The U.S. Men's National Team held on to tie Switzerland 1-1 at Stadion Letzigrund Tuesday in Zurich.
Jurgen Klinsmann opted to field a 4-4-2 diamond formation, with Gyasi Zardes paired alongside Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley stationed at the top of the diamond.
The formation switch appeared to be effective, as the U.S. were the better team the first half, comfortably spraying the ball around the midfield and creating several dangerous chances. Alejandro Bedoya glided down the right flank with space and found Zardes on the far post, but his left footed volley was high.
In the 27th minute, Altidore dribbled across the 18-yard box before intelligently slipping in Bedoya. Bedoya cut the ball back to Bradley, who should have finished but also shot high.
The Swiss were lackadaisical in the first half, possibly still recovering from a Euro 2016 qualifier -- methodically possessing the ball in the back but unable to penetrate the American defense. Their best chance came when Inter Milan attacker Xherdan Shaqiri came in from the left and crossed low to forward Admed Metmedi, who made a dangerous run 6 yards from goal but whiffed in front of net with pressure from Brek Shea.
Right before halftime, the U.S. scored on a magnificent free kick from Shea.
GOLAZO!! Brek Shea. #USMNT up 1-0. #USAvSUI https://t.co/Y19UDoI8v5— Upper 90 Soccer (@u90soccer) March 31, 2015
The U.S. started strong after the break, with Zardes beating Swiss keeper Roman Burki to a popped up ball but the header was over the bar. In the 52nd minute, Timmy Chandler played a wicked give-and-go, raced down the right sideline and whipped in a swerving cross Burki athletically punched away to Michael Bradley inside the box, but a defender poked it away before he could shoot.
The Swiss also came to play in the second half, and started to put pressure on the U.S. defense.
The match turned on its head when Altidore was sent off with 20 minutes left to play, foolishly mouthing off to the referee after a rough foul on Francois Moubandje and earning two yellows in quick succession.
The Swiss continued to pile on the pressure, with Shaqiri striking a beautiful curling cross that beat substitute goalkeeper William Yardbrough, only for Valon Behrami to agonizingly head the ball over by inches from very close range.
In the 80th minute, Swizerland equalized. A Swiss corner kick deflected to Valentin Stocker inside the box, who made no mistake and poked the ball home.
Satisfied with the comeback, Switzerland still pushed forward but did not manage to create another serious opportunity.
How was Gyasi's performance? For a young player who is still continuing to settle into the national team, I liked what I saw. Of course his touches were wayward at times, but that's to be expected as he still adjusts to the speed of the international game. Once Gyasi started to keep the game simple, he looked more comfortable out there.
What did you think of Zardes vs. the Swiss?