Blanco's goal ignited the Mexican crowd of 65,000 at Azteca Stadium and came after a goalmouth scramble which originally began with Blanco playing the ball out of midfield to the right wing. After a cross to the left side of the penalty area, Blanco found himself at the edge of the goalkeeper area where his first attempt at goal clipped off the bottom of his left foot and sent U.S. goalkeeper Kasey Keller diving to his left. With Keller out of the way and a number of U.S. defenders closing in, Blanco was fortunate to have the ball sit perfectly for him four yards from the goal where he poked it home with his right foot.
"I would first like to congratulate Mexico on the victory," said U.S. Head Coach Bruce Arena. "There were two champions on this field today. Now we will do our best to win on Tuesday (in the third place match) and wish our CONCACAF neighbor well in the championship match."
The U.S. defense did well to contain Mexico's two active forwards Jose Abundis and Cuauhtemoc Blanco, who led the way for the Tri-Colores as they outshot the U.S. 17-7.
Mexico looked certain to score on two separate occasions after 10 minutes, but Kasey Keller in the U.S. goal pulled off remarkable saves to stop a half-volley from Rafael Marquez and a point-blank bullet from Ramon Ramirez. Keller continued to look unbeatable throughout the 96-minute match, making a number of excellent stops including one just three minutes after the break.
Brian McBride and Cobi Jones combined for the USA's first threatening opportunity in the 14th minute. McBride played a diagonal pass to Jones, who was charging into the area unmarked on the right side. Jones touched towards goal, but his right-footer was off target.
Later in the second half, attacking midfielder Jovan Kirovski slipped into the penalty area on the left side and smacked a centering pass that found Ernie Stewart on the right side. Stewart took a touch and drilled a shot that Jorge Campos did well to deflect wide. After 67 minutes, the U.S. had another chance to score, with Jones' breaking free in the penalty area and hitting a blast from 15 yards that glanced off the top of the crossbar.
The match against Mexico was the third game in five days for the U.S., which advanced to the semifinals after finishing second in Group B on the strength of two impressive victories over New Zealand (2-1 on July 24) and Germany (2-0 on July 30). Those matches were sandwiched around a skillful 1-0 loss at the hands of four-time World Cup champion Brazil on July 28.
The United States will now incredibly play their fourth major international match of the tournament in seven days when they return to Guadalajara for the third-place game against Saudi Arabia or Brazil on Tuesday (Aug. 3) at 9 p.m. CT (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT). Saudi Arabia and Brazil were battling in the other semifinal for the right to meet Mexico in the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup Final on Wednesday (at 9 p.m. CT).
1999 U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||U.S. Men's National Team vs. Mexico|
|Competition:||1999 FIFA Confederations Cup|
|Venue:||Azteca Stadium (Mexico City, Mexico)|
|Date:||Aug. 1, 1999 (12:00 p.m. CT kickoff)|
|Weather:||75 degrees - Partly Cloudy|
MEX - Cuauhtemoc Blanco, (unassisted), 96.
USA - Kasey Keller (Capt.), Jeff Agoos, Gregg Berhalter, Robin Fraser, Frankie Hejduk, Richie Williams, John Harkes, Ernie Stewart, Cobi Jones, Jovan Kirovski, Brian McBride (Eddie Lewis, 78).
MEX - Jorge Campos, Claudio Suarez (Capt.), Rafael Marquez, Gerardo Torrado (Miguel Zepeda, 58), German Villa, Ramon Ramirez (Jesus Arellano, 72), Pavel Pardo, Isaac Terrazas (Francisco Palencia, 46), Salvador Carmona, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Jose Abundis.
|John Harkes (caution)||41,|
|C. Blanco (caution)||57,|
|Robin Fraser (caution)||60,|
|Frankie Hejduk (caution)||82.|
|Young Joo Kim||(Korea Republic)|