The US Men’s Soccer team faced the powerhouse Italians on Leap Day and escaped with a 1-0 victory. The win against the four-time FIFA World Cup champion was the first in U.S. history, breaking a previous 10-game losing streak against Italy that dated back to 1934. The match was played at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Genoa, Italy.
“We are really pleased with the game and with the result,” U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. “If you beat Italy on its own soil, then that means a lot. For us, the goal was to come here to learn. The challenge that this game gave us, especially on the tactical side – to read the game ahead, to think one step ahead – for our players, it was big. It was a big step for them to be constantly on high alert for 90 minutes.”
Clint Dempsey scored early in the second half and the US never relinquished the lead despite several chances for Italy to tie it up. Dempsey’s game-winning goal came from the left side as Fabian Johnson crossed the ball in to Jozy Altidore. With his back turned to the goal, Altidore touched the ball back toward the top of the box where Dempsey ripped a right-footed strike beating a pair of Italian defenders and the goalie to sneak into the lower corner of the net.
Dempsey is only the 4th player in US Soccer history that has scored a goal against Italy. Also, that goal moves Dempsey to fourth all time on the US scoring list with 25 goals wearing the US colors. The Italian team controlled the ball for a majority of the game and had several solid chances only to be stopped by US goalie Tim Howard. This win gives the US three straight shutout victories in 2012. The next two games for the US will be on home soil, taking on Scotland on May 26 in Jacksonville, Florida, and then playing on May 30th against Brazil in Landover, Maryland.