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USA vs. Iceland: Final score 3-2, Steve Birnbaum scores late to seal USA win

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Harry How/Getty Images

The United States began their 2016 calendar with a dramatic 3-2 victory over Iceland on a rainy-then-sunny Sunday afternoon in Carson.

Despite enjoying the lion's share of possession in the first half, the U.S. fell behind early on an unlucky deflected shot that bounced past a helpless Luis Robles and into a gaping net.

The Americans played a disciplined and organized game in the first half, keeping pressure on Iceland. If not for some wasted chances in front of goal, they could have went into the half-time break with a lead. Instead it would be all square after Jozy Altidore finished off a lovely passing sequence that also involved Gyasi Zardes and Michael Bradley. It was Altidore's 32nd goal for the USMNT.

A tactical switch by Jurgen Klinsmann in the second half would disrupt the flow the game for the USA. A switch from a 4-4-2 to the 4-2-3-1 didn't exactly do wonders for the on-field performance, if anything it hindered any chemistry the starting XI had gained in the first half.

Iceland took advantage early in the second half to a lackadaisical U.S. team with a quick free kick that sprung Aron Sigurdarson down the left flank. His wonder curling shot was perfect and beat Robles to make the score 2-1.

The lead wouldn't last long for the Euro 2016 participants as Michael Orozco, a late addition the the USA roster, pulled the match back even. Altidore's floated pass across the box was in turn nodded across the face of goal by Steve Birnbaum for the Tijuana man to finish and bring the score back even.

It was very much a see-saw type of affair as Iceland stacked up a few very good scoring chances after the equalizer found the net.

The last quarter hour of the match saw the U.S. dominate play particularly after German-American Jerome Kiesewetter came on for his USMNT debut. His wide play changed the dynamic of the play and created several chances. His persistent pacey runs down the right would pay off big time as he drew a late free kick in a dangerous spot. Bradley found Birnbaum for a header to give the U.S. the win late.

It wasn't the greatest of team performances, but you can't argue with a win to begin a new year.