SUWON, Korea (Wednesday, June 5, 2002) - The U.S. Men’s National Team opened the 2002 World Cup by posting perhaps the tournament's biggest upset so far, scoring three first-half goals and holding on for a 3-2 win over popular pre-tournament favorite Portugal in Suwon, Korea, today. U.S. forward Brian McBride earned Chevy Man of the Match honors after providing the assist on the first goal and knocking home a header in the 36th minute to provide the game winner, making him the only U.S. player to score a goal in two different World Cups (McBride had the USA's only goal at France '98 in a 2-1 loss to Iran on June 21).
“We beat a great team today,” said Bruce Arena, who helped the U.S. improve their all-time World Cup record to 5-12-1 and became just the fourth U.S. coach to record a win in the World Cup. “We came into this game believing we could win this game, and our guys played a great 30-40 minutes in the first half that really won the game for us.”
McBride was dangerous all afternoon, effectively playing with his back to the goal and spear-heading the U.S. attack as the lone target man in the final third of the field. The 29-year-old forward created the first goal when he rose above Portugal captain Fernando Couto to snap a header off an Earnie Stewart corner kick. Portugal goalkeeper Victor Baia dove to his left to stop the shot, but the short rebound fell to midfielder John O’Brien, who was lurking at the far post and easily knocked it home in the 4th minute for the fastest goal in the U.S. World Cup history.
The U.S. would increase its lead to 2-0 on an unusual own goal by Portugal defender Jorge Costa in the 30th minute. U.S. midfielder Landon Donovan sent in a routine cross from the right side looking for McBride, but the pass ricocheted off Costa’s shoulder and sailed just inside the near post and past Baia to further stun the Portuguese.
McBride provided what would be the eventual game-winner just six minutes later, sneaking through two Portugal defenders in the box to bang home a diving header after receiving a perfect cross from defender and former Milwaukee Rampage (A-League) teammate Tony Sanneh from the right flank. The goal marked the first time the U.S. has scored three goals in a half since the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay (a 3-0 shutout of Paraguay in Montevideo on July 17).
“The important thing was to come out quick,” said McBride, who helped the U.S. improve to 14-2 in games in which he scores. “They’re a very good team and we needed to make sure and put them on their heels, and that’s what we did.”
Portugal drew a goal back in the 39th minute after a poor U.S. clearance off a corner kick. Portugal midfielder Luis Figo sent in a cross from the right side, where Beto outjumped U.S. defender Jeff Agoos and headed a shot on goal. O’Brien was there to quickly clear the shot, but it fell back to Beto, who finished past Friedel to make it 3-1 heading into halftime.
The U.S. registered a strong defensive performance in holding off the ultra-talented Portugal attack throughout the match. Sanneh and central defender Eddie Pope repeatedly thwarted the waves of offense that came in the second half as the U.S. was forced to bunker in and counter-attack.
Brad Friedel earned the start over Kasey Keller and was solid in coming off the line to snare the many dangerous Portugal crosses and corner kicks. Friedel’s biggest stop was when he jumped out and forced Pauleta to shoot wide right after Figo fed him a nifty pass off a corner in the 56th minute.
It took a U.S. own goal to bring Portugal within a goal late in the match. Midfielder Rui Costa sent in a cross from the left side that fell to U.S. defender Jeff Agoos in the middle of the box, but his errant volley angled back toward the U.S. goal and past a flat-footed Fridel to make it 3-2 in the 71st minute.
The U.S. was revived by second-half subs Joe-Max Moore, who replaced Donovan at forward in the 75th minute, and defender Carlos Llamosa, who came on in the 80th minute after Pope came out due to cramps. With Portugal desperate to equalize in the last 10 minutes, the Americans were able to gain more possession, even out play and eventually hold off the Europeans with offensive forays of their own.
With U.S. captain Claudio Reyna sidelined with a strained right quadricep, Pablo Mastroeni held his own at defensive midfielder, earning his first World Cup appearance in just his 11th career cap. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Agoos made his first World Cup appearance in his 131st cap after serving as an alternate in 1994 and then making the roster but failing to appear in 1998. In addition to Mastroeni and Agoos, five other U.S. players -- 20-year-old midfielder DaMarcus Beasley, Donovan, Llamosa, O’Brien and Sanneh – made their World Cup debuts in today’s match.
