The Associated Press
Mix Diskerud gave the U.S. soccer a team a thrilling end to 2012.
Playing just his third game for the Americans, the 22-year-old midfielder scored his first international goal on a 20-yard shot 2:50 into four minutes of injury time, giving the United States a 2-2 tie against Russia on Wednesday in an exhibition game at Krasnodar.
Michael Bradley, who scored in the 76th minute, sent a long ball into the penalty area toward Terrence Boyd. Defender Sergei Ignashevich tied to clear the ball but his header went on one hop to Diskerud. His right-footed shot took a bounce and spin in off the left hand of goalkeeper Vladimir Gabulov.
“It was a long ball and I was hoping with all my heart that it would come back to me and it did,” Diskerud said. “I got a nice strike.”
Diskerud’s whose mother is from Arizona and whose father is from Norway, was a member of the American under-23 team that failed to qualify for the London Olympics.
“We can compete with very good teams in the world,” U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. “The way our team fought back twice after being down a goal was great. It showed a lot of personality. It showed a lot of character. This is a young team, and a team that is growing.”
Fedor Smolov, making his Russian national team debut, gave the hosts the lead in the ninth minute following a giveaway by Danny Williams, who mis-hit the ball trying for a quick free kick in his own half.
Bradley tied it on a 19-yard volley, his 11th international goal. Maurice Edu passed to Juan Agudelo in the penalty area, and Agudelo headed the ball back to an open Bradley for a right-footed shot that clanked in off the post to Gabulov’s right.
“I caught it perfect,” Bradley said.
Roman Shirokov put Russia back ahead 2-1 when he converted a penalty kick in the 84th minute after a foul by Clarence Goodson, who pushed over Artem Dzyuba in front of goalkeeper Tim Howard following a free kick.
“I think we came in at halftime frustrated with ourselves,” Bradley said. “We were too casual from the start and good teams make you pay. Maybe we were a little lucky after the first 15 minutes that it was only 1-0.”
The 27th-ranked United States, missing regulars Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan and Steve Cherundolo, are preparing for the final round of qualifying next year for the 2014 World Cup. They finished the year at 9-2-3 with a .750 winning percentage that tied their best in the modern era, set in 2005. The U.S. had two big firsts, beating Italy and winning at Mexico City, and its only defeats came in an exhibition against Brazil and a World Cup qualifier at Jamaica.
The ninth-ranked Russians are 4-0-2 since former England coach Fabio Capello took over last summer.
Howard had six saves, including two nifty stops in succession in the 66th minute.