SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (June 3, 2009) – The U.S. Men’s National Team fell 3-1 to a spirited Costa Rican side in front of 19,200 raucous fans on Wednesday evening at Estadio Ricardo Saprissa in San Jose. Costa Rica used two early goals to take control of the game before adding a third goal in the 69th minute to put the game away.
A late penalty kick from Landon Donovan in second-half stoppage time provided the U.S. with their lone goal on the night. The goal was the 10th of Donovan's career in World Cup qualifying, tying him with Brian McBride for the all-time lead.
The U.S. will return to home soil on Thursday and have just two days to recover before facing Honduras on June 6 at Soldier Field in Chicago. More than 50,000 tickets have been sold for the USA’s third home match of the final round, where the U.S. will face the team who delivered them their last home loss in World Cup qualifying, a 3-2 defeat on Sept. 1, 2001, at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The match will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN and Galavision. Fans can also follow that match live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and on Twitter.
The U.S. dropped its final round World Cup qualifying record to 2-1-1, while Costa Rica took over the top place in the six-team group.Costa Rica now has nine points through its first four games while the U.S. has seven. The remaining four regional teams, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago, will continue final round action on June 6.
"As a group tonight, we came up short in every way," said U.S. Men's National Team head coach Bob Bradley. "I don't think there was any area at all where we were good enough to win a game against a good team. We were under pressure from the start. We fell short. We recognize that, and we have a quick turnaround for the next game."
With injuries to defender Frankie Hejduk and forward Brian Ching, the U.S. was without two of its most veteran players - both of whom have experience playing in the unfriendly confines of Estadio Ricardo Saprissa. Bradley opted to start in a 4-3-3 formation, and a handful of players were provided opportunities in the starting line-up, including Marvell Wynne at right back and DaMarcus Beasley, who got his second-consecutive start at left back. Jose Francisco Torres picked up just his fifth appearance and second start for the U.S. in the hostile environment, joining Pablo Mastroeni and Michael Bradley in midfield, while Jozy Altidore got his second straight start up top, this time working with Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan.
Bradley will be forced to make another change to his lineup against Honduras as he will be without the services of Michael Bradley, who picked up his second yellow card of the final round. The U.S. could once again be without the services of Hejduk and Ching for Saturday's contest as their status is still undetermined.
The U.S. got off to a disappointing start as Costa Rica got on the board in just the second minute. A clearance attempt by Beasley hit Torres and deflected the ball high in the air before eventually falling to the feet of Andy Herron. The former Chicago Fire forward played the ball square to Alvaro Saborio, who turned and split two U.S. defenders with one touch and then hit a curling shot with his second touch that sailed over the outstretched arms of Tim Howard and into the upper left corner of the goal. The goal was the second-earliest goal allowed by the U.S. in a World Cup qualifier, only behind a first minute goal by Carlos Hermosillo in a 2–2 draw with Mexico in 1997.
Costa Rica doubled its lead in the 13th minute when defender Junior Diaz made a hard run down the left wing. He slotted the ball into the box for Celso Borges who cut inside the penalty area, drawing U.S. defenders towards him before slotting the ball to Esteban Serias, who was making a run up the middle of the area. Serias did well to hit the bouncing serve with a one-time volley past Howard.
The U.S. struggled on the other end of the field, not dealing well with the poor surface which hindered their attempt to build any sort of attack. With limited chances, the U.S. took only two shots in the first half, neither of which were on target.
The U.S. came out determined to get something on frame in the second half, unleashing nine shots, but Costa Rica was able to put the game away with a third goal in the 69th minute. Pablo Herrera received the ball from Walter Centeno on the right side of the penalty area and turned towards goal. With the U.S. defenders giving him too much space and time, Herrera fired a low shot that sneaked inside the right post from about 10 yards out. The three goals on the night were the first allowed by Howard since a 6-1 win against Cuba on Oct. 11, 2008. It was the first time the U.S. has allowed three goals in a game since Sept. 9, 2007 in a 2-4 loss to then No. 1-ranked Brazil.
