The Games of the 29th Olympiad: Men’s Football, Group B: United States vs. Netherlands, Live Blog

I join in progress because it took me a while to wake up this morning, and because I’m watching online and had to download Silverlight.

Score’s 1-0 in favor of the Orange as we begin the second half.

This field looks pretty awful; it seems raggedy and more like turf than grass to me.

Penetration by a Dutch player and a foul by Oguchi Onyewu leads to a quick free kick from just outside the right box; it’s played beautifully to an open man on the far post, who puts it into the side of the net. Wasted chance or bullet dodged.

Some back-and-forth play; Americans are dropping like flies all over the place; someone named Holden is going to have a great chance to put it in the box.

Header by Brian McBride is on target but the Dutch keeper makes like Buffon in the 2006 World Cup to save it over the net.

Corner’s for naught, but the U.S. recovers the dribble, and smart passing gets them…well, a poor angle and an easily saved shot.

The U.S. certainly looks more aggressive; this isn’t quite the Dutch team, to me, that set Euro 2008 on fire with their uptempo style.

A comment on NBC’s video: “This game needs Jozy Altidore.” U.S. coach Bob Nowak has him on the bench if necessary.

Maurice Edu gets a well-deserved yellow for stomping on the Dutch keeper’s (Someone Vermeer) foot as part of a run on goal. Looked painful.

Someone named Rogers for the U.S. loses his second straight possession when a dreadlocked Drenthe for the Dutch (he’s been all over the field) flies in and draws a foul on a challenge.

The Americans are getting too-many-men-in-the-area syndrome. Rogers, again, has it down the side and does little but diddle around with it.

Nice-looking run for the U.S., but stymied. Another one draws a yellow; the commentary’s now leading the video.

Free kick, for Rogers, punched well by Vermeer. Some moves lead to an awful shot on the follow by U.S.’s Wynne.

As soon as I say they’re bunching up: U.S. turns a turnover by the Dutch in the corner into snappy short passing and a decent shot on goal (read: never going in) by McBride.

The Orange are pushing pace now, forcing the Americans back; the counter comes swiftly and all but a mishit pass was perfect on it.

GOAL!!! Great run by Sacha Kjiestan, beautiful passing all along it. The deke at the end set up a shot from within the box, and the keeper was helpless.

And Jozy Altidore comes in for the woefully ineffective Robbie Rogers. Suddenly, the U.S. has all the momentum.

Much danger in this Dutch free kick, but it sails up into the smog.

Another American chance evaporates thanks to good Dutch defense around the box.

Calvin Jong-A-Pin comes in for the Dutch. That’s a fantastic name.

We’ve hit the 70-minute mark and it’s tied at 1-1.

Altidore seems sluggish on his side; Rogers may have been kicking shins and such, but he was hustling. Jozy’s not.

Another run on the right side, keyed by Wynne, who has really been active and making runs from the back.

GOAL!!! AWESOME diligence and patience in the box, and Jozy with a kneed finish makes it 2-1!

Orozco stuck with it to the left of the net, and Jozy stuck his knee in just the right place to give the U.S. a one-goal advantage. Much to be proud of in that sequence, including Jozy’s hop-the-fence celebration.

The Dutch have to be in shock here.

And they’ll bring on two forwards, including Roy Makaay, hoping to get something back with fifteen minutes left before injury time.

Jozy almost gets another shot on goal, on a slip-sliding attempt on a 50-50 ball, but it gets deflected.

Nice takeaway by the U.S. leads to Jozy working in the box and getting the best shot possible. Americans are far more aggressive right now; you can see it in Freddy Adu bringing his cleat over the keeper and getting a yellow.

Vermeer painted an illusion, there: Adu never touched him, but the card comes out anyway. It’s Adu’s second yellow of the Olympics, and he’ll miss the next U.S. match, against Nigeria, for it.

Probably not a huge blow if the U.S. wins this match; they’ll be in the quarterfinals no matter what if this result holds, and figure to rest players if that’s the case.

Here comes Benny Feilhaber for Freddy Adu; it gets Adu out of his own way and puts in some possession and defense for these last ten minutes.

Scary game of air chicken around the U.S. box. It gets cleared to Altidore, who gets T-boned.

Dutch are pressing, but not taking shots, or sending deep balls that bounce harmlessly out. A lack of discipline on their part, coupled with rather impressive American creativity, is what they’ll blame later.

The Dutch chance is earned with some long-range passing, but the header isn’t even close to the net. Five minutes left.

U.S. controlling the ball in midfield, wasting clock. Also a stout defense around the box, denying chances. Good takeaway there.

NBC comment: “The Dutch don’t have a playmaker to create something so their (sic) reduced to booting balls in and praying.” Yeah, that’s about the size of it.

Obviously, this isn’t a full-strength Dutch team.

Another chance for the U.S., but the shot goes wide or the pass goes long, whichever you like.

This is a really pared-down Dutch team (peep the roster here), but it’s still rough to lose a second-half lead and then fall behind, especially to a country you would whip at full strength.

Three minutes of injury time, but it’s going to be longer, given an injury just began the period. Michael Bradley just got a yellow for delaying; never seen that called at any level before, but he’ll miss Nigeria, too.

A foul right outside the box is going to give the Dutch a golden chance, here. A yellow on Holden for the U.S. is deserved; he threw his legs into the man on the tackle.

Here we go, a chance to tie.

GOAL!!! Gerald Sibon hits a turf-burner that slithers in past Brad Guzan, out of position, and under a wall that jumped over it.

And at full time, shockingly, it’s 2-2, and the Americans are back in a tough position just moments after it seemed they would be set for the quarters.

Quoting NBC: “The Dutch dodge a major bullet and now the Americans head into a tough match against Nigeria without Freddy Adu and Michael Bradley, who will both be out due to yellow cards.”

That’s about the size of it; a goal in the third minute of extra time squanders the Americans’ chance to play Nigeria wounded and resting. Now, they’ll have to take on a tough, athletic team without Adu and Bradley, who both factored into this result, and they need a win to secure a place in the quarters.

Should they tie Nigeria, it seems likely there will be a three-way tie in the group, as winless Japan is probably no match for the Dutch.

The tie’s a good result, one they would have taken coming in, but one they must be shaking their heads over coming out.

Back in thirty for a basketball live blog: the U.S. will make its Olympic debut against China, in a game rumored to draw 1 billion viewers worldwide.


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Filed under Live Blogs, Olympics, Soccer

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