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Soccer victory in Europe a rare one for Americans

Benny Feilhaber, left, Freddy Adu and Michael Bradley celebrate their first goal during a Euro 2008 test match against Switzerland Wednesday night in Basel, Switzerland. The Americans won 1-0.
Benny Feilhaber, left, Freddy Adu and Michael Bradley celebrate their first goal during a Euro 2008 test match against Switzerland Wednesday night in Basel, Switzerland. The Americans won 1-0.
Laurent Gillieron, Associated Press

BASEL, Switzerland — Michael Bradley stopped the United States' longest losing streak in 13 years and gave the Americans a rare victory in Europe.

Bradley scored his first international goal in the 86th minute, and the United States beat Switzerland 1-0 Wednesday night in a sloppy game played in rain.

"We need these kind of games," said his father, U.S. coach Bob Bradley. "The credit goes to the team for sticking together, being organized and not giving too much away and finding a way to win the game."

The coach's son knocked in a loose ball from close range after Clint Dempsey deflected a cross into the air from Danny Szetela, who entered two minutes earlier in his national team debut.

"That's soccer sometimes," said Bradley, who made his 13th international appearance. "It's not always beautiful. It's not always that you can play pretty all over the field."

Following a 10-0-1 start under Bob Bradley, the United States had lost to Argentina, Paraguay, Colombia, Sweden and Brazil, its first five-game skid since 1994. The Americans are just 3-14-3 in Europe since a victory at Austria in April 1998, beating Poland twice and now Switzerland.

"I think the spirit we have within the team is really good and it shows on a night like tonight," Michael Bradley said. "We come here, and it's a hard game, it's a fast, physical game. They were coming after us, we were coming after them and I think we showed that when it's not coming that easily for us we stick together, fight for one another, and in the end we're able to get a goal."

Freddy Adu, making his second national team appearance, entered as a substitute in the 77th and nearly scored in the final minutes of a match that had few opportunities and long stretches of sloppy play.

The 18-year-old Adu, limited to two appearances as a substitute for Benfica this season, made his international debut against Canada on Jan. 22, 2006. At 16, he was the youngest player in the history of the U.S. national team.

"It was definitely a great experience and it's definitely good to be part of the national team — that's a winning team," Adu said. "Joining a team like Benfica changes you a lot. It just makes you a lot better."

Maurice Edu and Robbie Findley joined Szetela in making their first national team appearances.

Both teams were booed off the field after a poor first half. The Swiss received the same treatment from their fans at the final whistle.

U.S. midfielder DaMarcus Beasley left in the 31st minute after bruising his left ankle. Before that, he struggled to hold possession against the physical Swiss.

Oguchi Onyewu also was at fault for a few aimless long balls from the back as the U.S. team struggled to carve out any scoring opportunities in the first half.

The Swiss, which had won three of five, fared little better, with David Degen's 22nd-minute shot straight at American keeper Marcus Hahnemann the first shot on goal for either team.

"It was a fast field and, with the rain, the ball was flying around," the 20-year-old Bradley said. "It was going to be about who would impose himself on the other team. They pressed us and we did the same to them. It's important you learn how to win those types of games."