The U.S. finally got on the board in second-half stoppage time. Wynne took a long throw in into the area and defender Oguchi Onyewu was pulled down by Diaz as he made an attempt for the ball. Donovan stepped up and hit his shot low and to the left, past Keylor Navas and into the net. The goal, the 38th of Donovan’s career, was the first scored by the U.S. in Costa Rica since July 23, 2000 and the first scored by Donovan in final round qualifying.
The U.S. used all three of its substitutions on the night, including bringing on Sacha Kljestan at halftime for Torres as the team switched to a 4-4-2. Freddy Adu earned his first appearance in the final round of qualifying, coming into the midfield for Pablo Mastroeni in the 63rd minute. Charlie Davies came on for Clint Dempsey, who earned his 50th career appearance on the night, with 10 minutes remaining.
Match: United States vs. Costa Rica
Date: June 3, 2009
Competition: FIFA World Cup Qualifying; Final Round
Venue: Estadio Ricardo Saprissa; San Jose, Costa Rica
Kickoff: 8:06 p.m. MT
Weather: Partly cloudy, 70 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
CRC 2 1 3
CRC – Alvaro Saborio (Andy Herron) 2nd minute
CRC – Celso Borges (Esteban Sirias) 13
CRC – Pablo Herrera (Walter Centeno) 69
USA – Landon Donovan (penalty kick) 92+
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Marvell Wynne, 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 4-Pablo Mastroeni (11-Freddy Adu, 63), 12-Michael Bradley, 9-José Francisco Torres (16-Sacha Kljestan, 46); 8-Clint Dempsey (15-Charlie Davies, 80), 10-Landon Donovan, 17-Jozy Altidore
Subs not used: 18-Brad Guzan, 2-Ricardo Clark, 13-Jonathan Bornstein, 14-Jay DeMerit
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
CRC: 1-Keylor Navas; 15-Harold Wallace (2-Pablo Herrera, 56), 4-Michael Umana, 3-Freddy Fernandez, 17-Junior Diaz; 7-Andy Herron (6-Cristian Bolanos, 72), 5-Celso Borges, 10-Walter Centeno, 8-Esteban Sirias; 11-Bryan Ruiz, 9-Alvaro Saborio (16-Carlos Hernandez, 77)
Subs not used: 18-Ricardo Gonzalez, 12-Andy Furtado, 13-Gonzalo Segares, 14-Armando Alonso
Head Coach: Rodrigo Kenton
Stats Summary: USA / CRC
Shots: 11 / 8
Shots on Goal: 2 / 6
Saves: 3 / 1
Corner Kicks: 3 / 5
Fouls: 14 / 15
Offside: 0 / 3
CRC – Freddy Fernandez (caution) 30th minute
USA - Michael Bradley (caution) 54
USA – Sacha Kljestan (caution) 66
CRC – Pablo Herrera (caution) 67
CRC – Junior Diaz (caution) 91+
Referee: Neal Brizan (TRI)
Assistant Referee 1: Joseph Taylor (TRI)
Assistant Referee 2: Michael Ragoonath (TRI)
Fourth Official: Geoffrey Hospedales (TRI)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match:
Three days later, the city of Chicago will host its first World Cup qualifier when the U.S. welcomes Honduras to Soldier Field. More than 40,000 tickets have been sold for the USA’s third home match of the final round, where the U.S. will face the team who delivered them their last home loss in World Cup qualifying, a 3-2 defeat on Sept. 1, 2001, at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The match will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN Classic and Galavision. Fans can follow both matches live online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
The U.S. is in first place in the final round hexagonal with an undefeated 2-0-1 record. Costa Rica sits one point behind, while Honduras holds the third position. The top three teams will automatically qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
“Clearly these next matches are very important in our efforts to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley, who is 9-1-1 overall in qualifying action. “Both teams have been very good throughout the qualifying process. We are certainly aware of the challenges of playing in Costa Rica, and Honduras has produced some great results, including two wins against Mexico. We are excited for the start of a very competitive summer for our team.”
