U.S. Men vs. Haiti (Gold Cup - Group B): Prematch Notes
HAITI SCOUTING REPORT: Haiti is coming off a very productive 1999, finishing with a 7-3-1 record. Haiti rolled through qualifying for the 1999 Copa Caribe with a 3-0 record and 12-0 goal scoring advantage over its opponents, but fell short in the actual tournament as it finished third in the overall competition and did not get the automatic berth to the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2000. Haiti was forced to compete in a round-robin playoff alongside Canada, El Salvador and Cuba last October in Los Angeles for a chance to compete in Gold Cup 2000.
GOLD CUP PLAYOFFS: Haiti opened the four-nation round-robin playoff with a 1-1 draw against El Salvador at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Oct. 6, 1999. Two-days later, Haiti shutout Cuba, 1-0, on a goal by substitute Johnny Descollines in the 48th minute of play. Canada defeated Haiti, 2-1, on Oct. 10, and clinched a spot in the Gold Cup 2000, but Haiti edged out Cuba to advance on the head-to-head tiebreaker after both teams finished tied for second-place with four points each. Haiti's offense was led by forward Johnny Descollines who had all three goals for the Caribbean squad during the playoffs.
LIFETIME SERIES: Haiti holds a 6-4-3 advantage in head-to-head meetings with the U.S., but has not beaten the Americans since November 5, 1973 (1-0 win at Port-au-Prince). The opening round Gold Cup match at the Orange Bowl will be only the second encounter between the two teams outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and the first on American soil since May 1969, when Haiti defeated the USA, 1-0, in a World Cup qualifier.
LAST U.S. MEETING WITH HAITI: The U.S. snapped a nine-game winless streak over Haiti with a 2-0 victory at Port-au-Prince on April 8, 1983. That match ended a goaless drought of over 720 minutes against Haiti, a span of eight games over eight years . After three consecutive nil-nil draws, goals from Chico Borja and Jeff Durgan, and a clean slate by goalkeeper Arnold Mausser, propelled the U.S. to victory over Haiti. The USA has not surrendered a goal to Haiti since November 1973.
GOLD CUP OVERVIEW:
The twelve teams competing in the 2000 edition are:
- Defending champions: Mexico
- Host team: United States
- UNCAF champions: Costa Rica
- UNCAF qualifiers: Guatemala and Honduras
- CFU champions: Jamaica (1998) and Trinidad & Tobago (1999)
- Playoff qualifiers: Canada and Haiti
- Invited teams: Colombia, South Korea and Peru
Groupings are as follows:
AMERICANS RIDING 10-GAME WINNING STEAK IN GOLD CUP FIRST ROUND: The U.S. is the only CONCACAF team to win all of its first round games since the inception of the Gold Cup Championship in 1991. The Americans have won 10 consecutive first round games and have outscored their opponents 22-7. The winning streak includes five shutouts, seven one-goal victories and three come-from-behind wins.
GOLD CUP EXPERIENCE ABOUNDS FOR USA: Eric Wynalda has started every U.S. Gold Cup match since the tournament began play in 1991. With eight goals in the 18 games played by the United States, Wynalda has the distinction of being the only U.S. player to have scored in every one of the four previous Gold Cup tournaments. Cobi Jones ranks second on the Gold Cup appearance list for the USA, appearing in 12 matches, followed by John Harkes, with 10 Gold Cup caps to his credit. Jones has started the last eight consecutive games in the bi-annual tournament. Tony Meola leads all U.S. goalkeepers with 10 starts in goal. Six of Meola's starts resulted in shutouts by the United States. Nine of the 18 players on the initial Gold Cup roster have previous experience in the tournament.
MOST RECENT RESULT FOR U.S. MEN: The United States Men's National Team achieved yet another milestone under the direction of head coach Bruce Arena when it defeated a South American team on its home soil for the first time, downing Chile, 2-1, in Coquimbo, Chile, on January 29. Eddie Lewis continued his terrific run against Chile with a header from Eric Wynalda's free kick in the second half (both of Lewis' career goals have come against Chile), and set up Cobi Jones' last-minute game-winner with an inch-perfect cross. Tony Meola earned the win in his first international start in over a year, thanks in large part to the rock-solid three-man defensive unit of Greg Vanney, Eddie Pope and C.J. Brown.
USA - Tony Meola, Greg Vanney, Eddie Pope, C.J. Brown, Eddie Lewis, Chris Armas (Capt.), Richie Wiliams (John Harkes, 46), Ben Olsen (Cobi Jones, 70), Jovan Kirovski (Chad Deering, 78), Eric Wynalda (Roy Lassiter, 56), Ante Razov.
CHI - Marcelo Ramirez, Raul Palacios, Miguel Ramirez (Alex von Schwelder, 46), Mauricio Aros, Christian Flores, Marcos Villaseca, Clarence Acuna, Estaben Valencia (Joel Reyes, 37), Jaime Riveros (J.Sierra, 78), Mario Nunez (Pedro Gonzalez, 68), Sebastian Rozental (Ricardo Queralto, 85).
MIAMI IS "GROUND ZERO" FOR U.S.: Playing in both the Orange Bowl and Pro-Player Stadiums, the U.S. have totaled zero victories in 14 international matches played in the city of Miami. The Americans hold an overall record of 0-9-5 and have been outscored 20-7 since December 2, 1984.
14-Game Winless Streak in Miami:
^ Colombia wins on penalty kicks
USA GOLD CUP SCORING LEADERS, 1991-98:
8 Goals - Eric Wynalda
2 Goals - Marcelo Balboa, Joe-Max Moore, Bruce Murray, Preki Radosavljevic, Peter Vermes
1 Goal - Jeff Agoos, John Doyle, Thomas Dooley, Jovan Kirovski, Cle Kooiman, Alexi Lalas, Hugo Perez, Eddie Pope, Brian Quinn, Roy Wegerle.
AFTER THE GOLD CUP: The United States Men's National Team will play an international friendly versus the Republic of Tunisia in Birmingham, Ala., on Sunday, March 12 at Legion Field. Kickoff for the game, which will broadcast live on ESPN2, is set for 2:30 p.m. ET. The marquee match-up marks the first-time in the history of the U.S. Men's National Team program that the USA has played an international match against Tunisia. The game will be just the fifth ever for the U.S. against an African nation, the previous four coming against Morocco and Nigeria (twice each). Head coach Bruce Arena should be familiar with the surroundings and the opponent, as he led the U.S. Olympic Team to a 2-0 win over Tunisia's Olympic Team during the Centennial Olympic Games at Legion Field on July 22, 1996. Jovan Kirovski and Brian Maisonneuve scored in the match, which also featured current National Team pool players Kasey Keller, Eddie Pope, Frankie Hejduk, and Claudio Reyna. Tickets, which are priced at $12, $20 and $50 for adults, are available by calling TicketMaster at 800/277-1700. For more information regarding the U.S.- Tunisia match please contact Scott Myers with the Alabama Sports Foundation at (205) 967-4745.