United States earned a vital point as they battled to a 1-1 draw with Italy in a World Cup match with three sending-offs.
The Azzurri looked set to take a step closer to the second round when Alberto Gilardino scored his first goal of the World Cup in the 21st minute.
But the Americans capitalised on some uncharacteristically sloppy Italian defending to equalise four minutes later, with Cristian Zaccardo's poor clearance from Clint Dempsey's cross ending in his own net.
The game took a different turn when Italian midfielder Daniele De Rossi was sent off for a clear elbow on Brian McBride, while the Americans had Pablo Mastroeni and Eddie Pope dismissed either side of half-time.
Marcello Lippi's men failed to get out of first gear and paid the price for sitting back when they were ahead.
United States were unrecognisable from the shambolic outfit that had been beaten 3-0 by the Czech Republic in the opening match, although the Americans survived several late scares thanks to goalkeeper Kasey Keller's formidable saves from substitute Alessandro Del Piero's efforts.
Bruce Arena's decision to leave out midfielder DaMarcus Beasley and play Clint Dempsey instead proved a good move as the latter proved a nightmare for the Italian defence.
With just four minutes played Francesco Totti was booked for a late challenge on Dempsey as Italy were struggling to hold the United States' advances.
Shortly after, Dempsey curled in an inviting cross which Landon Donovan was unable to reach at the far post.
At the other end, Totti's free-kick towards the box found Fabio Cannavaro, whose header went narrowly wide of the far post.
Reading midfielder Bobby Convey should have given the Stars and Stripes a 16th-minute lead but his close-range effort from Dempsey's cross went off-target.
Two minutes later Dempsey came closest, with his 30-yard strike fizzing inches wide of Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon's right post.
Both misses proved costly for the Americans as Italy broke the deadlock seconds later. Andrea Pirlo's free-kick found Gilardino on the box, whose diving header towards the far post beat goalkeeper Keller.
Unlike their opening game, Arena's men hit back just four minutes later with the unfortunate Zaccardo putting into his own net.
De Rossi's sending-off did not appear to hinder the Azzurri as, on the half-hour mark, Luca Toni missed a golden chance to score his first goal of the tournament.
Pirlo's assist found an unmarked Toni, whose left-footed effort towards the far post went wide of the target.
Lippi made his first substitution in the 34th minute, with Gennaro Gattuso replacing a nervous Totti.
The Americans twice had the opportunity to take the lead before half-time, with Mastroeni's strike from the distance going narrowly over the crossbar and Reyna's effort from the edge of the area going wide.
Referee Jorge Larrionda showed the second red card of the game to Mastroeni for a harsh tackle on Pirlo.
Italy looked more lively after the re-start and they got a helping hand after Pope was shown the way to the changing room for a second bookable offence after a foul on Gilardino.
Pirlo almost made the Americans immediately pay with his curled free-kick going high over the crossbar.
USA were lucky not to go behind in the 53rd minute with Bocanegra's headed clearance from Pirlo's free-kick striking the crossbar.
Lippi made his second substitution two minutes later, with striker Del Piero replacing Zaccardo.
Italy wasted a good chance with Zambrotta getting the ball in the danger zone but no-one was there to get on the end.
The Americans continued to battle and Reyna picked up the ball in midfield and from 30 yards out fired wide.
Seconds later Simone Perrota wasted another opportunity with his close-range effort going high. On the hour Vincenzo Iaquinta took Toni's place in attack as Italy desperately looked for the winner.
But the Azzurri still looked fragile in defence and were lucky McBride failed to find a good finishing touch from Donovan's assist.
In the 65th minute Beasley, who had entered the pitch two minutes earlier had a goal disallowed for a clear offside.
Zambrotta almost put the Azzurri back in front but his right-footed volley went inches wide of Keller's left post.
Keller denied Italy's second with a superb save after Del Piero's first touch from Pirlo's wonderful assist, the Italian producing a stinging drive which the goalkeeper palmed away.
With four minutes remaining Iaquinta failed to find the target from close-range from Del Piero's deadly cross.
But time ran out for Italy as USA held on for a crucial point.