The U.S. team will begin assembling on May 26 in Miami, and depart June 1 for San Jose. Several players will join camp following weekend club competition, including 2008 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year Tim Howard, who will lead Everton against Chelsea in the FA Cup final on May 30 at Wembley Stadium, and DaMarcus Beasley and Maurice Edu, who can win the Scottish league title later today and will play in the Scottish FA Cup final against Falkirk next weekend. José Francicso Torres will arrive late if Pachuca reaches the finals of the Mexican league playoffs, and the MLS-based players will travel to Miami following their league matches this week.
The roster boasts nine players who have appeared in all three of the USA’s final round qualifiers, including seven who have started every game. Three players: Michael Bradley – the ussoccer.com Man of the Match after scoring a pair of goals in the 2-0 win against Mexico – DaMarcus Beasley and Heath Pearce are tied with nine starts during the 2010 qualifying campaign. Following his record-setting hat trick in the 3-0 win against Trinidad & Tobago on April 1 in Nashville – he is the youngest U.S. player ever to put in three goals in a game – Jozy Altidore now leads all U.S. attackers with five goals in this World Cup qualifying cycle. Bradley, Brian Ching and Clint Dempsey all have four goals each. Dempsey is one game shy of his 50th appearance for the United States.
Landon Donovan is the leading capwinner on the roster with 108 international appearances, the USA’s all-time leader in goals and assists is one goal shy of tying Brian McBride for the most career goals in World Cup qualifying (10). He recorded assists on all three of Altidore’s goals against Trinidad & Tobago, improving his career tally to 36 assists.
The U.S. defense has produced eight shutouts through 11 matches in this cycle. Tim Howard has presided over five clean sheets, while Brad Guzan has picked up the remaining three. Team captain Carlos Bocanegra has been an anchor in central defense alongside Oguchi Onyewu, who is playing Anderlecht on Sunday in the second leg of a playoff to determine the Belgian league champion. Frankie Hejduk, a veteran of four World Cup qualifying cycles, has started all three final round matches at right back, providing a goal and an assist in the 2-2 away draw in El Salvador, marking the first time the U.S. has come from behind by two goals to earn a point on the road.
In addition to the 24-man roster, two players have been invited to participate in their first camp with the full team: Aston Villa defender Eric Lichaj and Kaiserslautern goalkeeper Luis Robles.
Following the two qualifiers, the U.S. will depart June 8 for South Africa to begin preparations for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. The final 23-man roster for the event will be announced June 7 in Chicago. The United States has been drawn into a powerful Group B along with reigning world champions Italy, five-time World Cup winners Brazil, and reigning African Cup of Nations winners Egypt for the tournament, which will be played from June 14-28. The U.S. kicks off action against Italy on June 15 at Loftus Versfeld in Tshwane/Pretoria, and then faces Brazil on June 18 in the same venue. The United States finishes group play on June 21 against Egypt at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg.
The U.S., along with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, and Trinidad & Tobago, is competing in the 10-game round-robin format through Oct. 14, 2009, with the top three teams automatically advancing to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The fourth-place team will compete in a two-game playoff to be held Nov. 14/18 against the fifth-place finisher in South American qualifying.
