIENNA | The U.S. Men’s National Team ended their stellar 2013 campaign on a down note with a disappointing 1-0 loss to Austria.

A Marko Janko goal in the 33rd minute was all Austria would need as the U.S. struggled to find the back of the net for the second straight game.

That’s not to say they didn’t have chances. In fact, they should have been awarded a goal in the 17th minute. Defender Geoff Cameron found himself at the end of a corner kick, sending a downward shot on frame that seemed to brush the hand of midfielder Marko Arnautovic. The ball was then pawed out of the net in mid-air by keeper Robert Almer, apparently over the line.

The referee did not see it that way as play continued.

The rain-soaked field caused problems for both sides, but Austria managed the better control of play, eventually leading to their go-ahead game winner. György Garics found space behind the loose defending of DaMarcus Beasley, allowing him to place a cross just in front of a slow-reacting John Brooks and to the feet of Janko for the lead.

Austria conceded the lion’s share of possession to the U.S. in the second half, but the visiting Yanks could not find the final dagger or the tying goal for that matter. The insertion of Mix Diskerud to the attacking midfield slot in place of Aron Johannsson helped spark the team up front, but wouldn’t be enough to push the U.S. into a positive position. Eddie Johnson also entered the match for Brek Shea who had a pedestrian showing, followed by Terrance Boyd for Jermaine Jones. The German-American, who calls Ernst-Happel-Stadion home while playing with his club team Rapid Vienna, took a strike that sailed high on frame minutes after his insertion.

Both team’s had a final gasp chance on net with Jozy Altidore booting his shot wide and Tim Howard stopping Andreas Ivanschitz on the left side of the box in the dying minutes.

The loss would only be the second in six matches and fourth on a memorable year for the U.S. The team managed a record 16 victories in all competitions, finishing atop the Hexagonal, winning the Gold Cup while clinching a berth to the World Cup next year.