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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 22, 2007

Kallstrom leads Sweden over U.S.

GOTEBORG, Sweden -- New coach, same old result for the U.S. soccer team in Europe -- a loss.

Kim Kallstrom scored in the 56th minute to lead Sweden over the United States 1-0 in an exhibition game on Wednesday night and send the Americans to their first four-game losing streak in a decade.

"These games can't just be about good experiences. When we come to Europe, we come to win," U.S. midfielder DaMarcus Beasley said.

With most of its top players in the starting lineup, the U.S. team failed to create many offensive opportunities. Since starting the year 10-0-1 -- all at home -- under new coach Bob Bradley, the U.S. team has lost four straight, all on the road.

The Americans were riding high when they beat Mexico in June's CONCACAF Gold Cup final, but then went 0-3 at the Copa America in Venezuela. They had not lost four in a row since January 1997 against Peru, Mexico, Denmark and China.

While the U.S. team has become a regional power during the last two decades, it has struggled mightily in Europe, going 2-10-3 there in eight years under coach Bruce Arena. This was the first trip to Europe for the United States since it went 0-2-1 in the first round of last year's World Cup in Germany, a letdown following a quarterfinal appearance in South Korea four years earlier.

"The tempo of the game is faster. It challenges our players to understand that the battle for every ball is a little bit more difficult, and that the reaction speed has to get better," Bradley said. "There is a physical element as well. Our ability all over the field to react faster, compete for balls and see situations quicker is something that we want improve upon, and I think when we play the better teams in Europe, those lessons are apparent."

The Americans return home for their next game, on Sept. 9 at Chicago. But it doesn't get an easier -- they face Brazil, the world's top-ranked national team.

"It will be another big test for us," Beasley said.

Kallstrom scored his seventh goal in 46 international appearances with a left-footed drive from just outside the penalty area that went into goalkeeper Tim Howard's right corner. Kennedy Bakircioglu set up the goal, running across the top of the penalty area, pushing off Steve Cherundolo and stepping by Michael Bradley -- the coach's son.

"It just sprung loose and we weren't able to get it clear," Howard said. "It was rebounding and banging off shins. The guy took the shot very quickly from behind bodies and hit it well. You have to give him credit."

The goal came six minutes after Clint Dempsey nearly scored for the Americans. Standing inside the box, Dempsey fired a low shot near the right post that goalkeeper Rami Shaaban barely got his gloves on.

"Clint has been able to create chances," Bob Bradley said. "One of the qualities that I think sets him apart a little bit is that he can sometimes create a chance out of nothing."

The United States had a chance to tie in the 90th minute, when Michael Bradley's glancing header off Bobby Convey's free kick was bobbled by Shaaban. The goalkeeper then gathered the ball as Jay DeMerit was poised to poke in the rebound.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden's top forward, almost scored in the 14th minute, but his shot was cleared off the goal line by defender Oguchi Oneywu. Ibrahimovic, scoreless in his last eight international games, was stopped one-on-one by Howard in the 31st minute and just seconds later, following a cross, sent a header off the crossbar.

"We feel like we need to do better and get results over here," U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra said. "These games are good for us in the long run. But we also don't want to just come over here for the experience. We want to come over and win."