U.S. Men's National Team Roster vs. Costa Rica and Honduras
May 26-June 6, 2009
|Potomac, Md.||AS Monaco (France)||12/1|
|Boca Raton, Fla.||Xerez C.D. (Spain)||9/6|
|Ft. Wayne, Ind.||Glasgow Rangers (Scotland)||85/17|
|Alta Loma, Calif.||Stade Rennais (France)||65/10|
|Los Alamitos, Calif.||Chivas USA||14/1|
|Manhattan Beach, Calif.||Borussia Mönchengladbach (Germany)||28/5|
|Orange, Calif||FC Midtjylland (Denmark)||23/1|
|Haleiwa, Hawaii||Houston Dynamo||36/9|
|Manchester, N.H.||Hammarby IF (Sweden)||5/1|
|Green Bay, Wis.||Watford FC (England)||9/1|
|Nacogdoches, Texas||Fulham FC (England)||49/13|
|Redlands, Calif.||Los Angeles Galaxy||108/37|
|Fontana, Calif.||Glasgow Rangers (Scotland)||11/1|
|Irvine, Calif.||AGF Aarhus (Denmark)||16/2|
|Homer Glen, Ill.||Aston Villa FC (England)||12/1|
|Cardiff, Calif.||Columbus Crew||84/7|
|North Brunswick, N.J.||Everton FC (England)||37/0|
|Phoenix, Ariz.||Colorado Rapids||63/0|
|Huntington Beach, Calif.||Chivas USA||16/3|
|Olney, Md.||Standard de Liege (Belgium)||40/5|
|Modesto, Calif.||Hansa Rostock (Germany)||23/0|
|Arlington Heights, Ill.||West Ham United (England)||12/1|
|Torres, José Francisco||M||5-7||135||
|Longview, Texas||C.D. Pachuca (Mexico)||4/1|
|Poway, Calif.||Toronto FC||2/1|
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa: 5/3 SO), Tim Howard (Everton: 9/7 SO)
DEFENDERS (9): Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes: 19/2), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA: 1/0), Danny Califf (Midtjylland: 4/0), Jay DeMerit (Watford: 1/0), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew: 17/2), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege: 14/1), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock: 9/0), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United: 2/1), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC: 0/0)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Freddy Adu (Monaco: 5/1), DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers: 24/6), Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach: 9/4), Maurice Edu (Rangers: 4/0), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus: 0/0), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA: 9/0), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids: 13/0), José Francisco Torres (Pachuca: 4/0)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Xerez: 6/5), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo: 15/6), Charlie Davies (Hammarby: 1/1), Clint Dempsey (Fulham: 15/4), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy: 28/9)
*numbers indicate all-time World Cup Qualifying caps/goals
Head Coach: Bob Bradley (Manhattan Beach, Calif.)
All-time Record: 24-8-4
World Cup Qualifying: 9-1-1
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 1, 2009) — Forward Jozy Altidore became the youngest player in history to score a hat trick for the U.S. Men’s National Team, tallying all three goals tonight for the U.S. Men’s National Team in a dominating 3-0 victory against Trinidad & Tobago in front of a raucous crowd of 27,959 at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. With the victory, the U.S. continued to hold their place at the top of the hexagonal in the final round of qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Altidore had midfielder Landon Donovan to thank for his record-setting performance, as the USA’s all-time leading scorer set up the 19-year-old forward for all three of his strikes while increasing his record-setting tally to 35 career assists. The first connection between the two occurred in the 13th minute, and the duo hooked up two more times in the second half as the U.S. continued their dominance against Trinidad & Tobago at home, now 7-0-1 overall in World Cup qualifying.
With Mexico losing 3-1 to Honduras, and Costa Rica posting a 1-0 win against El Salvador, the USA’s seven points from three games provides them a one-point advantage over second place Costa Rica. The top two teams in the group will face off on June 3 in Matchday 4, with the U.S. traveling to Costa Rica for their second match on the road in the final round. The match is three days earlier than the rest of the hexagonal due to the need to travel to South Africa in preparation for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. The second match for the U.S. on the double fixture date will be against Honduras on June 6 at Soldier Field in Chicago (tickets). Two days later, the U.S. will depart for South Africa.
"Full credit to the players," said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley, who continued the team’s unblemished 6-0-0 home record in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying. "After the last match we were certainly pleased with the push we made when we were behind, but there were things in that match that we felt were not indicative of what we're all about. The players felt strongly about that, and I think you could see the response from the team from the beginning tonight."
Altidore’s goals marked the first time in his career in which he has scored goals in consecutive games, having scored the USA’s first goal against El Salvador in the 2-2 draw on Saturday, March 28, at Estadio Cuscatlán. It also marked the first time that the U.S. has produced multiple goal scorers in three consecutive home matches, with Sacha Kljestan notching a hat trick in the 3-2 win against Sweden on Jan. 24, 2009, and Michael Bradley scoring a brace in the 2-0 win against Mexico on Feb. 11 in Columbus.
