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As It Happened: Ukraine 2, USA 0

Ukraine vs USA The U.S. defense endured a rough first half against Ukraine. (Petros Karadjias/AP)

The U.S. men's national team's European contingent (and one from Mexico) had its final chance to make a statement on the big stage ahead of the World Cup with Wednesday's friendly against Ukraine in Cyprus, but it did not go as many (or any) would have hoped.

Two horrendous defensive breakdowns led to easy Ukraine goals, and the fringe players looking to leave a solid impression with Jurgen Klinsmann by and large failed to do so. The 2-0 loss to Ukraine occurred on the final FIFA match date before the World Cup roster is revealed (the U.S. will play Mexico on April 2, but that is not on a date for which all teams are required to release their players, and an MLS- and Liga MX-based roster is expected), meaning that for some, this is likely the last audition before Klinsmann picks his roster for Brazil.

Here is how it all unfolded:

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93rd minute - And there's the final whistle. Ugly all around for the USA in a 2-0 loss to Ukraine. Thanks for following along, as always, and be sure to keep an eye on Planet Futbol throughout the rest of the day for reaction from this match and highglights from the rest of the final FIFA international fixture date before the World Cup.

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91st minute - Into 3 minutes of stoppage time. Say what you want about the performance, but the whole point was to learn things about specific players. For better or for worse (OK, for worse), we did. The weening out process can commence for Jurgen Klinsmann.

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89th minute - While your feed may or may not have gone out, Aron Johannsson had a chance cleared off the line. Still 2-0.

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87th minute - *Technical difficulties*

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84th minute - That might have been the most fire Dempsey has shown all night. Gets into it with Bezus after a clash in the midfield. Bezus, however, earns the yellow card. U.S. captain was just as culpable. Meanwhile, Juan Agudelo is on for Jozy Altidore.

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82nd minute - Williams pounces on a ball and streaks forward, but he's a runaway train instead of one with direction. Tymoschuck is all over a heavy touch, puts it out for a corner that the USA cannot convert into a chance.

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80th minute - Danny Williams is on for Jermaine Jones as the USA's third substitution. Hard to make an impact in that position in 10 minutes, but here's his chance to show his worth.

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77th minute - Oh man. Howard slipped, fell and recovered just in time to touch away Yarmolenko's chip from nearly midfield after an awful giveaway in the center of the field by Brooks. Not John Anthony's night tonight. Headed Jones' backward pass errantly and right into Yarmolenko's path.

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73rd minute - SAVE HOWARD! Robs Yarmolenko with a lunging save after poor spacing and giveaway provided a golden chance for Ukraine.

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68th minute - GOAL UKRAINE!! Marko Devic, moments after coming on, buries a second chance after Howard makes a great save on the initial shot. U.S. center backs nowhere to be found against the run of play, and that's rather easy (and similar to the opening sequence) for Ukraine. 2-0, and kills the USA's momentum, which had been building.

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66th minute - Initial chance cleared when it looked like Shea had a chance to make a play on it in the area. Nothing doing off the set piece chance or the ensuing follow-up.

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65th minute - Shea taken down by Fedetsky, who picks up a yellow for his work. Dangerous free kick chance coming from the left wing.

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63rd minute - Sacha Kljestan and Edgar Castillo come off. Expect Fabian Johnson to slide back to left back, Shea to move into his place on the left wing. As for Johansson, he'll join Altidore up top. Very intriguing to see how this unfolds, with Altidore and Johannsson paired together.

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60th minute - Here comes the USA's first changes: Brek Shea and Aron Johannsson.

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59th minute - GREAT pressure from Cameron to streak forward and force a turnover to win possession for the U.S. in Ukraine's half. He's playing an inspired second half, along with Bedoya.

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54th minute - DEMPSEY finally has a half-chance, with Jones serving a through ball down the center for the U.S. captain. Dempsey lets it continue to roll instead of taking an early touch, and that allows Pyatov to race off his line and claim the ball.

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53rd minute - BEDOYA FIRES WIDE! After a poor clearance attempt from goalkeeper Pyatov, Bedoya has a go from an odd angle, and it whizzes just wide of the post. Higher pressure making a difference for the USA this half.

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51st minute - ALTIDORE HEADS HIGH!! Great ball in from Cameron on the right flank, and Altidore's header from close range in the center of the box floats over the bar. Close.

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50th minute - BREAKING: U.S. comes up with a chance! Bedoya has his follow-up volley attempt blocked by a Ukraine defender after Kljestan's bending chip intended for Altidore falls at his feet. Good response out of halftime for the Americans.

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47th minute - Fortunately for the USA, Denis Garmash has checked out for Roman Bezus, though.

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46th minute - Second half is underway, and Jurgen Klinsmann doesn't make a single change. Giving his starting XI a little more time to prove themselves. Seems a bit generous.

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Let's break it down player-by-player:

Castillo - Won't hold up against a world-class winger, prefers getting forward at the expense of his defensive responsibilities. This, however, is nothing new.

Brooks - A little out of his depth, out of position frequently.

Onyewu - The lack of chemistry between him and Brooks is staggering. Both have done well in aerial challenges and clearances, but Ukraine attackers having a field day running at and by them.

Cameron - Hasn't been horrible. That's as nice of a compliment as there is after 45 minutes.

Kljestan - Turnover-prone, neglected to track runners from the midfield.

Dempsey - Invisible.

Altidore - Almost invisible. More of a product of no service than anything else.

