U.S. men lose 2-0 to Ukraine
Ukraine beat the U.S. men’s team 2-0 in an exhibition soccer match played in Cyprus.
The Associated Press
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LARNACA, Cyprus – One banner in the stands read “Ukraine is Undivided!” on the top and “One Country — One Team!” on the bottom. Ukrainian fans sang their nation’s anthem in the final moments, and some broke into a chant of “No war in Ukraine!” after the final whistle.
A small contingent of Ukrainian fans had a couple hours to forget about their nation’s troubles, wave flags and unite amid a political crisis back home. Ukraine eased past the United States 2-0 on Wednesday in an exhibition match shifted from Kharkiv to a Mediterranean island nation 600 miles to the south.
“We’re disappointed with the result,” said U.S. captain Clint Dempsey, who plays for Sounders FC of Major League Soccer. “We just have to do a better job and learn from our mistakes.”
Andriy Yarmolenko scored in the 12th minute and Marko Devic connected in the 68th minute as Ukraine exposed the shaky American central defense of Oguchi Onyewu and John Anthony Brooks.
Ukraine’s players linked arms on shoulders during the national anthem of their nation, which has been disrupted by political protests followed by Russia’s military intervention. Players in both starting lineups bowed their heads as they stood on the field before the match for a moment of silence for the victims of violence in Ukraine.
The crowd of 1,573 at Papadopoulos Stadium, which has a capacity of about 10,000, was so small players could be heard talking with each other during the match.
“Of course, we do it for our supporters, for our country,” Ukraine coach Mykhailo Fomenko said of the victory.
“I asked to make our people happy. We had to show that we’re all united.”
At 18th, Ukraine is the highest-ranking nation that failed to qualify for this year’s 32-team World Cup in Brazil.
• The defending champion U.S. women’s team and Japan played to a 1-1 draw in their first Group B match at the Algarve Cup in Parchal, Portugal.
Seattle Reign FC players were prominent, as Sydney Leroux scored in the 59th minute and goalkeeper Hope Solo, a former Washington Huskies standout from Richland, made three saves.