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United States into World Cup Quarterfinals with 2-0 Defeat of Mexico; First World Cup Shutout by U.S. Since 1950

JEONJU, Korea (Monday, June 17, 2002) - In easily the most anticipated and important match of an intense 68-year soccer rivalry with CONCACAF foe Mexico, the U.S. Men’s National Team used clinical finishing from Brian McBride and Chevy Man of the Match Landon Donovan, as well as smothering defense and more solid goalkeeping from Brad Friedel, to post a 2-0 shutout win today in the Round of 16 in Jeonju, Korea. [Note: The USA-Mexico match will be rebroadcast Monday afternoon on ESPN2 at 1:30 p.m. ET.]

With the historic victory, the U.S. advances to the World Cup quarterfinals, where they will meet Group E winner Germany Friday live on ESPN2 and Univision at 7:25 a.m. ET. With today's result, the team ties U.S. Men's National Team marks for the most wins at a World Cup (2) and most goals scored in a World Cup (7), each matching the U.S. team that reached the semifinals at the inaugural FIFA World Cup in Uruguay in 1930.

The win also had significance in that it was the first time the U.S. has won a single-elimination game in World Cup history, and it was the USA’s first World Cup shutout since a huge 1-0 upset of England at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil.

“It was tough getting our guys back from the game on Friday (a 3-1 loss to Poland in Daejeon) … We had to go with a lineup that made sense for our guys to endure over 90-95 minutes,” said Bruce Arena, who helped the U.S. improve its all-time World Cup record to 6-13-2. “Our guys left everything on the field today.  They played great; I’m proud of them … It’s a great day for U.S. Soccer.”

The U.S. has now won five of the last six contests against its neighbor from the South, and improved to 10-28-9 all-time against the Tricolores. The U.S. also defeated Mexico earlier this year, a 1-0 win in Denver on April 3. Today’s match was the first time the two teams have met in World Cup play.

Missing two starters – defenders Jeff Agoos (calf injury) and Frankie Hejduk (yellow card accumulation) – from the disappointing 3-1 loss to Poland, the U.S. began the match with an unusual 3-5-2 formation that allowed defender Gregg Berhalter, midfielder Eddie Lewis and forward Josh Wolff to get their first starts of the World Cup. The start marked Berhalter’s first minutes in the World Cup.

Like they did in two if their three opening round matches, the U.S. came out and struck first to establish an early lead. The quick combination play started on the right flank with U.S. captain and midfielder Claudio Reyna, who flew down the right flank, beat a defender and dribbled toward the endline to draw two more Mexican defenders. Reyna then deftly laid the ball off to forward Josh Wolff at the corner of the six-yard box. Wolff tapped the ball back to an unmarked Brian McBride in the middle of the box, where he blasted a shot through three lunging defenders and past airborne Mexico goalkeeper Oscar Perez in the 8th minute.

Mexico had a chance to equalize in the 35th minute, when a cross from active forward Jared Borgetti deflected high off a U.S. defender and floated in toward the goal. U.S. goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who earned Chevy Man of the Match honors and saved crucial penalty kicks in each of the two previous matches, was challenged in the air by Mexico forward Luis Hernandez on the goalline and could only punch the ball away from the goal. The short clearance dangerously fell right at the feet of veteran midfielder Cuauhtemoc Blanco, but his quick chip was pushed over the bar by the 6’4” keeper.

The U.S. had a chance to make it 2-0 before the half by winning a pair of headers off a free kick from the left flank.  After McBride won the initial header, Donovan rose up to head a pass back over the Mexico defense to Wolff, but his volley was directed right at Perez and saved out for a corner kick.

Coming out of the locker rooms with a 1-0 lead, the U.S. was forced to bear the brunt of a Mexican attack bent on earning the all-important equalizer. The U.S. got its first scare of the second half in the 52nd minute when midfielder Braulio Luna sent a swerving free kick from the right side that Friedel was lucky to get a hand on and push off the top side of the crossbar and out for a corner kick.

Luna had another good look at the U.S. goal in the 63rd minute, lifting his left-footed free kick over the U.S. wall from 25 yards out but curving it just a few feet wide right of the post.

With Mexico continuing to own the majority of possession, it took a textbook counter-attack for the U.S. to increase its lead to 2-0. Reyna started the play in the U.S. half, sending a looping long ball to the left flank, where midfielder Eddie Lewis was making a speedy run. Lewis gathered the ball and attacked in stride before sending a perfect cross to the far post, where Donovan snuck behind two Mexican defenders and nodded home a header past Perez in the 65th minute.

The USA had an excellent chance to put the game out of reach at 3-0, again off the left foot of Lewis. In the 71st minute, the 28-year-old midfielder sent a free kick from the right side to the far post, where Earnie Stewart volleyed the ball past Perez but off the post and out over the endline.

Despite holding a two-goal lead, the U.S. spent the last 10 minutes of the match like they did in the 3-2 win over Portugal in their World Cup opener, holding on to possession, managing the clock, and mounting just enough of an attack to keep the opponent in their end.

