U.S. loses to Denmark in final match of 2009 | TahoeDailyTribune.com

U.S. loses to Denmark in final match of 2009

The Associated Press

AARHUS, Denmark – The United States wasted an early goal by Jeff Cunningham and lost a World Cup warmup 3-1 to Denmark on Wednesday night, the final match of 2009 for the Americans.

Substitutes Johan Absalonsen, Soren Rieks and Martin Bernburg beat goalkeeper Brad Guzan during the first 10 minutes of the second half as the Danes took advantage of a porous U.S. defense.

Cunningham, Major League Soccer’s scoring leader this year, scored in the 26th minute after a poor clearance by Danish goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen. It was the first international goal in 12 appearances for Cunningham, who before last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Slovakia hadn’t played for the U.S. since 2005.

The United States finished the year with 13 wins, eight losses and three ties, qualifying for its sixth straight World Cup and losing in the finals of the FIFA Confederations Cup and the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

The next time most of the U.S. squad will be together is March 3, when the Americans are likely to play an exhibition game at the Netherlands.

The U.S. was missing Landon Donovan, who remained in the United States to play in this weekend’s MLS Cup for the Los Angeles Galaxy, and several other regulars.

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Denmark was without Jon Dahl Tomasson, Dennis Rommedahl, Daniel Agger, Soren Larsen and Nicklas Bendtner.

U.S. midfielder Benny Feilhaber of Aarhus, playing in his home stadium, had a seventh-minute shot that was deflected by a diving Sorensen. Cunningham put the United States ahead with a left-footed shot from about 26 yards.

Absalonsen, Soren Rieks and Martin Bernburg entered at the start of the second half, and all played key roles in Denmark’s comeback.

Simon Kjaer looped a pass over Jonathan Spector in the 47th minute, and Absalonsen tied the score. Five minutes later, Absalonsen sent a low ball to Rieks, who pushed it past Guzan. Bernburg added the third goal in the 55th minute after the ball went between defenders Jonathan Bornstein and Carlos Bocanegra.