The U.S. Men's National Team came back twice before a Steve Birnbaum header won the game late as the U.S. defeated Iceland 3-2 on a cold Sunday afternoon at the StubHub Center.
Today's starting XI for #USAvISL: Robles; Evans, Orozco, Besler, Acosta; Bradley (c), Jones, Finlay, Nguyen; Zardes, Altidore— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) January 31, 2016
Iceland drew first blood in the 13th minute. A weak clearance by Matt Besler led to a chance for former Columbus Crew winger Kristinn Stiendorsson inside the area, and his shot deflected off defender Michael Orozco and past a helplessly sprawling Robles for the opener.
Lee Nyugen was active early, drifting centrally and creating opportunities for the Americans. Zardes should have scored when Nyugen collected a ball from Bradley and dribbled right before placing a pinpoint cross to Gyasi from close range, but the Galaxy forward's header hit the turf and just bounced over the crossbar.
Soon afterwards, the US equalized thanks to a brilliant passing sequence. Jermaine Jones slyly located Zardes up top, who's quick one-touch to Michael Bradley gave the Toronto FC midfielder time and space to slip Jozy Altidore past a flat footed defense, and Altidore deftly chipped over the onrushing keeper to level the match.
As the rain gave way to sunshine, the game settled down somewhat as neither team could manage to seriously threaten offensively.
However, things picked up quickly in the second half as Iceland once again went ahead. Aron Sigurdarson received the ball on the left corner of the 18-yard box and probed inside before firing a quick curler that Robles had no chance of stopping.
The Americans were not deterred, and after some sustained pressure, the US found their second. Off a corner kick, Jozy Altidore brought down the clearance before lifting another cross into a crowded box, and substitute Steve Birnbaum squared a header to an onrushing Michael Orozco who headed home.
Darlington Nagbe was inches away from scoring late when Jerome Kiesewetter dangerously squared to the wide-open playmaker, but his outstretched right foot was unable to sufficiently redirect the cross.
Luckily, the miss turned out to be a moot point: In the 90th minute, Steve Birnbaum powerfully headed home a Michael Bradley restart to steal the game late.
The US face a quick turnaround, as the Americans next play Canada this Friday, once again at the StubHub Center.