As with most physical, tense match-ups between the two border rivals, the contest was full of brutal fouls and tough challenges. By the end, referee Vitor Melo Pereira had handed out 10 yellow cards (five for each team), as well as a red card ejection for Mexico captain Rafael Marquez after he put a foot in the back and deliberately knocked the head of Cobi Jones as he won a header in the 88th minute. 

The U.S. had a final chance to equal their goal total against Portugal in the fourth minute of extra time, when Lewis started an attack on the left flank, sending the ball ahead to Jones. Still with fresh legs after coming into the match less than 15 minutes ago, Jones beat a defender and sent a cross into an unmarked Donovan in the middle of the six-yard box, but his point-blank rocket sailed high over the crossbar just seconds before the match would come to an end.

After tying Tab Ramos’ all-time World Cup appearance record at nine games by appearing in the Poland match on June 14, veteran midfielders Stewart and Jones both came off the bench in the second half (in the 59th and 79th minutes, respectively) to help preserve the lead and now hold the U.S. record at 10 World Cup caps.  Ramos played on the 1990, ’94 and ’98 squads, while Jones and Stewart made their World Cup debuts in 1994 and also saw action at France '98  prior to this, their third time representing the U.S. at a World Cup.

The U.S. now has three days of rest before meeting the three-time World Cup champions in Ulsan, Korea, on Friday. After winning Group E in impressive with a 2-0-1 record, Germany needed a header by veteran forward Oliver Neuville in the 88th minute to defeat Paraguay Saturday in Seogwipo, Korea, and advance to the quarterfinals. The U.S. holds a 2-4-0 record all-time against Germany, including a 4-2 loss earlier this year in Rostock on March 27. Forward Clint Mathis scored both goals for the U.S. in the loss, while Germany scored its four goals across 25 minutes.

Other notes: The U.S. is now 6-13-2 all-time in World Cup competition …The U.S. is now 6-1-1 all-time when scoring the first goal in World Cup matches, including a 2-0-1 mark at 2002 Korea/Japan ... The U.S. is 2-4-0 all time against Germany with both wins coming under Bruce Arena's watch as U.S. head coach - a 3-0 win on February 6, 1999, in a friendly in Jacksonville, Fla. and a 2-0 win on July 30, 1999, in Guadalajara, Mexico, during the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup.

- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report -

Participants: United States World Cup Team vs. Mexico
Competition: 2002 World Cup Korea/Japan – Round of 16 (Match 53)
Venue: Jeonju World Cup Stadium (Jeonju, Korea)
Date: June 17, 2002 – 3:30 p.m. (local) / 2:30 a.m. ET
Weather: 82 degrees; sunny, clear
Attendance: 36,380

Scoring Summary: 1 - 2 - F
United States  1 - 1 - 2
Mexico 0 - 0 - 0

USA – Brian McBride (Josh Wolff), 8.
USA – Landon Donovan (Eddie Lewis), 65.

USA: 1-Brad Friedel; 3-Gregg Berhalter, 23-Eddie Pope, 22-Tony Sanneh; 4-Pablo Mastroeni (16-Carlos Llamosa, 92+), 7-Eddie Lewis, 10-Claudio Reyna (Capt.), 5-John O’Brien, 21-Landon Donovan; 20-Brian McBride (13-Cobi Jones, 79), 15-Josh Wolff (8-Earnie Stewart, 59).
Subs Not Used: 6-David Regis, 9-Joe-Max Moore, 11-Clint Mathis, 14-Steve Cherundolo, 17-DaMarcus Beasley, 18-Kasey Keller, 19-Tony Meola.

MEX: 1-Oscar Perez; 16-Salvador Carmona, 4-Rafael Marquez (Capt.), 5-Manuel Vidrio (13-Sigifredo Mercado, 46); 7-Ramon Morales (15-Luis Hernandez, 28), 11-Braulio Luna, 18-Joahan Rodriguez, 6-Gerardo Torrado (8-Alberto Garcia Aspe, 78), 21-Jesus Arellano; 10-Cuauhtemoc Blanco, 9-Jared Borgetti.
Subs Not Used: 2-Francisco Gabriel de Anda, 3-Rafael Garcia, 12-Oswaldo Sanchez, 14-German Villa, 17-Francisco Palencia, 19-Gabriel Caballero, 22-Alberto Rodriguez, 23-Jorge Campos.

Statistical Summary:  USA - MEX
Shots: 10 - 12
Saves: 6 - 4
Corner Kicks: 3 - 9
Fouls: 18 - 17
Offside: 1 - 5

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Eddie Pope (caution), 26.
MEX – Manuel Vidrio (caution), 37.
USA – Pablo Mastroeni (caution), 47.
USA – Josh Wolff (caution), 50.
USA – Gregg Berhalter (caution), 53.
MEX – Luis Hernandez (caution), 67.
MEX – Cuauhtemoc Blanco (caution), 70.
MEX – Alberto Garcia Aspe (caution), 81.
USA – Brad Friedel (caution), 83.
MEX – Salvador Carmona (caution), 84.
MEX – Rafael Marquez (ejection), 88.

Referee: Vitor Melo Pereira (POR)
Assistant Referee #1: Carlos Matos (POR)
Assistant Referee #2: Egon Bereuter (AUT)
Fourth Official: Jan Wegereef (NED)

Chevrolet Man of Match: Landon Donovan