Ukraine tops United States in soccer exhibition, 2-0

On a night that gave a small contingent of Ukrainian fans an opportunity to wave their flags and unite amid a political crisis back home, their national soccer team eased past the United States, 2-0, on Wednesday in an exhibition game shifted from Kharkiv to a Mediterranean island nation 600 miles to the south.

Andriy Yarmolenko scored in the 12th minute and Marko Devic in the 68th as Ukraine exposed the shaky American central defense of Oguchi Onyewu and Anthony Brooks.

Ukraine’s players linked arms on shoulders during their 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 game for a moment of silence for the victims of violence in Ukraine.

Ukraine dominated the first half and went ahead when the U.S. defense failed on an attempted offside trap.

Yevhen Konoplyanka sent a looping pass from just before the midfield stripe to Denys Harmash, who split Onyewu and Brooks and trapped the ball at the top of the penalty area. Howard blocked his shot, but Harmash picked up the rebound and squared the ball to Yarmolenko, his Dynamo Kiev teammate. He scored past Brooks into a virtually open net with a left-footed shot from six yards for his 15th international goal.

The United States showed more spark at the start of the second half, and Jozy Altidore put an open header over the crossbar following a cross from Geoff Cameron.

But Devic scored after outrunning Fabian Johnson onto a headed pass from Roman Bezus inside the midfield circle and cutting the ball back to his left foot. Playing a day before his 35th birthday, Howard blocked the initial shot with a sprawling save, but Devic latched onto the rebound and slid the ball between Johnson and Brooks with a left-footed shot from 15 yards.

— Associated Press

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