Clint Dempsey Plays the Hero as USMNT Tops Italy

Clint Dempsey Plays the Hero as USMNT Tops Italy

Wednesday was a great day for international soccer action, even if none of it officially meant anything. With a FIFA International date on the calendar, some of the top national sides in the world squared off, including the United States Men's National Team facing Italy in Genoa.

If you were to put together a cursory list of things you'd like to see leading up to a USMNT win, they would likely include a goal by Clint Dempsey and a clean sheet for Tim Howard. There was plenty more to the action here, but those two did come to fruition, leading to a big 1-0 win. In 10 matches over a 78-year period, the US had never previously beaten Italy. Regardless of the setting, it was a meaningful win.

Below, a look at Dempsey's strike, plus full highlights from the match.

Things looked a bit sketchy for the US early on, as Italy generated too many opportunities for comfort. But they weathered it, and a scoreless first half was something of a win for the visitors. Ten minutes into the second half, a countering opportunity gave the US as much lead as they'd prove to need. The goal that meant the difference was the result of a fine cross by
Fabian Johnson, which was corralled by Jozy Altidore and calmly set in
place for the most dangerous American in the sport.

The latter portion of the second half was nerve-wracking to say the least, with Italy controlling possession and firing what they could toward Howard. USA's defense withstood the barrage though, containing the attack until the final whistle. In all, the defensive efforts to stifle the playmaking of Andrea Pirlo were impressive. The amount of blocked shots was increasingly amazing, and Timmy had to be happy with the effort in front of him in the second half in particular.

Friendlies like this may not continue on in the years ahead, as the power clubs are rarely thrilled with being forced to share the players they've invested heavily mostly for the purposes of exhibition. But from a non-stakeholding viewer's standpoint, it's a pretty exciting day, and certainly a prideful one for the Americans.

Below, full highlights via USMNT:

And to top it off, the US U-23 team beat Mexico last night in Dallas. Watch to see which Union player gets an assist at the 2:13 of this set of highlights...

College hoops wrap: Penn State steamrolled by No. 21 Purdue

College hoops wrap: Penn State steamrolled by No. 21 Purdue

Villanova headlined Philly college basketball action today with a 78-68 win over Providence, led by Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins (see full recap). The win is dampened with the news that Phil Booth is increasingly unlikely to return this season as he still deals with knee discomfort (see story).

Here's a snapshot from the rest of area hoops today.

Penn State steamrolled by No. 21 Purdue
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The way it played this week, No. 21 Purdue is acting like a team that is determined to be in the race for the Big Ten championship all the way to the end of the regular season.

Caleb Swanigan had 19 points and 12 rebounds, Purdue built an 18-point halftime lead and coasted to a 77-52 victory over Penn State on Saturday, four days after shooting 60.4 percent in a 91-68 victory against Illinois.

Against Penn State, the Boilermakers (16-4, 5-2) got 13 points from freshman guard Carsen Edwards and 10 each from Dakota Mathias and Vince Edwards.

"I would just say we were coming out ready to play," said Vince Edwards, who added seven rebounds and three assists. "Our goal is to win the Big Ten. Our focus is to take care of business."

Josh Reaves led Penn State (11-9, 3-4) with 12 points. The Nittany Lions made only 20 of 64 field goal attempts (31.3 percent) and were outrebounded 39-30. Purdue shot 56.6 percent (30 of 53) (see full recap).

Drexel drops road game at CAA-leading UNC Wilmington
WILMINGTON, N.C. -- Devontae Cacok scored 12 points and set a Colonial Athletic Association record with 24 rebounds, helping UNC Wilmington stay perfect in conference with an 87-74 win over Drexel on Saturday.

Cacok, whose previous career-high rebounding was 16, broke the school record (21) and conference record (22) late in the second half as the Seahawks cruised to their ninth straight home win, tying the best mark in program history.

UNC Wilmington (19-2, 8-0) led 53-51 with 15:01 left before four players combined to rattle off 12 straight points. Cacok capped the run with one of his 11 offensive rebounds and a dunk to give the Seahawks a 65-51 lead with 11:23 remaining.

UNC Wilmington is off to its best start ever and has won 24 of its last 26 conference games, including 12 straight. Chris Flemmings led the Seahawks with 17 points.

Sammy Mojica had 15 points and Rodney Williams added 14 for Drexel (7-13, 1-6), which has lost seven of eight (see full recap).

Delaware swept in season series with Towson
NEWARK, Del. -- Mike Morsell and Arnaud William Adala Moto pulled down a dozen boards as Towson won its fourth straight and a season sweep of Delaware with a 75-58 win on Saturday afternoon.

The Tigers are fresh off a win over Hofstra that saw them erase a 16-point first-half deficit, and momentum carried over when they built a 17-point lead at halftime.

Alex Thomas and John Davis added 13 and 12 points, respectively, but Towson saw its streak of three-straight games shooting better than 50 percent end. The Tigers hit 26 of 55 shots from the floor (47.3 percent), including 6 of 15 from deep.

Delaware snapped a six-game losing streak Thursday with a win over Northeastern. Ryan Daly scored 21 points for Delaware and became the first freshman in school history to post six 20-plus efforts in a season. He reached double-digits for the 12th time in 13 games (see full recap).