“When you have 11 guys on the field working hard and working together as a team, an individual can have a good night. That's just how it happens, “said Altidore, who increased his tally to five goals in 2010 World Cup qualifying. “When the team plays well, individuals will shine, but at the same time we have to keep the mentality that things aren't easy in CONCACAF. These are good teams to play against and sometimes they're tough to break down, as you saw tonight. I just want to keep going forward and keep working hard and hopefully good things will happen.”
Bradley made a handful of changes from the lineup that started the 2-2 draw against El Salvador four nights earlier, deploying DaMarcus Beasley at left back behind Landon Donovan as a left-sided midfielder. Goalkeeper Tim Howard returned to the starting lineup after serving a one-match suspension for accumulation of yellow cards to earn his seventh career shutout in FIFA World Cup qualifying. Three-time World Cup veteran Pablo Mastroeni also returned to the starting lineup, while Altidore earned his fourth start in qualifying.
Despite being the aggressors from the opening whistle, the U.S. came close to an ominous beginning when a bouncing back pass by Oguchi Onyewu gave Howard some trouble and his one-time clearance went straight at the feet of Stern John. Fortunately, John wasn’t expecting the ball and it deflected off his legs to go wide right of the goal.
The first good chance for the U.S. came in the eighth minute, when a through ball was deflected into the air near the top of the box, falling to Dempsey. He headed it into the penalty area for a charging Ching, the forward doing well to chase the ball down and hold off his defender and slip a dangerous ball across the goal mouth, but it was just out of the reach of Altidore for what could have been an easy tap-in.
Altidore would be in the right place at the right time five minutes later to secure a lead the U.S. would never relinquish. Bocanegra got the ball into the attack with a long ball up the left flank, and four touches later the ball was in the back of T&T’s net. Rising to meet the Bocanegra service, Ching deftly headed the ball to Donovan, who brought it down with his chest and inside the box before slipping a pass across the six-yard box for Altidore to bury with one touch past a helpless Clayton Ince.
Altidore almost doubled the score in the 27th minute after Bradley sent a perfectly weighted cross behind the defense and onto the chest of Altidore near the corner of the six-yard box. He tried to chip the goalkeeper as Ince was rushing out, but the deft attempt dipped over the bar.
Trinidad & Tobago had a handful of chances, including a dangerous chance in the 33rd minute for veteran Stern John. With his back to goal, the seasoned player brought it down with his chest and hit a volley that went wide right of Howard’s goal. Overall, the Soca Warriors finished with only a single shot on goal.
The U.S. had two great sequences back-to-back in the 41st and 42nd minutes, but amazingly wasn’t able to double the lead going into halftime. The first opportunity was created by Beasley slipping Ching into the left side of the penalty area. Ching drove a cross into the six-yard area for Altidore, but his left-footed touch from four yards out let him down and the ball rose agonizingly over the crossbar. Keeping the ball in the area after the goal kick, a through ball for Beasley was deflected back out on the left side of the penalty area right to Donovan. He hit a swerving cross back towards Beasley, who directed a header on frame but straight into the waiting hands of Ince.
The side went into the locker room with a 1-0 lead at halftime, an advantage that has proved almost insurmountable during the Bradley era. The victory increases the team’s record to 16-0-1 when leading at the half. Bradley now boasts a 24-8-4 career record, and 15-1-3 tally against CONCACAF opponents.
Second-half action began with a dangerous chance for the U.S. in the 50th minute, when Donovan sent a free kick into the box. The looping ball connected with captain Bocanegra, but his header went over the crossbar.
Trinidad & Tobago defender Akile Edwards will sit out the squad’s next match due to yellow card accumulation after earning a yellow card in the 53rd minute with a late tackle on Altidore. Just 10 minutes later, forward Kenwyne Jones produced some danger off a free kick. Jones lined up about 25 yards out and sent a shot right into the wall. The ball bounced right back to him and hit it again, sending it toward the upper left corner. Howard was prepared for it, however, and calmly snagged it out of the air.
