Geoff Cameron's header off Michael Bradley's corner kick deflected off an arm of Marko Arnautovic and appeared to cross the goal line in the 17th minute before it was swatted away by goalkeeper Robert Almer.
Hungarian referee Istan Vad and his linesman failed to rule it a goal, and the United States ended a record-setting year with a 1-0 exhibition loss to Austria on Tuesday night.
"It's a friendly game, so I'm not wanting to make a big deal out of it. But I'm still asking why we are in 2013 and not have goal-line technology," U.S coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "It's just a joke."
Marc Janko scored Austria's goal in the 33rd minute after lax defensive marking.
"Disappointed in the result, but I think we played pretty well," goalkeeper Tim Howard said before adding: "The year 2013 has been one of our best years ever."
The U.S., which tied 0-0 at Scotland on Friday, qualified for its seventh straight World Cup and finished 2013 with team records for wins (16), winning percentage (.761), goal difference (plus 28) and scoring average (2.14). The Americans started the year with a 0-0 exhibition draw against Canada, then wasted a lead in the opener in the final round of qualifying and lost 2-1 at Honduras.
"It's been a fun ride, and it's been amazing to be a part of watching this team grow from the loss to Honduras to how we picked ourselves up," forward Jozy Altidore said. "It's been inspiring."
Geoff Cameron shifted from center back to the right — his position with Stoke — because Brad Evans had a groin issue and Michael Orozco wasn't feeling well.
Defender Anthony Brooks and forward Aron Johannsson — making their second U.S. starts — were inserted into the starting lineup with midfielder Brek Shea. Evans, midfielder Sacha Kljestan and forward Eddie Johnson came out.
Janko's 16th international goal developed when David Alaba played the ball wide to Gyorgy Garics, who got away from left back DaMarcus Beasley. Garics crossed and Martin Harnik touched the ball to Janko, who was open between central defenders Omar Gonzalez and Brooks. Janko kicked the ball over Howard with a right-footed shot from 6 yards, ending a 453-minute shutout streak in international and club play for the goalkeeper, who is Everton's starter.
Altidore came closest to tying the score, but his low shot in the 74th lacked pace and was saved easily by Almer.
"Over both wings we didn't develop enough clear creation of chances," Klinsmann said.
The U.S. is off until a January training camp for players from Major League Soccer and Scandinavian clubs on winter break. Time to impress Klinsmann and make the 23-man World Cup roster is dwindling.
"You learn a lot about the guys when you are in camp," he said. "We don't have that many opportunities anymore. We have obviously the March FIFA fixture date, and then we start in middle of May with the group that goes towards Brazil."
And on Dec. 6 comes the even that likely will have the most significant impact on U.S. results in Brazil: the draw.
"We look back with pride for sure," midfielder Michael Bradley said, "but now we all know the real stuff is still to come."