Returning to Ellis Park, the scene of their 3-2 defeat by Brazil in last year's FIFA Confederations Cup, the Americans played their part in yet another blockbuster. With his side two goals down at the break, US coach Bob Bradley astutely reshuffled his pack, switching to a 4-3-3 formation with Landon Donovan leading the attack and Maurice Edu and Benny Feilhaber coming on to lend the boss's son, Michael, a helping hand in midfield. The tactical realignment worked to perfection as USA stormed back to level the game. And had Edu not had a goal ruled out four minutes from time, Bradley's adjustments would have paid even more handsome dividends.
"We struggled after they made their changes," Slovenia right-back Miso Brecko told FIFA after the game. "We pinned them back in their half in the first 45 minutes but we couldn't do it again after the break. They scored quickly and we couldn't put the same pressure on them after that. They played very high up the pitch."
"I'm used to the playmaker position although I was positioned a little more on the left, just behind Dempsey," substitute Feilhaber explained to FIFA.com. "The coach looked me right in the eye at half-time and said to me, 'We can win this game if we don't rush things and construct our attacks properly'. It was vital for us to get straight back out there and score quickly."
The Brazil-born midfielder added: "Back in the dressing room we knew that if things stayed the way they were, then we'd be out. We were fighting for our lives and it was a case of score or die. It helped us a lot when [Herculez] Gomez came on near the end because that allowed [Clint] Dempsey to come and help me out, and we also had three great goalscorers up front."
Stationed in a more advanced position, Budweiser Man of the Match Donovan revelled in the space he found on the right. It was the Los Angeles Galaxy man who started the fightback, which was completed when Bradley Junior, himself operating further up the pitch, rifled home the equaliser, fully vindicating his father's change of plan.
Slovenia midfielder Valter Birsa, who opened the scoring with a superb curling effort from outside the box, played down the influence of USA's half-time reorganisation. "That had nothing to do with their comeback I think. If they hadn't scored so quickly [after the break], we would have won the match. We couldn't stop them pushing on to us and we just dropped back without even realising it. It's very frustrating because we had the game in the bag and we've dropped two points." Standing just a few yards away was the smiling Feilhaber: “This is a draw we can celebrate. That was quite a comeback.”