In the 71st minute, Altidore struck again, once again assisted by Donovan. Awaiting a pass from Beasley, the midfielder cleverly spun past his defender and held the ball on the left side before slipping a ball into the center for Altidore, who cut it past his defender and calmly curled a shot past Ince into the far side netting.
With the match winding down and both teams still pushing forward, Bradley used two of the three allowed substitutions, bringing in José Francisco Torres for Brian Ching in the 81st minute and Sacha Kljestan for Clint Dempsey in the 84th minute. One minute later, the fresh legs seemed to spark the attack as Kljestan held onto the ball on the right side and sent a looping cross that went over everybody in the area, including Ince. Torres brought it down on the left side and passed it into the middle for Donovan, but he couldn’t get a good look and sent a weak shot wide right.
The U.S. was not done attacking, however, and the ever-energetic Frankie Hejduk alertly sent a long ball up the right side for Bradley in the 89th minute who perfectly timed a run behind the defense. The assistant referee’s flag stayed down as Bradley found himself alone with the ball and a clear path to the goal. Bradley carried the ball into the area and unselfishly dished it out to an unmarked Donovan on the left side of the six-yard box. Donovan, who could have easily taken a point-blank shot, instead tapped it back out to the center of the area where Altidore took one touch before delivering a weak shot that bounced just under a diving Ince and slithered into the lower left corner to seal the hat trick.
- U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT -
Match: United States vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date: April 1, 2009
Competition: FIFA World Cup Qualifying; Final Round
Venue: LP Field - Nashville, Tennessee
Kickoff: 6:45 p.m. MT
Weather: Fair, 61 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 2 3
TRI 0 0 0
USA – Jozy Altidore (Landon Donovan) 13th minute
USA – Altidore (Donovan) 71
USA – Altidore (Donovan) 89
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 8-Clint Dempsey (16-Sacha Kljestan, 84), 12-Michael Bradley, 4-Pablo Mastroeni, 10-Landon Donovan, 11-Brian Ching (6- José Francisco Torres, 81), 17-Jozy Altidore
Subs not used: 18-Brad Guzan, 9-Eddie Johnson, 13-Maurice Edu, 14-Jay DeMerit, 15-Jonathan Bornstein
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
TRI: 1-Clayton Ince; 3-Aklie Edwards, 8-Anthony Wolfe (4-Makan Hislop, 46), 5-Keyeno Thomas, 6-Dennis Lawrence; 7-Christopher Birchall (16-Khaleem Hyland, 56), 11-Carlos Edwards, 2-Clyde Leon, 17-Keon Daniel (12-Jason Scotland, 71); 15-Kenwyne Jones, 14-Stern John
Subs not used: 9-Trent Noel, 10-Russell Latapy, 13-Densill Theobald, 18-Jan Michael Williams
Head Coach: Francisco Maturana
Stats Summary: USA / TRI
Shots: 14 / 6
Shots on Goal: 6 / 1
Saves: 1 / 3
Corner Kicks: 2 / 2
Fouls: 12 / 14
Offside: 3 / 0
TRI – Aklie Edwards (caution) 53rd minute
Referee: Roberto Moreno (PAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Daniel Williamson (PAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Pastrana (HON)
Fourth Official: Luis Rodriguez (PAN)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match:
U.S. Posts Remarkable Come-From-Behind Tie in El Salvador as Altidore and Hejduk Score to Erase Two-Goal Deficit
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (March 28, 2009) — Defender Frankie Hejduk scored a header from three yards out in the 88th minute as the U.S. came from two goals down to tie El Salvador 2-2 in a wild match at Estadio Cuscatlán in San Salvador.
The tie gives the U.S. four points through two games of the final round of FIFA World Cup qualifying, putting them in sole possession of first place in the hexagonal table.
The focus for the U.S. shifts immediately to Trinidad & Tobago, whom the U.S. will host Wednesday, April 1, at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., at 6:45 p.m. CT. Coverage by ESPN2 and Galavision begins at 6:30 p.m. CT and fans can also follow the action live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker. Ticket sales for that match have surpassed the 16,000 mark, and fans can purchase tickets at ussoccer.com.
