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U.S. MNT Down Grenada 4-0 in 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup Opening Match

SEATTLE (July 4, 2009) — The U.S. Men’s National Team continued their dominance in opening matches of the CONCACAF Gold Cup this evening with a 4-0 victory against Grenada at Qwest Field in Seattle.

Robbie Rogers, who was named Man of the Match for his excellent play at left midfield, assisted on the first two goals by Freddy Adu and Stuart Holden. In the second half, Rogers buried his own goal to cap off his second appearance for the national team, while Charlie Davies also tallied to give the U.S. their highest output in the calendar year.

With two goals in each half, the U.S. has now won all 10 of their Gold Cup opening matches, six of which have been shutouts. Overall, the U.S. improves to 22-0-1 lifetime in group play in the Gold Cup.

The four goals tied for the second most ever scored by the U.S. in the Gold Cup. In 2003, Landon Donovan scored four goals in a 5-0 victory against Cuba in the quarterfinals. The U.S. also scored four goals three other times: against El Salvador (4-0) in the quarterfinals in 2002, against Cuba (4-1) in their opening match in 2005 and against El Salvador (4-0) in their final group match in 2007.

"It's important to start the Gold Cup the right way," said U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley, who improved his record in Gold Cup play to 7-0-0. "There were a lot of good things – a good team effort and four different guys scoring goals. All those things are important as we start the tournament.”

“We said at halftime that there is a professional way to finish this game that involves discipline and knowing to respect the opponent, but in a good smart way knowing how to finish the game. We also understand that this is the first round and there are three games to play.  Those are all important lessons and things you want to take from tonight."

The U.S., which only played on July 4 once before when they fell 1-0 to Brazil during the 1994 World Cup fifteen years ago, was coming off an impressive performance at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, but entered the opening match of the Gold Cup with a fairly inexperienced lineup. Steve Cherundolo, who was playing his first match since October of last year due to injury, had the most caps by far of any player in the starting lineup, earning his 52nd at right back and was chosen by Bradley to wear the captain’s armband for his first time ever.

Three players earned their first cap on the night, including Holden, Logan Pause and Brad Evans, who came on as a substitute to make his debut on the home field for his club team, the Seattle Sounders. Overall, seven players in the lineup had a combined 11 caps before stepping foot on Qwest Field.

Despite the young lineup, the U.S. took control of possession from the opening whistle, combining crisp passing and incisive moment to put Grenada on the back foot almost immediately. In the seventh minute, the USA’s overwhelming pressure took its toll when Rogers stole the ball from Ricky Charles near the left sideline and quickly darted up the field towards goal. Dribbling along the edge of the penalty area, he deftly rounded defender Marc Marshall and slotted a perfect ball across the box for the trailing Adu who hit a one-timer that goalkeeper Desmond Noel got a hand to, but couldn’t keep out of the net. The goal was Adu’s second for the full national team.

The U.S. continued to press the attack, finding combinations all across the park to unlock the Grenadian defense. Rogers proved a menace throughout the half, his speed and delivery of dangerous crosses creating a multitude of scoring opportunities, and also taking chances as well. In the 17th minute, a beautiful series of passes put Cherundolo through on the right side and he hit a curling ball to the far post that found the head of Rogers, but his attempt was just wide.

Five minutes later, Grenada had one of their only chances on the night. The ball was served in from the right side and a glancing header from Kithson Bain seemed destined for the far side netting, but U.S. goalkeeper Troy Perkins was equal to the task, making a fine sprawling save to preserve the 1-0 lead. The save was the only one Perkins was required to make on the night.

After that scare, the U.S once again regained control and in the 31st minute took a two-goal lead. The play started when Holden played a ball across the goalmouth that eluded Davies, but Rogers hustled to keep it in and returned the favor for Holden. Rogers served the ball towards the back post where Holden took the initiative and darted in front of a flat-footed Anthony Modeste from six yards out and headed a ball down and off the underside of the crossbar.  With the goal, Holden is the 45th player in U.S. history to score in his first appearance. 

The second half was much of the same with the U.S. continuing to press forward and get numerous looks on goal. Rogers finally got one of his own on the hour mark, after a well-timed Pause through ball sliced open the Grenada defense and sent Rogers off to the races. In alone on Noel, Rogers calmly tucked the ball just inside the left post.

"We had a great team effort tonight,” said Rogers. “The chemistry was really good, and we were able to create a lot of chances. For us, it is a fantastic way to start the Gold Cup, and at the same time we know it is only the beginning."

Eight minutes later, the U.S. tallied their final goal on the night. From his center back position, Chad Marshall hit a long ball over the top to Pearce, who was streaking down the left flank. Perfectly in stride, the defender deftly touched a first-timed pass to his right, directly into the path of the unmarked Davies.  The striker took one touch before slipping the ball low past Noel for his third goal in 10 career appearances.

The U.S. will travel to Washington, D.C., on Sunday in preparation for their second group match on July 8 against Honduras at RFK Stadium. The match kicks off at 9 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel and TeleFutura. Fans can also follow the match live on MatchTracker. The U.S. recently defeated Honduras 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier on June 6 at Soldier Field in Chicago and holds an 8-2-3 record all-time against the Central American team.

U.S. Men's National Team Match Report

Match: United States vs. Grenada
Date: July 4, 2009
Competition: CONCACAF Gold Cup – Group Stage
Venue: Qwest Field - Seattle
Kickoff: 6 p.m. PT
Attendance: 15,387
Weather: Warm, 75 degrees

Scoring Summary:    1    2    F
USA                               2    2    4
GRN                              0    0    0

USA – Freddy Adu (Robbie Rogers)          7th minute
USA – Stuart Holden (Robbie Rogers)     31
USA – Robbie Rogers (Logan Pause)     60
USA – Charlie Davies (Heath Pearce)      68

USA:  1-Troy Perkins; 6-Steve Cherundolo (capt.) (21-Brad Evans, 63), 4-Chad Marshall, 3-Clarence Goodson (14-Michael Parkhurst, 71), 2-Heath Pearce; 10-Stuart Holden, 8-Logan Pause, 5-Kyle Beckerman, 7-Robbie Rogers; 9-Charlie Davies (22-Davy Arnaud, 70), 19-Freddy Adu
Subs not used: 16-Jay Heaps, 17-Kenny Cooper, 18-Luis Robles, 20-Santino Quaranta
Head Coach: Bob Bradley

GRN: 30-Desmond Noel; 4-Cassim Langainge, 5-Jason James, 6-Marc Marshall, 11-Anthony Modeste (capt.); 23-Patrick Modeste, 7-Byron Bubb, 9-Ricky Charles, 25-Shane Rennie; 10-Kithson Bain (12-Denron Daniel, 56), 14-Marcus Julien (20-Jake Rennie, 56)
Subs Not Used: 1-Andre Baptiste, 13-Dwayne Leo, 15-Rimmel Daniel, 16-Kwasi Paul, 19-Michael Mark
Head Coach: Tommy Taylor

Stats Summary: USA / GRN           
Shots: 25/ 3
Shots on Goal: 10 / 1
Saves: 1 / 6
Corner Kicks: 9 / 1
Fouls: 8 / 8
Offside: 0 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
GRN – Jason James (caution)        40th minute
USA – Brad Evans (caution)             63
USA – Freddy Adu (caution)             80

Referee: Walter Lopez (GUA)
Assistant Referee 1: Hermenerito Leal (GUA)
Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Williamson (PAN)
Fourth Official: Courtney Campbell (JAM)  Man of the Match:
Robbie Rogers