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March 3, 2010

Netherlands beats U.S. in warmup

Associated Press
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U.S. Falls Short
A late US rally falls just short against the Netherlands

AMSTERDAM -- DaMarcus Beasley may have boosted his World Cup chances. Jonathan Bornstein and Robbie Findlay did nothing to help theirs. And Stuart Holden joined the long U.S. injured list.

The United States fell flat in Europe once again, losing to the third-ranked Netherlands 2-1 Wednesday night in the Americans' last match before coach Bob Bradley picks his World Cup roster.

"We had some moments in the first half that were OK, but I don't think we put enough pressure on them," said U.S. midfielder Landon Donovan, who hardly touched the ball. "It took us too long in the second half before we made some real plays."

Dirk Kuyt converted a penalty kick in the 40th minute after Bornstein pulled on Wesley Sneijder's arm in the penalty area. Kuyt sent his kick to the right of goalkeeper Tim Howard, who dived the other way.

"We lost our concentration and it was a very bad time to give up a penalty," Bradley said.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar made it 2-0 in the 73rd minute with a shot that deflected off Bornstein's chest and left the already committed Howard with no chance to stop it.

U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra scored in the 88th minute, getting his 12th goal in 77 appearances by beating goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg to the top of the 6-yard box to head in Beasley's 35-yard free kick.

"They were all standing there, and they looked kind of confused, so I tried to take it as quickly as I could," Beasley said.

Beasley had a chance to tie it in the 90th, but his free kick from just outside the penalty area was easily grabbed by Stekelenburg at the far post.

"Especially as DaMarcus got into the flow of the game more, he was able to make some good runs forward," said Bradley, leading the team on his 52nd birthday. "You started to see his mobility and a little bit of his quickness. He had the confidence of being a threat and put defenders on their heels. Those are good things and, hopefully, they can be built upon."

Rejoining the national team for the first time since playing poorly in last June's Confederations Cup, Beasley entered in the 34th minute after Holden limped off with a bruised shin sustained from a hard challenge by Nigel de Jong. Holden, taken for X-rays, joined Clint Dempsey, Oguchi Onyewu, Ricardo Clark, Benny Feilhaber, Steve Cherundolo and Charlie Davies on the injured list.

Maurice Edu, Beasley's Glasgow Rangers, teammate, replaced Jose Torres at the start of the second half, Edu's first international appearance knee surgery last June.

Findlay was paired up front with Jozy Altidore at the start of the match, held exactly 100 days before the U.S. opener. Findlay was replaced in the 62nd minute by Alejandro Bedoya, and Eddie Johnson entered in the 76th for Donovan, playing a day shy of his 28th birthday.

Bradley now must deliberate over the 23-man roster he'll announce ahead of exhibitions against the Czech Republic (May 25 at East Hartford, Conn.) and Turkey (May 29 at Philadelphia). The Americans then head to South Africa, where they may have a June 5 exhibition against Australia before playing England on June 12 in their World Cup opener. They complete the first round against Slovenia and Algeria.

"We have a little more time where we're sizing up form and assessing injuries, but certainly there is a nucleus of guys," he said. "There are players who have played big roles throughout qualifying and players who continue to be in the picture for us. There are always going to be tough decisions. As a staff we're committed to seeing as many games as we can, and we have a lot of work to do to make sure we can make all the decisions that give us the best chance."

The 18th-ranked U.S. has lost its last five matches in Europe and is 4-19-3 on soccer's most powerful continent since April 1998, with three wins over Poland and one over Switzerland. The Dutch are 4-0 against the Americans, outscoring them 7-1.

"Certainly it was a good test for us, and I think overall the team played well," Bradley said. "The collective effort was pretty solid. There were moments where it needed to be sharper, quicker and better, and we still need to raise the bar."

NOTES: After getting booed by fans at halftime at Wembley, England rallied to beat Egypt as Peter Crouch scored twice and Shaun Wright-Phillips had a goal. ... Slovenia routed visiting Qatar 4-1 on goals by Milivoje Novakovic, Bostjan Cesar, Andraz Kirm and Bojan Jokic. ... Algeria lost 3-0 at home to Serbia, which started Neven Subotic, a 21-year-old defender, who grew up in Salt Lake City but opted against playing for the United States. ... The U.S. debuted new blue road jerseys with white sashes that harken back to the uniforms the Americans wore at the 1950 World Cup, where they upset England 1-0.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press