SAN JOSE, Calif. (Monday, May 26, 2003) - The U.S. Men’s National Team used goals from former and current San Jose Earthquakes stars to earn their first ever win at Spartan Stadium, a 2-0 result against Wales tonight in front of 12,282 fans in San Jose. Forward Landon Donovan converted a penalty kick in the 41st minute to give the U.S. a 1-0 halftime lead, while Chevrolet Man of the Match Eddie Lewis skipped a low shot under Wales goalkeeper Darren Ward in the 59th minute for the final margin.
“I thought our team played well,” said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena. “It was a good experience for our young players. It was good for me to look at these players in this type of situation. I benefited from the game, and the players did as well. Overall, I was pleased with the performance.”
The U.S owned the majority of possession in the first half, with the team attacking well down the flanks with Lewis on the left and D.C. midfielder Earnie Stewart patrolling the right side of the field.
The U.S. had an early chance off a quick counter, as Lewis made a trademark run down the left flank and sent in an early cross that skipped across the Welsh goalmouth, but the Wales defense had the far post covered and sent it out for a corner kick.
The U.S. had another golden opportunity to score in the 21st minute when Landon Donovan lofted a pass to Bobby Convey, who had streaked past the Welsh defense through the center of the penalty area, but the pass was a bit too tall and Convey was unable to put a head to it.
The USA finally got on the board in the 41st minute after Jovan Kirovski was brought down in the box by defender Matthew Jones, resulting in a penalty kick. Donovan stepped up to the spot and drilled a shot into the upper right corner of the goal as goalkeeper Paul Jones dove low to his right.
In the 47th minute, Matthew Jones received a second caution and subsequent ejection for an illegal handball as Lewis tried to loop a ball around him on the dribble. It marked only the 10th time in the history of the Welsh Men’s National team that a player received a red card.
The U.S. made it 2-0 in the 59th minute after Greg Vanney’s individual effort beating a pair of Welsh defenders down the left flank freed Lewis inside the box for his low shot that went under the arms of Welsh goalkeeper Darren Ward, who came on at halftime for starter Paul Jones.
San Jose Earthquakes forward Brian Ching came on in the 75th minute to make his U.S. Men’s National team debut and almost scored on his first touch, but he volleyed a perfect Earnie Stewart cross just wide of the right post.
“I think my partnership with Landon can only help me to get back to the national team,” said Ching. “Bruce told me if I keep playing well, there’s a good chance for me to get called back in the near future.”
Two other players earned their first MNT cap, as Ryan Suarez started in central defense and played 77 minutes, while 2003 MLS SuperDraft #1 pick Alecko Eskandarian made his debut by coming on in the 89th minute for Jovan Kirovski. Goalkeeper Nick Rimando, in his first start for the U.S. MNT, posted a shutout and was forced to make just one save.
“It felt good to finally get a full game. To go the full 90 minutes is just what I’ve always wanted,” said Rimando, who was making just his third appearance for the U.S. “The U.S. is known for its goalkeepers. We have the best in the world. And when you have guys like Brad Friedel, Tim Howard and Kasey Keller in front of you, you just have to wait your turn.”
The U.S. next plays fellow Confederation’s Cup participant New Zealand on Sunday, June 8 at the University of Richmond Stadium in Richmond, Va. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2.
From June 18-29, the U.S. joins the champions of the six regional confederations around the world and two guest teams in the FIFA Confederations Cup in France. The U.S. will face World Cup champions Brazil, third-place finishers Turkey, and African champion Cameroon in the opening round of the tournament. The U.S. qualified for the event by capturing the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup, a title which they will defend from July 12-23 in Boston, Miami and Mexico City. Playing at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, the Americans will face El Salvador and Martinique in Group B action.
U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report
Match-up: United States Men's National Team vs. Wales
Date: May 26, 2003
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Spartan Stadium – San Jose, Calif.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. (PT)
Weather: 72 degrees; sunny, mild
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 1 2
Wales 0 0 0
USA – Landon Donovan (penalty kick) 41st minute.
USA – Eddie Lewis (Greg Vanney) 59.
USA: 18-Nick Rimando; 4-Greg Vanney, 12-Jeff Agoos (Capt.), 3-C.J. Brown, 16-Ryan Suarez (2-Mike Petke, 78); 22-Richard Mulrooney, 15-Bobby Convey (21-Brian Ching, 75), 7-Eddie Lewis, 8-Earnie Stewart (5-Manny Lagos, 83); 10-Landon Donovan, 9-Jovan Kirovski (11-Alecko Eskandarian, 89).
Subs not used: 1-Joe Cannon, 14-Ben Olsen, 17-Claudio Reyna.
WAL: 1-Paul Jones (21-Darren Ward, 46); 3-David Vaughan, 4-Andy Melville (Capt.), 5-Adrian Williams, 2 - Matthew Jones (ejected, 48); 11-Jason Koumas, 6-Mark Pembridge (12-Carl Robinson, 78), 8-Andy Johnson, 10-Simon Davies; 7-John Oster (18-David Pipe, 70), 9-Gareth Taylor (15-Neil Roberts, 57).
Subs not used: 14-Paul Trollope, 16-Christian Roberts, 17-Rhys Day, 19-Matthew Rees.
Stats Summary: USA WAL
Shots 12 7
Saves 1 3
Corner Kicks 6 7
Fouls 19 17
Offside 2 0
WAL – Matthew Jones (caution) 39th minute.
WAL – Matthew Jones (caution) 48.
WAL – Matthew Jones (ejection) 48.
WAL – Mark Pembridge (caution) 61.
USA – Ryan Suarez (caution) 69.
WAL – John Oster (caution) 70.
Referee: Benito Archundia Tellez (MEX)
Senior Assistant Referee: Rafael Herrera Aguirre (MEX)
Junior Assistant Referee: Jose Ramirez Diaz (MEX)
Fourth Official: Ricardo Valenzuela (USA)
Chevrolet Man of the Match: Eddie Lewis