U.S. rallies to tie Slovenia in World Cup

Americans stay alive after coming back from 2-0 deficit, but would-be game-winning goal disallowed by referee

Published June 18, 2010 4:08PM (EDT)

Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley scored in a furious second-half comeback, giving the United States a 2-2 tie against Slovenia on Friday that kept alive the Americans' chances of advancing in the World Cup.

Slovenia, the smallest of the 32 nations in the tournament, took a 2-0 lead when Valter Birsa caught goalkeeper Tim Howard flat-footed to score in the 13th minute and Zlatan Ljubijankic scored on a counterattack in the 42nd.

Donovan scored in the 48th minute and Michael Bradley, son of U.S. coach Bob Bradley, tied the score in the 82nd.

Second-half sub Maurice Edu appeared to put the U.S. ahead in the 86th, poking in a 12-yard shot after Jozy Altidore headed Donovan's free kick to him. But the goal was disallowed by referee Koman Couilibaly of Mali, apparently for a foul before Edu got the ball.

"I still don't know why the goal was disallowed," Bob Bradley said after the match.

Slovenia (1-0-1) leads Group C with four points and would have qualified for the second round with a win.

The U.S. (0-0-2) is second with two points, followed by England (0-0-1) with one point, pending its match against Algeria (0-1) in Cape Town later Friday. The top two teams in the group advance.

A pro-U.S. crowd dressed in red, white and blue came to cheer the Americans, who entered with an 0-5 record against Eastern European nations in World Cup play.

It was a blustery 55 degrees at gametime in Ellis Park, where the U.S. lost to Brazil 3-2 in last June's Confederations Cup final after taking a two-goal lead into halftime.

By Ronald Blum

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