The U.S. is now tied on points with Korea atop the Group D table, though Korea holds an edge in goal difference after dominating Poland in a 2-0 victory in front of a stadium filled with home fans on Tuesday night. The group leaders face each other on June 10 in Daegu. The USA wraps up group play on June 14 against Poland in Daejeon.
Key Notes: The U.S. is now 5-1-0 in all-time World Cup history when scoring first ... The win was the first for the U.S. in a World Cup since the 2-1 win over Colombia on June 22 at USA '94 ... With the U.S. win, all three CONCACAF teams were victorious in their respective 2002 World Cup openers, as Mexico defeated Croatia 1-0 in Group G play, while Costa Rica downed China 2-0 in Group C … Earnie Stewart, who wore the captain’s armband for the U.S. in Reyna’s absence, left the match at halftime with a groin injury and was replaced on the right flank by World Cup veteran Cobi Jones; Brad Friedel took the captain's armband for the second half … Today's three-goal performance is equal to the number of total goals the U.S. scored in the 1994 World Cup ... The last time Portugal has given up three goals in a World Cup match was their last game of Group F first round play in Mexico 1986, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Morocco on June 11, 1986 in Guadalajara, that knocked them out of the tournament.
- U.S. Men's National Team Game Report -
Participants: United States World Cup Team vs. Portugal
Competition: 2002 World Cup Korea/Japan – Group D (Game 16)
Venue: Suwon World Cup Stadium (Suwon, Korea)
Date: June 5, 2002 – 6 p.m. (local) / 5 a.m. ET
Weather: 76 degrees; humid, hazy
Scoring Summary: 1 - 2 - F
United States 3 - 0 - 3
Portugal 1 - 1 - 2
USA – John O’Brien (Brian McBride), 4.
USA – own goal (Jorge Costa) 30.
USA – Brian McBride (Tony Sanneh), 36.
POR – Beto (unassisted), 39.
POR – own goal (Jeff Agoos), 71.
USA - 1-Brad Friedel; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 12-Jeff Agoos, 23-Eddie Pope (16-Carlos Llamosa, 80), 22-Tony Sanneh; 4-Pablo Mastroeni, 17-DaMarcus Beasley, 5-John O’Brien, 8-Earnie Stewart (Capt.; 13-Cobi Jones, 46); 21-Landon Donovan (9-Joe-Max Moore, 75), 20-Brian McBride.
Subs Not Used: 3-Gregg Berhalter, 6-David Regis, 7-Eddie Lewis, 10-Claudio Reyna, 11-Clint Mathis, 14-Steve Cherundolo, 15-Josh Wolff, 18-Kasey Keller, 19-Tony Meola.
POR - 1-Vitor Baia; 2-Jorge Costa (13-Jorge Andrade, 73), 5-Fernando Couto (Capt.), 23-Rui Jorge (17-Paulo Bento, 69); 20-Petit, 10-Rui Costa (21-Nuno Gomes, 80), 11-Sergio Conceicao, 22-Beto; 7-Luis Figo, 9-Pauleta, 8-Joao Pinto.
Subs Not Used: 4-Caneira, 12-Hugo Viana, 14-Pedro Barbosa, 15-Nelson, 16-Ricardo, 18-Frechaut, 19-Capucho.
Statistical Summary: USA - POR
Shots: 10 - 12
Saves: 2 - 3
Corner Kicks: 4 - 7
Fouls: 20 - 20
Offside: 4 - 2
POR – Beto (caution) 34th minute.
POR – Petit (caution) 52.
USA – DaMarcus Beasley (caution) 92+.
Referee: Byron Moreno (ECU)
Assistant Referee #1: Bomer Fierro (ECU)
Assistant Referee #2: Awni Hassouneh (JOR)
Fourth Official: Saad Mane (KUW)
Chevrolet Man of Match: Brian McBride