"El Salvador played with a tremendous about of energy, and it was our challenge to match it,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. “When we found ourselves behind it took a great effort from our players to fight back and come away with a point. We prepared for this game knowing that El Salvador would be difficult. We found ourselves behind, and that was not part of the plan, and at that point the team spirit and mentality paid off."
After surrendering goals in the 15th and 72nd minutes, the U.S. rallied when El Salvador was forced to change goalkeepers after starter Miguel Montes went down for the second time with cramps in his legs. Two minutes after reserve goalkeeper Juan Jose Gomez came on, the U.S. struck for the first time in the 77th minute.
The setup for the first goal started deep on the left wing, where DaMarcus Beasley played a long ball that Clint Dempsey flicked forward to Brian Ching at the top of the 18-yard box. Ching looked outside and found Hejduk on a trademark overlapping run. Hedjuk was just outside the penalty area when he ripped a cross to the far post, and Jozy Altidore headed it into the net to cut the El Salvador lead to 2-1 with his second career qualifying goal.
The U.S. continued to press, as they did for much of the final 20 minutes, and leveled the score off a set piece in the 88th minute. Danny Califf, getting the start in place of Oguchi Onyewu who was out with a sprained knee, pumped a long ball from the center circle, and a Salvadoran defender headed it away from Altidore and out for a corner. Beasley played the ensuing corner to the near post, where Gomez came charging out, but defender Marvin Gonzalez cut him off and popped the ball to the far post. The 5 foot 8 inch Hejduk was there and held his ground to head it between a pair of defenders and into the net from three yards out.
Hejduk’s goal was his second-ever in a FIFA World Cup qualifier and first in more than 12 years. Although he now has seven career goals, his last in a qualifier came in his first career start on Dec. 21, 1996, in a 2-2 tie with Guatemala, which also was played in San Salvador. The drought of 12 years and 97 days is the longest span in U.S. history, with Tab Ramos previously going eight years and 130 days between qualifying goals between 1989 and 1997.
The goals scored by El Salvador were the first against the U.S. since Raul Diaz Arce tallied twice on Nov. 16, 1997, in a 4-2 U.S. victory in Foxborough, Mass. The U.S. is now 4-0-3 in qualifying and 13-1-5 overall against El Salvador.
With two shots in the first two minutes, the U.S. was playing well and holding most of the possession early on, but El Salvador struck first 15 minutes in against the run of play. Eliseo Quintanilla took control of a bad touch from Beasley in the U.S. third to start the counterattack. He played the ball to Osael Romero, who found Rodolfo Zelaya open on the right wing. Zelaya played a one-two with Quintanilla to get into a small space in front of the U.S. midfielders and cut a pass that got past the foot of a sliding Carlos Bocanegra and found Romero at the top of the 18-yard box. Quintanilla made a slashing run into the space Bocanegra vacated, and Romero played a first time ball into Quintanilla’s path that the former D.C. United midfielder touched to settle behind the U.S. defense and blasted home inside the far post past Guzan.
The USA’s best chance from the run of play of the first half occurred in the 23rd minute. The ball popped up to Dempsey near the top right of the U.S. area and he tried an overhead kick. His half chance bounced in front of the goal where Donovan slashed in and hit a point-blank shot off the chest of the Salvadoran keeper.
With the action back down the field eight minutes later, Guzan kept his team within one goal with a big save. Julio Martinez won the ball in the air over Heath Pearce, and headed it directly into the path of Romero. After a pair of touches, he drove an 18-yard rocket to the far post that Guzan got his fingertips to, tipping it outside the post.
As the half wound down, a Donovan free kick from 21 yards out flew over the crossbar, and a Beasley free kick found the head of Ching who headed the ball inside the far post, but was correctly whistled for offside.
In the second half, the U.S. wasn’t able to muster much of an attack against El Salvador’s bunker, and Bradley began making tactical changes. The first was to bring on Altidore in the 61st minute for Pearce with Beasley now covering defensively on the left in his place. Eleven minutes later, just after Bradley replaced Sacha Kljestan with Jose Francisco Torres, El Salvador exposed the weakened U.S. back line to score their second goal.
