CHICAGO (Sunday, June 9, 2002) - Today was a travel day for the U.S., as the team moved to Daegu, where they will face Korea tomorrow night at 3:30 p.m. local time (live on ESPN2 at 2:20 a.m. ET). The team bused from their hotel this afternoon to Incheon International Airport, where they caught a charter flight to Daegu. The flight took 40 minutes, and was filled with just enough turbulence to keep the pilot busy. Upon arrival in Daegu, the team exited the plane and boarded a bus waiting on the tarmac. The team was – as they always are in Korea – surrounded by ample security on their journey to their hotel, including: two tanks, a helicopter, two police cars and five cops on motorcycles. Approximately 500 police were on hand at the airport, joining hands to form a human wall that ushered the bus from the airport on to the local thoroughfare. The police escort made the drive to the hotel a quick one – lasting just 15 minutes. Along the ride to the hotel fans on both sides of the streets greeted the team, waving at the bus and taking pictures of the American squad. When the team bus pulled into the hotel the team was once again greeted by ample security and media. As the players and staff exited the bus they were given a flower by one of the locals, and another human tunnel formed to usher the team into the hotel and through the lobby. As each female gave a flower to one of the U.S. players the crowd roared its approval. After just under two-and-a-half hours of travel, the U.S. team sat down for lunch at their new hotel in Daegu.
POST-MATCH PLANS:The U.S. team will return to Seoul immediately following tomorrow’s match with Korea. The team will shower and eat following the game, and will then take a bus directly to the airport, where they will board a charter and return to Seoul late Monday night. The U.S. team should be back in their hotel in time to watch Portugal – Poland, which kicks off at 8:30 p.m. local time.
U.S. TEAM TRAINS AT DAEGU WORLD CUP STADIUM: The U.S. squad got a chance to check out the stadium where they will play group leaders Korea tomorrow, training for one hour at Daegu World Cup Stadium this evening. The team went through a light training session, with all 23 members participating. Following a warm-up and stretch, the U.S. team played an 11 v 11 possession game, and the players concluded practice with 15 minutes of free time. Some players took free kicks, some played “soccer horseshoes” and others juggled. The players and staff were very enthusiastic about the new stadium, which is cavernous. The largest of the stadiums in Korea, Daegu World Cup Stadium seems even larger as the field is surrounded by a large track. The fans in the first row of seats will sit nearly 45 yards from the touchline.
SWISS (REFEREES) MISS FOR USA:The U.S. has played three matches with a Swiss referee and has lost every one. The referee for tomorrow’s match against Korea, Urs Meier from Switzerland, also refereed the USA-Iran match in 1998, which the U.S. lost 2-1. The U.S. has also played with a Swiss referee in a 7-1 loss to Italy in 1934 and a 5-1 loss to Czechoslovakia in 1990.
SPEEDSKATING? Many of the U.S. players and staff have been thrust into the middle of an international controversy, as the Korean media have brought up one of the short-track speedskating finals at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Korean speedskater Kim Dong-sung was disqualified for impeding U.S. speedskater Apollo Anton Ohno in the final, giving Ohno the gold medal. This week the Korean media has asked the U.S. players and staff about the incident, and the Koreans have been disappointed to learn that the event went largely unnoticed by the U.S. players. An advertisement promoting the upcoming U.S. – Korea match mentions Ohno and refers to the game as a chance for redemption. When one member of the U.S. staff asked about a highly controversial boxing decision at the 1988 Seoul Olympics - U.S. light-middleweight Roy Jones lost a decision to a South Korean - the Korean reporter responded, “But we were a dictatorship then.”
GOALS PER GAME DOWN FROM ’98, ’94: Despite some of the most exciting matches in recent World Cup history, the goals per game for Korea/Japan ’02 is currently lagging behind France ’98 and USA ’94. Through the first 26 games (May 31 to June 8), 67 goals have been scored, for an average of 2.58 goals per game. Contributing to the surprising numbers is France, who are scoreless after two games.
- 2002: 2.58 (through 26 games)
- 1998: 2.67
- 1994: 2.71
- 1990: 2.21
- 1986: 2.54
- 1982: 2.80
HISTORY OF U.S. v KOREA: The U.S. and Korea have met five times previously, with the U.S. record one win, one draw and three losses in those encounters. In those matches, there have been four games decided by one goal and a 1-1 draw, with no team scoring more than two goals. A quick review of the five previous match-ups:
June 12, 1987: 0-1 L (Busan, Korea)
August 13, 1989: 1-2 L (Los Angeles, Calif.)
March 12, 1994: 1-1 T (Fullerton, Calif.)
Dec. 9, 2001: 0-1 L (Seogwipo, Korea)
Jan. 19, 2002: 2-1 W (Pasadena, Calif.)
U.S. PLAYERS vs. KOREA: The U.S. has played Korea twice in the last seven months, with both teams becoming familiar with one another and learning about each team’s in those match-ups. Eleven of the USA’s 23-man World Cup roster played against Korea in one or both of those matches, while twelve will be facing this Korean team for the first time since qualifying for the World Cup.
