U.S. Falls to England 2-1 in Soldier Field Friendly
- Clint Dempsey Scores First International Goal in His Sixth Appearance for USA
- Loss Ends USA 14-Game Home Unbeaten Streak Dating Back to 2003
- USA Heads to Utah on Monday for Critical World Cup Qualifying Match on June 4 v. Costa Rica
CHICAGO (May 28, 2005) – The U.S. fell behind by two goals after 45 minutes before battling back with a dominating second half, but could only find the back of the net once as they fell to England 2-1 on Saturday afternoon in front of 47,637 fans on a beautiful day at Soldier Field in Chicago. U.S. midfielder Clint Dempsey, who battled through a physical English team all day, scored the only goal for the United States, his first with the full national team.
Midfielder Kieran Richardson was the hero for England as he tallied both goals, striking early on a free kick in the fourth minute and then striking again just before halftime in the 44th minute. The second half was a different story, though, as the U.S. was able to control the majority of the play, eventually out-shooting England 14-8 (including 9-3 in the second half), while scoring their only goal off a free kick in the 79th minute.
"I thought it was a good game,” said U.S. manager Bruce Arena, who saw the U.S. lose a home game for the first time in a span of 14 games dating back to 2003. “I was pleased with our team's effort in the second half. Not that it was a bad effort in the first half, but I think the English team did an outstanding job for 45 minutes in the first half with their concentration and their ability to hang in on every play and make a difference. Their two goals they scored were opportunistic and intelligent plays. I told our guys at the end of the game that players like Alan Smith and Joe Cole, you appreciate them a lot more when you are on the field with them and see the plays they pull off for their team."
On the U.S. goal, midfielder Landon Donovan curled in a free kick from the left sideline where Carlos Bocanegra was able to slide in and get a foot to it, but goalkeeper David James made a reactionary save from four yards. The rebound, however, popped in the air toward Dempsey at the right post where he headed home for his first international strike.
“It was a great experience," said Dempsey following the game. "They have a lot of players in the EPL and it was a good game for some of our players to gauge where we were. We came out a little tentative, but we had a lot of spurts of good play. We played well at times and put them on their heels a little bit in the second half trying to get the equalizer. It was a fun game for us, but it was just a game to sharpen us up for the qualifiers and that’s the most important thing right now – qualifying for the World Cup.”
On the first English goal, a foul by Eddie Pope on Andy Johnson set up a dangerous English free kick from 20 yards in the fourth minute of play. Earning his first cap for England, Richardson stepped up to take the shot and whistled it into the upper right corner, past the outstretched hands of U.S goalkeeper Kasey Keller.
The U.S. had two excellent chances to tie the match following England’s opening goal, both courtesy of Donovan. In the 20th minute, a Wes Brown foul on Josh Wolff set up Donovan for a wicked free kick from the left flank that beat ‘keeper David James and slammed off the right post from 23 yards. Donovan’s second attempt came in the 37th minute, with Josh Wolff perfectly heading a nice ball from Steve Ralston into his path in the penalty area, where the L.A. Galaxy forward hit a shot screaming along the grass and just wide of the right post.
Following those near misses, it was Richardson’s turn again in the 44th minute, as he nicely tucked a shot past Keller and into the lower left corner of the goal after a crafty square pass from Joe Cole found him running open into the left side of the area. As he did when he was fouled on the first goal, it was Andy Johnson’s pass that started the attack into Cole.
The U.S. started off the second half strong, getting into the attacking end early in the half. U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo took the ball up the right side as the half began, crossing a ball into Dempsey, who went up for a header but was beaten to it by the English defense. The ball hopped back out on the play, where Greg Vanney ran on to it and unleashed a shot that went just wide of the goal on the left side.
In the 72nd minute, the U.S. earned a free kick at the top of the English penalty area after Wolff had been taken down. His ensuing free kick hit the wall and ricocheted back to Wolff, whose second-chance shot sailed high above the goal. Soon after that, Dempsey would find the net for the U.S., allowing for a few anxious moments at the end of the game as the U.S. pushed for the equalizer.
"Overall a good experience and I hope it was a good show for people in the stands,” said Arena. “I think it was positive for the game in this country to bring such a good team in here and have a good game."
In the 91st minute, midfielder Clyde Simms entered the match for his first international cap, capping off a remarkable rise up the ladder of soccer in the United States from the USL First Division to MLS to the U.S. MNT over the past six months.
The U.S. team now travels to Utah on Monday, where the U.S. will play host for the second time in the final round of FIFA World Cup qualifying, welcoming Costa Rica on June 4 in Salt Lake City. Kickoff at Rice-Eccles Stadium is set for 5:30 p.m. MT, and will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and delayed on Telemundo at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT. The match will be followed by MLS expansion franchise Real Salt Lake hosting FC Dallas at 8 p.m. in the second game of the doubleheader. Four days later, the U.S. travels to face Panama at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. CT, and the match will be broadcast via tape-delay on ESPN2 at 1 a.m. ET and on Telemundo at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT.
-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --
Match-up: USA vs. England
Date: May 28, 2005
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Soldier Field – Chicago, Illinois
Kickoff: 2 p.m. CT
Weather: 53 degrees, cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
England 2 0 2
ENG – Kieran Richardson (unassisted) 4th minute.
ENG – Kieran Richarson (Joe Cole) 44.
USA – Clint Dempsey (Carlos Bocanegra) 79.
USA: 18-Kasey Keller (Capt.); 2-Steve Cherundolo, 23-Eddie Pope (4-Carlos Bocanegra, 73), 12-Cory Gibbs, 21-Greg Vanney; 14-Steve Ralston (15-Bobby Convey, 73), 2 5-Kerry Zavagnin, 2-Clint Dempsey (19-Clyde Simms, 91+); 10-Landon Donovan; 16-Josh Wolff, 20-Brian McBride (11-Conor Casey, 81)
Subs not used: 1-Marcus Hahnemann, 3-Gregg Berhalter, 8-Jonathan Spector
Head Coach: Bruce Arena
ENG: 1-David James; 2-Glen Johnson, 5-Wes Brown, 6-Sol Campbell (capt.) (15-Zat Knight, 46), 3-Ashley Cole (16-Jermain Defoe, 63); 7-Jermaine Jenas, 4-Michael Carrick, 11-Joe Cole, 8-Kieran Richardson (14-Phil Neville, 59); 9-Alan Smith, 10-Andy Johnson (12-Luke Young, 76)
Subs not used: 13-Robert Green, 16-Jermain Defoe, 17-Peter Crouch, 22-Scott Carson
Head Coach: Sven-Goran Eriksson
Stats Summary: USA ENG
Shots 14 8
Saves 2 3
Corner Kicks 4 6
Fouls 5 19
Offside 3 6
USA – Eddie Pope (caution) 31st minute
ENG – Ashley Cole (caution) 35.
Referee: Benito Archundia (MEX)
1st Asst.: Pedro Rebollar Leon(MEX)
2nd Asst.: Alejandro Cruz Rios (MEX)
Fourth Official: Michael Kennedy (USA)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Josh Wolff