Albright Goal Earns 10-Man U.S. National Team a Spirited 2-2 Draw Against Jamaica
KINGSTON, Jamaica (Wednesday, September 8, 1999) - Twenty-year-old midfielder Chris Albright scored his first goal on his first touch of the ball, less than two minutes after entering the game in his international debut to give the U.S. National Team a 2-2 draw against Jamaica this evening in Kingston. The goal culminated a wild 90 minutes of soccer that saw the U.S. score an early goal, give up the equalizer on a penalty kick, and have a man ejected after 79 minutes.
"We came in here and played a very tough opponent, so we're obviously happy with the effort of our team today," said U.S. Head Coach Bruce Arena.
The game looked lost for the Americans in the 79th minute after Jamaican sub David Johnson capitalized on a defensive error to score the go-ahead goal. To make matters worse, less than a minute later Ante Razov was shown the red card for protesting a vicious Jamaican foul. With the U.S. down to ten players, the Americans proved they can play under pressure, with Albright in front of the goal to slam home a loose ball that was saved after Ben Olsen re-directed an Eddie Lewis cross.
U.S. forward Jason Kreis scored his first international goal in eight appearances to open the scoring after five minutes. Jamaican defender Ian Goodison's attempted clearance deflected off Cayman Island referee Godfrey Bowen and to the foot of Kreis. The Dallas Burn star, spun towards goal and launched a right-footed blast into the left corner from eight yards out.
Jamaica leveled the score in the 14th minute after the referee judged that Eddie Pope had fouled Ricardo Fuller inside the penalty area. Midfielder Fabian Davis stepped forward and slammed his penalty kick into the lower, left corner, past a diving Zach Thornton.
In addition to Albright, six other American players earned their first international appearance in the game -- Steve Cherundolo, Henry Gutierrez, Kevin Hartman, Josh Wolff, Chad McCarty and Billy Walsh.
The tie extends Jamaica's exceptional home unbeaten record to 41 games. Jamaica last lost at the National Stadium on November 22, 1994; a 3-0 defeat came against the United States.
Jamaica has still never beaten the United States in eight tries, with four draws and five losses. The U.S. National Team, currently 7-3-2 in 1999, does not have any further matches scheduled, but may try to play another game before the end of the year.
In the first match of the evening, the U.S. Under-17 National Team defeated their Jamaican counterparts, 4-0, behind goals from four different players.
After surviving an early barrage that saw U.S. goalkeeper D.J. Countess make several excellent saves, the U.S. settled into its game and scored a pair of goals in each half to earn a much deserved victory. The Americans netted their first two in the dying moment of the first half; Landon Donovan scored the opener in the 44th minute and 6-foot-1 central defender Alex Yi doubled the lead seconds before the halftime whistle with a header off a DaMarcus Beasley corner kick.
After the break, Beasley and substitute forward Abe Thompson found the net with well-placed volleys to close out the classy win. The win over Jamaica avenges the 0-0 draw the Jamaicans squeaked out during CONCACAF U-17 qualifying. That result forced the U.S. into a two-game playoff against El Salvador - which they easily won - in order to qualify for the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship.
The U-17 National Team will compete in the U-17 World Championship in New Zealand from Nov. 10-27. The USA will play in the tournament opener against the host Kiwis on Nov. 10 in Auckland, and continue to play Poland (Nov. 13) and Uruguay (Nov. 16) to close out group play.