So much for seizing those opportunities.

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45th minute - And there's the halftime whistle. To be a fly on the wall in that U.S. locker room in Larnaca.

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42nd minute - Cameron does well to bump an attacker off the ball, but gives it right away trying to play out of the back. Castillo follows up with a turnover trying to play out of the other wing. Been that kind of day for just about everyone wearing white. Disappointingly underwhelming performance on all accounts.

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38th minute - IF we're trying to make those glasses half full, it's only 1-0, and the U.S. has proven to be a strong second-half team under Klinsmann. Not that the end result was ever going to be all that important over the individual performances today, but it's something, right?

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35th minute - Is the lack of familiarity between the back four partially to blame for this performance? Absolutely, two days of training does not a cohesive back line make. But it's safe to say that Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler and DaMarcus Beasley aren't exactly slipping down the pecking order after the opening segment of this game.

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32nd minute - Wow. Where to start with this sequence. Kljestan's turnover, Onyewu's positioning provide Garmash with a golden opportunity in the box, but he hesitates way too long, and Brooks' recovery is just in time to take the ball off his foot before he can fire with Howard off his line. In a word: Awful.

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30th minute - Castillo AGAIN burned 1-v-1 by Yarmolenko, allowing the winger to blaze on by down the sideline and is fortunate that his cross-shot whizzed wide of Howard's post. No sugarcoating it: Castillo has been atrocious today.

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27th minute - FINALLY some attacking inspiration for the U.S., with Altidore laying off a ball for a streaking Cameron on the right flank. His cross was steered toward a streaking Kljestan in the area before Ukraine goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov made the play on the ball.

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25th minute - NEARLY an own goal on Onyewu, whose sliding interception on a dangerous cross puts the ball inadvertently on frame. Howard in the right spot to deal with it, though. And where has Edgar Castillo been? Pushed way to high up and lacking the positional sense to deal with Ukraine's wingers. Left a massive gap that led to the cross.

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23rd minute - Cameron makes a strong intervention to prevent Garmash from getting his head on another well-placed ball in the box. Cameron doesn't make that play, there's an easy chance for Ukraine.

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21st minute - It's in games like these, when the USA is chasing the ball and looking for some inspiration, where Michael Bradley roams the midfield like a madman to track down possession and provide that spark. Sorely missed today, but you can bet he'll be in the middle of it all in Brazil.

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19th minute - Ukraine players are supposed to be distracted? Look pretty sharp, focused and inspired at this point.

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16th minute - Man, USA gets a bit lucky with an offside call there, with Kucher seemingly timing his run only to be called off on another ball over the top before serving it up to Yarmolenko on the doorstep. Brooks having a hard go of it in the last few minutes, especially after the goal, caught a break.

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12th minute - GOAL UKRAINE!! Onyewu and Brooks leave a MASSIVE gap of space that Garmash runs into to receive a ball over the top. Howard made the initial save, but Yarmolenko easily put back the second opportunity. That's more on Brooks for being pulled so far to the right.

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10th minute - Howard corrals Yarmolenko's cross from the right corner. Ukraine doing most of the forward pushing, with the U.S. struggling to find a rhythm on the ball. Brooks seeming to be content for the backpass in the early going as Ukraine employs some high pressure.

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8th minute - U.S. defenders coming up when tested thus far: First Bedoya, tracking into a right fullback position from the wing, heads away Andriy Yarmolenko's chipped-in cross, and tall trees Onyewu and Brooks deal with follow-up balls into the box. So far, so good.

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6th minute - Jermaine Jones does some solid tracking back to contribute a clean sliding tackle in the U.S. corner, with Ukraine's Denis Garmash streaking forward. Ukraine's wing play is definitely a strength that U.S. fullbacks, and tracking-back midfielders, will have to battle.

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4th minute - Castillo tries a give-and-go attempt with Johnson overlapping on the left, but it gets snuffed out. You can here shouts of "Good idea! Good idea!" emanating from the U.S. bench.

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3rd minute - Little energy to start this game. Considering the circumstances and the eerie lack of fan noise, that's not a total surprise.

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1st minute - And this match is underway!

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As if this friendly needed any other layers, the referee is indeed Leontios Trattou: subject of last week's car bombing in Cyprus.

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Classy moment on the field as a moment of silence is held for all who have perished in Ukraine during the recent conflict.

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Going to be a bit of a bizarre atmosphere in Cyprus, with a scattered crowd (for obvious reasons) in the stands. Looks more like a preseason MLS crowd than it does major international friendly. Ukraine anthem should be quite the emotional moment for the Ukrainian national team and their traveling fans.

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Not like Jozy Altidore or Clint Dempsey should fret about their status for the 23 headed to Brazil, but given their recent slumps, it'd sure be comforting to see strong performances today. Altidore at Sunderland has not worked out as he surely had hoped, and Dempsey has been slumping for the most part since his summer move to Seattle. Simply put: If both of those don't show up in Brazil, the U.S. is toast.

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Players with an immediate chance to state their case: Onyewu, Kljestan, Bedoya and Castillo. All four are starting, and all four are on the so-called "fringe." Castillo could have another chance during the Mexico friendly in April, but for Onyewu, Kljestan and Bedoya, one would think it's do or die.

For Oguchi Onyewu's thoughts on his recall (first since the Gold Cup) and opportunity, read on right here.

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Here is today's starting lineup for the USA:

USAUkrLineup

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