Zelaya worked hard on the right wing to eventually beat Beasley to the end line where he drilled a cross into the middle of the area. Cristian Castillo came crashing to the net and timed his jump better than Hedjuk, out-leaping the U.S. right back six yards from goal and heading the ball down and just past Guzan.
After the ensuing goal celebration, the Salvadoran goalkeeper, Montes, went down for the second extended period of time with cramps in his legs, and the hosts went to their bench to bring in Gomez. The long delays for the goalkeeper’s injuries, as well as some other injuries to the host team in the second half, caused the referee to add seven minutes of stoppage time, giving the U.S. nearly 10 minutes to push for the game-winner after Hejduk’s tying goal.
With about three minutes left to play, Altidore held the ball strongly to set up Ching for a close-in shot that was saved by Gomez. In the final minute, Altidore was called for a foul on a flying challenge by Gomez. On that play, the ball popped up in the air to an unmarked Ching, who then hit an on-target bicycle kick that was headed over the crossbar by defender Mardoqueo Henrizuez just before it crossed the line. Right after the ball was put back into play, the final whistle sounded.
For the USA, the match was the second of 10 games in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Elsewhere on Saturday, Mexico topped Costa Rica 2-0 in Mexico City, and Trinidad & Tobago scored a 90th minute goal to tie Honduras 1-1. The U.S. leads the six-team group with four points while Mexico and Costa Rica are right behind with three each. The top three teams in the six-team group qualify for the 2010 World Cup, while the fourth place team enters a playoff with the fifth place team from South America.
The U.S. played the match without first choice goalkeeper Tim Howard, who was serving a yellow card suspension. Onyewu was also a scratch after spraining his knee in training last Wednesday. He could have played with the injury, but was held out with the hope of being 100 percent fit for Wednesday’s match vs. Trinidad & Tobago.
Match: United States vs. El Salvador
Date: March 28, 2009
Competition: FIFA World Cup Qualifying; Final Round
Venue: Estadio Cuscatlán, San Salvador
Kickoff: 7 p.m. MT
Weather: 73 degrees, clear
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 2 2
SLV 1 1 2
SLV – Eliseo Quintanilla (Osael Romero) 15th minute
SLV – Cristian Castillo (Rodolfo Zelaya) 72
USA – Jozy Altidore (Frankie Hejduk) 77
USA – Frankie Hejduk 88
USA: 18-Brad Guzan; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 14-Danny Califf, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 15-Heath Pearce (9-Jozy Altidore, 61); 16-Sacha Kljestan (6-José Francisco Torres, 72), 12-Michael Bradley (13-Maurice Edu, 95+), 10-Landon Donovan, 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 11-Brian Ching, 8-Clint Dempsey
Subs not used: 1-Marcus Hahnemann, 5-Jay DeMerit, 4-Pablo Mastroeni, 17-Jonathan Spector
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
SLV: 18-Miguel Montes (1-Juan Jose Gomez, 75), 12-Manuel Salazar, 3-Marvin González, 2-Mardoqueo Henríquez, 15-Alfredo Pacheco, 6-Julio Martínez, 7-Ramon Sánchez, 17-Cristian Castillo, 8-Osael Romero, 10-Eliseo Quintanilla (4-Dennis Alas, 82), 11-Rodolfo Zelaya (16-Carlos Ayala, 80)
Subs not used: 5-Luis Hernandez, 13-Deris Umanazor, 14-William Torres, 9-Rudis Corrales
Head Coach: Carlos de los Cobos
Stats Summary: USA / SLV
Shots: 13 / 8
Shots on Goal: 8 / 3
Saves: 1 / 6
Corner Kicks: 4 / 6
Fouls: 12 / 8
Offside: 1 / 0
USA – Michael Bradley (caution) 56th minute
SLV – Cristian Castillo (caution) 57
SLV – Eliseo Quintanilla (caution) 82
Referee: Benito Archundia (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Hector Delgadillo (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Marvin Torrentera (MEX)
Fourth Official: Walter Lopez (MEX)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Jozy Altidore