Marc Janko’s 33rd-minute goal stood as the winner as Austria prevailed 1-0 over the United States at the final whistle of Tuesday’s international friendly in Vienna, Austria.
The Americans, however, will send a delegation to Brazil’s Bahia state for next month’s World Cup Group Stage draw while Austria will direct their efforts to qualifying for the 2016 European Championship, having missed out on next summer’s finals.
Janko, Martin Harnik and Marko Arnautovic combined to create a nice bit of buildup play just two minutes after kickoff, and barely three minutes later Janko, having been sprung by Harnik, lashed a shot just over the crossbar.
The United States quickly settled into the match, though, and quite nearly found themselves in front when Jozy Altidore blazed an effort from distance over the Austria goal.
Then, in the 16th minute, the guests thought they had taken the lead when Geoff Cameron’s header from Michael Bradley’s corner-kick looked to have crossed the line. Even if Austria goalkeeper Robert Almer had, in fact, made the save in time, replays showed Arnautovic might have been penalized for handball as well.
That's the ball behind Austrian goalkeeper's head: pic.twitter.com/4xdJSb13c9— Brian Straus (@BrianStraus) November 19, 2013
Nevertheless, play was allowed to continue, and shortly after the hour-mark it was the hosts who opened the scoring at Ernst-Happell-Stadion.
David Alaba—operating as a midfielder rather than at left-back, which he typically does at Bayern Munich—was the architect of the goal, finding Gyorgy Garics down the right with an accurate pass. Garics then played in a lovely cross that Janko had little difficulty diverting into goal.
With just two minutes remaining in the opening period, Bradley came close to capping off a nice piece of buildup with an equalizing goal, only for his shot to be blocked by a defender.
Despite coming out after the restart with the advantage, it was Austria who went on the front-foot in the second half, and in the 49th minute the ever-dangerous Harnik curled his effort just wide of the far post.
But that was about the best scoring chance for either side after the break, although substitute Terrence Boyd flashed an ambitious drive just over the frame with 19 minutes remaining.
The final passages of play were interrupted by numerous stops and starts, and at the final whistle the United States just hadn’t done enough to get a result in the Austrian capital.
Key Player Grades
Marc Janko: A
Right from the outset he was the most dangerous forward on the park, and his well-taken goal in the 33rd minute would end up standing as the winner at the conclusion of this friendly.
Martin Harnik: A-
Whether playing from the right-hand side of the pitch or working his way inside, the Stuttgart attacker was a persistent menace to the United States backline on Tuesday. If there was one criticism of his performance it was that he was often selfish with the ball when involving his teammates in the buildup might have been the more useful option.
Jozy Altidore: B+
He had his chances, but the fact is the Sunderland striker looked more effective after Eddie Johnson had come on as a second-half substitution. Still, United States manager Jurgen Klinsmann won’t have been too disappointed with his performance. With more penetrating service he might have bagged a goal or two.
Austria, who will have been pleased with Tuesday’s result, will now turn their attention to the 2016 European Championship qualifying campaign while the United States will go into full preparation mode for the 2014 World Cup.