US tops Poland 1-0

Clint Dempsey scored an early second-half goal and the United States outlasted Poland in a snowstorm to win a friendly 1-0 on Wednesday.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:38 IST
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Clint Dempsey scored an early second-half goal and the United States outlasted Poland in a snowstorm to win a friendly 1-0 on Wednesday. The New England Revolution midfielder converted with a header from a meter in the 48th minute after Polish goalkeeper Artur Boruc. Boruc entered to start the second half, tried to punch away a cross from Eddie Lewis. Instead, the ball deflected off the head of US forward Taylor Twellman directly to Dempsey. "The defender thought the goalie was going to get it, and it caused him to hesitate a bit. And I was able to get behind him and get one in the back of the net," Dempsey said. Straight wins It was the fourth straight victory for the United States in its friendlies to prepare for the World Cup, and first with its European-based players. The Americans have earlier beaten Norway, Japan and Guatemala, all in the United States with a squad of players nearly entirely who play in Major League Soccer. By the midpoint of the second half, the swirling snow made heading the ball an adventure and trying to make cuts a dangerous proposition. In the final minutes, referee Thorsten Kinhofer even went to a yellow ball so it would contrast against the white blanket on the field. Weather woes The weather dictated play from midway through the second half at Fritz-Walter-Stadion, where the Americans return on June 17 to face Italy in their second World Cup game. It was the only time prior to May when all European clubs were required to release their players to national teams, and the Americans inserted many of their Europe-based regulars. Their only other scheduled World Cup warmup game in Europe is March 22 against Germany in Dortmund. "This loss was the first game in four months and you could see we're still lacking game form," Polish manager Pawel Janas said. "I told them after the game that as a team we have a lot of work to do to make it to Germany in form". Best chances Poland had the best opportunities through the first 30 minutes. US goalkeeper Kasey Keller twice diffused dangerous chances, rushing to the top of the penalty area to clear an approaching ball and leaping to slap away a corner kick. "We played the first half well technically," Polish defender Jacek Bak said. "Then we lost a goal and we stopped playing our game. "There was a mess on the field, snow falling and conditions weren't favourable for scoring goals, better for defending than scoring". Defender Oguchi Onyewu made a timely block of Miroslaw Szymkowiak's 15-yard attempt with Keller out of position. (AP)