Those who have played vs. Korea (11): Pablo Mastroeni, Carlos Llamosa, Jeff Agoos, Cobi Jones, Landon Donovan, Josh Wolff, Brian McBride, Kasey Keller, Frankie Hejduk, DaMarcus Beasley, Eddie Lewis
Those who have not played vs. Korea (12): Claduio Reyna, Tony Sanneh, Gregg Berhalter, David Regis, John O’Brien, Brad Friedel, Tony Meola, Steve Cherundolo, Joe-Max Moore, Clint Mathis, Earnie Stewart, Eddie Pope
U.S. FALLS TO KOREA 1-0 IN SEOGWIPO IN DECEMBER: The USMNT suffered a 1-0 loss to Korea Republic before 42,256 fans at the sold-out Jeju World Cup Stadium in Seogwipo, Jeju Province on December 1, 2001. Yoo Sang-Chul nodded home a corner kick in the 23rd minute to score the game's only goal. "I thought in the first half the Koreans did a good job of putting us under pressure and winning balls in the midfield. They were a very fit team, and our lack of match fitness showed," said Bruce Arena. "In the second half we did a much better job moving the ball and were able to create some quality chances. Give credit to the Koreans, they played a good match tonight. Overall, it's been an excellent experience coming to Korea, and it will certainly help us get prepared for the World Cup next summer."
KOR - Yoo Sang-Chul (Lee Chun-Soo), 23rd minute
KOR: 23-Kim Byung-Ji; 5-Choi Jin-Chul (3-Choi Sung-Yong, 75), 4-Song Chong-Gug, 16-Kim Sang-Sik; 14-Lee Chun-Soo, 8-Kim Nam-Il (12-Lee Young-Pyo, 54), 10-Lee Eul-Yong, 11-Choi Tai-Uk; 21-Park Ji-Sung, 18-Hwang Sun-Hong (9-Kim Do Hoon, 68), 6-Yoo Sang-Chul
USA: 1-Zach Thornton; 3-Pablo Mastroeni (22-Richard Mulrooney, 68), 16-Carlos Llamosa, 12-Jeff Agoos, 8-Diego Gutierrez (17-Carlos Bocanegra, 46); 14-Chris Armas, 13-Cobi Jones (9-Brian West, 73), 19-Manny Lagos, 21-Landon Donovan; 15-Josh Wolff (23-Jeff Cunningham, 46), 20-Brian McBride (11-Ante Razov, 55).
USA - McBride (caution), 18.
KOR - Choi (caution), 51.
U.S. TOPS KOREA 2-1 IN CONCACAF GOLD CUP IN JANUARY: The United States Men's National opened the 2002 Football Confederation Gold Cup in dramatic fashion, scoring an injury-time goal to defeat the Korea Republic 2-1 before 42,117 fans at the Rose Bowl on January 19, 2002. Landon Donovan opened the scoring in the 35th minute, and DaMarcus Beasley scored his first international goal two minutes into extra time to give the U.S. the win. The win ends the USA's winless record against South Korea, improving their mark to 1-3-1 lifetime. "It wasn't a pretty game today, for sure. Korea is a very difficult team to play against, they are very physical and very aggressive," said U.S. Head Coach Bruce Arena. "I'm happy that there weren't any rule requirements that you couldn't play teenagers today, because we'd be in trouble if that were the case. It's been such a long layoff for a number of players, it's nice to get back on the field and start moving forward as a group. I'm pleased with the win today. Maybe a point would have been a fair result, but we're going to take it."
USA - Landon Donovan (Ante Razov), 35th minute.
KOR - Song Chong-Gug, 38.
USA - DaMarcus Beasley (Jeff Cunningham), 92.
USA: 18-Kasey Keller; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 26-Danny Califf, 12-Jeff Agoos (capt.), 17-Carlos Bocanegra; 21-Landon Donovan, 14-Chris Armas, 19-Manny Lagos (27-Jeff Cunningham, 64), 7-Eddie Lewis (4-DaMarcus Beasley, 79); 20-Brian McBride, 11-Ante Razov (13-Cobi Jones, 75).
KOR: 12-Lee Woon-Jae; 15-Choi Jin-Chul, 18-Yoo Sang-Chul, 4-Kim Tae-Young; 16-Park Ji-Sung, 7-Song Chong-Gug, 5-Kim Nam-Il, 13-Lee Eul-Yong (3-Hyun Young-Min,72); 11-Lee Chun-Soo (17-Lee Young-Pyo,72); 9-Choi Yong-Soo, 20-Cha Doo-Li (24-Kim Sang-Sik, 87).
KOR - Kim Nam-Il (caution), 11.
USA - Danny Califf (caution), 17.
USA - Eddie Lewis (caution), 27.
KOR - Lee Chun-Soo (caution), 29
KOR - Choi Jin-Cheul (ejection), 56.
Chevrolet Man of the Match: Landon Donovan
KOREA - USA DRAW 1-1 IN FULLERTON IN 1994: The U.S. and Korea drew 1-1 in Fullerton, Calif., on March 12, 1994. Brad Friedel, Jeff Agoos, Cobi Jones and Claudio Reyna all played in that match for the U.S., and Marcelo Balboa scored the lone U.S. goal in the draw.
“GOOD MORNING AMERICA” TO FEATURE U.S. MNT ON MONDAY MORNING: Following the U.S. MNT’s match against Korea on Monday (Live on ESPN2 at 2:25 a.m. ET), members of the U.S. will chat with “Good Morning America” host Robin Roberts live from the Daegu World Cup Stadium. The piece will air in the first half hour of Monday’s show.
UPCOMING GAMES ON TELEVISION:
Monday, June 10 - 2:25 a.m. ET - ESPN2 - Korea vs. United States - Daegu
Monday, June 10 - 4:55 a.m. ET - ESPN2 - Tunisia vs. Belgium - Oita
Monday, June 10 - 7:25 a.m. ET - ESPN2 - Portugal vs. Poland - Jeonju
Monday, June 10 - 2:00 p.m. ET - ESPN2 - Korea vs. United States - Daegu (Rebroadcast)
THEY SAID IT:
“We would like to win.”
- Bruce Arena, on his aspirations for the USA-Korea match