52814_isi_dempseyclint_usmnt052714105 John Todd/isiphotos.com
Dispatch from San Francisco

Halftime Report: Dempsey Out, Diamond In, No Score

American Soccer Now's Jon Arnold is in the press box at Candlestick Park, and he has a few thoughts at the midway point of today's Send-Off Series opener. Note: Click on the slideshow below.
ASN Slideshow 52814_isi_usmnt_usmnt052714102
BY Jon Arnold Posted
May 27, 2014
7:57 PM
SAN FRANCISCO — Jurgen Klinsmann elected to deploy a 4-4-2 formation with a diamond midfield for the second consecutive friendly but was forced to do so without one of the forwards he was planning to utilize.

Clint Dempsey was a late scratch from the starting lineup with groin soreness. A U.S. Soccer spokesman said his omission was simply precautionary.

The diamond formation didn't lead to the same type of runaway success the U.S. experienced in the first half against Mexico when Klinsmann used it for the first time. Bradley still set up a number of opportunities and showed his talent but a goal wasn't forthcoming and the teams enter the break still knotted at 0-0.

Dempsey was replaced in the starting XI by Chris Wondolowski, who had a golden opportunity to score early when Graham Zusi’s fourth-minute free kick found the San Jose Earthquakes forward all alone, but the header was saved by goalkeeper Kamran Aghayev.

Bradley was the beneficiary of an opportunity in his advanced role in the 15th minute when Fabian Johnson could Jozy Altidore who laid the ball off for Bradley. Bradley went wide and the eventually earned a corner.

The U.S. took the resulting corner short and were able to get Wondo another free header from an Alejandro Bedoya, but his attempt was denied by a spectacular stop from Aghayev.

The 28th minute provided a good chance for the U.S. as Altidore got free on the left-hand side of the attack but when Altidore tried to put in a pass it deflected off defender Rasim Ramaldanov, drawing appeals for handball from the forwards.

The rest of the half played out with Berti Vogts’ side content to sit back and defend, but the Americans couldn’t break through the Milli defense for a tally. Though the Stars and Stripes controlled possession for much of the half, they were forced to defend a couple of lat corner kicks from the visitors.

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