The lone goal of the match came in the 72nd minute from substitute Loïc Rémy, who came on in the 64th minute. Eight minutes later, Rémy would find some space behind the U.S. defense to finish smartly for the game-winner.
“From a technical perspective, the shape, working, and really finding a rhythm was good,” said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “The real piece that was missing was scoring a goal. I told them at halftime ‘guys, you can absolutely compete here. You can go for a win.’ Obviously it was difficult after their goal. In these types of games, if you make one or two mistakes you get punished. It was still impressive how they came back. They pushed forward and were getting close. We made life very, very difficult for France, and they realized after 30 minutes there is a team that has a go at them. Obviously you want to score a couple of goals sooner or later, so I wish there was one or two.”
An organized and spirited U.S. defense kept the speedy French bottled up for most of the game, so much so that the French fans voiced their disapproval as the halftime whistle blew.
U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra, who earned his 99th career cap, had several timely tackles and clearances, while in the seventh minute his center-back partner Clarence Goodson did well to run down Jérémy Ménez after he had burst into the penalty area.
The Americans looked a bit disjointed in the attack and what danger the USA did produce came mostly through Jozy Altidore in the first half. In the 20th minute, the powerful U.S. striker pulled off a nice turn toward goal in the penalty area and was seemingly tugged down by French defender Laurent Koscielny.
In the 34th minute, Altidore shook free from two French defenders in left side of penalty area but fired his shot well left of the goal.
Still, while the French looked a bit more ominous when going at goal, Les Bleus also struggled to create danger before the break. They didn’t severely threaten Tim Howard’s net until the 27th minute, when a right wing cross from Matthieu Debuchy was met at the near post by Franck Ribéry, whose back-heel was a bit ambitious and rolled tamely outside the post.
France’s best chance of the first half came in the 37th minute after a nice piece of dribbling by Ribéry down the left side and into the penalty area. The Bayern Munich midfielder then found the blond-mohawked Ménez, who was able to collect and turn before sizzling a shot over the crossbar.
In the final seconds of the first half, Karim Benzema snuck behind the U.S. defense into the right side of the penalty area, but Bocanegra did well to herd the French striker into a poor angle for his shot and then Howard saved his poke at goal.
France turned up the heat about 10 minutes into the second half, and the Americans were fortunate to keep the game level for a time. In the 55th minute, a corner kick from the right side was headed down inside the penalty box by Adil Rami, and the ball bounced to Benzema, whose header off the bounce from just two yards out struck the crossbar.
One minute later, Howard came up with a brilliant save off a Benzema free kick, awarded after Maurice Edu had nudged down Ribéry at the top of the penalty area about 25 yards out. Howard dove full out to his left, and with his body over the goal line turned away the blistering shot before it could break the plane.
France had a few looks at goal off the ensuing corner kick, but they were all blocked, including two by Bocanegra as he lay on the turf.
In the 69th minute, Kevin Gameiro ran onto a ball over the back line that foreshadowed the goal to come and struck a hard volley that Howard was in excellent position to knock down, but he didn’t hold it. Howard then made a brave challenge, throwing himself at Olivier Giroud and plowing into the French striker, which forced him to sky the rebound over the net.
The U.S. defense finally broke in the 72nd minute on a perfectly-weighted ball played over the top of the back line by Marvin Martin. Rémy did well to hold off Goodson who then went to ground, giving the French attacker room to strike a hard shot just past Howard and into the left side of the net from 12 yards out.
The U.S. ramped up the pressure in search of an equalizer, and Clint Dempsey surged forward in the 77th minute and earned a free kick as Koscielny bundled him down with an arm to the face, a foul for which he received a yellow card. Dempsey took the free kick himself, blasting the ball just high and wide.
Klinsmann made four changes during the match, sending on Jermaine Jones for Kyle Beckerman in the 65th minute and DaMarcus Beasley for Brek Shea and Fabian Johnson for Danny Williams in the 71st. It was the first cap for Johnson, who recently received approval from FIFA for a change of association to play for the United States. Edson Buddle also came on for Edu in the 76th minute.
France is preparing for the 2012 European Championships after having qualified on the final day of group play by virtue of a 1-1 tie with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The U.S. will play its final match of 2011 next Tuesday, Nov. 15, when the Americans come up against Slovenia for the first time since the 2-2 draw in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Bocanegra could hit the century mark in that match.
This will be only the second meeting between the nations in international play and the USA’s first visit to Slovenia. Coverage from Stozice Stadium in Ljubljana begins at 12 p.m. ET (6 p.m. local) and fans can follow the match live on ussoccer.com‘s MatchTracker and Twitter @ussoccer.
In honor of the U.S. Men’s National Team playing France on Veterans Day, the players will autograph and donate their game-worn jerseys for an online auction to benefit the Disabled American Veterans organization. The U.S. team wore yellow ribbons on their jackets during the national anthems, and a moment of silence was observed before the match in honor of Armistice Day in Europe.
U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report
Date: Nov. 11, 2011
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Stade de France; Saint-Denis, France
Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET
Weather: Cloudy, 50 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
France 0 1 1
USA 0 0 0
FRA – Loïc Rémy (Marvin Martin) 72 nd minute
USA : 1-Tim Howard; 2-Steve Cherundolo, 4-Clarence Goodson, 5-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 3-Timmy Chandler; 8-Maurice Edu (18-Edson Buddle, 77), 6-Kyle Beckerman (16-Jermaine Jones, 66), 10-Clint Dempsey; 11-Brek Shea (17- DaMarcus Beasley, 71), 7-Danny Williams (15-Fabian Johnson, 71),9-Jozy Altidore
Subs not used: 12-Bill Hamid, 13- Michael Orozco Fiscal, 14-Michael Bradley
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
FRA : 1-Hugo Lloris; 2-Matthieu Debuchy, 4-Adil Rami, 5-Laurent Koscielny, 3-Jérémy Mathieu; 14-Jérémy Ménez, 18- Alou Diarra, 17- Yann M’Vila (11-Maxime Gonalons,60) , 7- Franck Ribéry (21-Loïc Rémy, 64); 10- Karim Benzema (8-Marvin Martin, 65), 20- Kevin Gameiro (9-Olivier Giroud, 60)
Subs not used: 6-Yohan Cabaye, 12-Mamadou Sakho, 13-Anthony Réveillère, 15-Florent Malouda, 16-Cédric Carrasso, 22-Eric Abidal, 23-Steve Mandanda
Head coach: Laurent Blanc
Stats Summary: USA / FRA
Shots: 5 / 14
Shots on Goal: 2 / 6
Saves: 5 / 2
Corner Kicks: 3 / 4
Fouls: 8 / 10
Offside: 1 / 3
FRA – Laurent Koscielny (caution) 78 th minute
FRA – Matthieu Debuchy (caution) 80
Referee: Michael Koukoulakis (GRE)
Assistant Referee 1: Dimitrios Saraidaris (GRE)
Assistant Referee 2: Dimitrios Bozatzidis (GRE)
Fourth Official: Huseyin Ocak (GRE)
Budweiser Man of the Match: