PASADENA, Calif. (Wednesday, January 23, 2002) - The U.S. Men's National Team is currently training in Pasadena, California in preparation for the quarterfinals of the 2002 FC Gold Cup being staged from Jan. 19 to Feb. 3 in Miami and Pasadena, Calif. The U.S. will play either Guatemala or El Salvador in the quarterfinal match Jan. 27 at the Rose Bowl. Be sure to log on to ussoccer.com throughout the tournament for training camp updates, photos, and audio clips from the players and coaching staff.
FIRST ROUND RECAP: The U.S. opened their sixth Gold Cup against South Korea, the second meeting of the teams in as many months. A pair of teenagers would shine as the U.S. avenged the Dec. 9 loss with a dramatic 2-1 victory. Landon Donovan opened the scoring account in the 35th minute, racing behind the Korea defense and chipping over the charging Korean goalkeeper. After the Koreans had equalized, midfielder DaMarcus Beasley would come through with late-game heroics as his left-footed bomb three minutes into extra time gave Beasley his first international goal and the U.S. the lead in Group B play. The team suited up 48 hours later with four changes in the lineup and facing an unfamiliar opponent in Cuba. The U.S. created scoring chances throughout the affair, and Brian McBride provided the only goal the
U.S. would need as his 22nd minute penalty lifted the U.S. to a 1-0 win and first place in the group. The PK was McBride's first for the U.S. and his 15th goal of his international career. The USA improved its all-time record in Gold Cup group play to 14-0-0, while goalkeeper Kasey Keller extended his winning streak on U.S. soil to 12 games over a four-year span. U.S. head coach Bruce Arena has taken full advantage of the opportunity to evaluate his roster, playing 17 of 18 players in the first two matches.
IN THE KNOCKOUT PHASE: The U.S. has enjoyed qualified success in the later stages of the Gold Cup, winning the tournament once and reaching the finals on two other occasions. The USA captured the inaugural tournament in 1991, defeating Honduras in penaly kicks after a 0-0 draw in regulation. In 1993, the team reached the finals once again, this time falling to Mexico 4-0 at a sold out Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. The U.S. would return to the finals in 1998, the tournament highlighted by the 1-0 victory against Brazil in the semifinals, avenging a loss in the same stage of the tournament two years earlier. Kasey Keller had the performance of his career, of which Romario would later describe as the greatest performance of a goalkeeper he had ever seen. In the 2000 event, former American international Eric Wynalda became the second leading scorer in tournament history, scoring his ninth goal of his Gold Cup career against Cuba. The U.S. would fall in the quarterfinal round to Colombia in penalties after a 2-2 draw in regulation.
DYNAMIC DUO: The dynamic combination of Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley in the U.S. lineup has paid early dividends in this tournament and is already showing signs of a cultured understanding, which considering their history should come as no surprise. Despite sharing the sprightly young age of 19 years old, Donovan and Beasley have already amassed a long history of international action together. Beginning in 1998 with CONCACAF Qualifying for the U-17 World Championships, the two have appeared on the field together 57 times for the U.S. at varying levels, which include: FIFA Under-17 World Championship, Under-20 qualifying matches, World Youth Championship, '99 Pan American Games, 2000 Olympic qualifying and a World Cup qualifier. "We've known each other for a while. I like playing with him," said Beasley. He's a great player, and we always find each other. We've got that great chemistry on the field." The two have collected their share of honors as well. At the U-17 World Championships in New Zealand, Donovan was awarded the Golden Ball as tournament MVP while Beasley collected the Silver Ball. In this tournament, they have each already earned "Chevrolet Man of the Match" honors.
ROSTER CHANGES? The. U.S. side is experiencing a rash of injury concerns coming off two highly physical encounters which seem certain to affect the 18-man roster. The effects of a long layoff and a series of illnesses during the grueling two-week training camp are continuing to be felt among the U.S. ranks. In addition to the sick list, the U.S. is considering the requests of some professional clubs for the recall of their players. A decision on roster changes is expected later this week. Meantime, the technical staff will attend tonight's match between the USA's potential quarterfinal opponents, Guatemala and El Salvador, with El Salvador needing only a draw to advance.
KELLER TO CHAT LIVE WITH U.S. SOCCER FANS THIS FRIDAY: U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper Kasey Keller will be in the online chat room at ussoccerfan.com this Friday at 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT to discuss the U.S. Men's National Team's current run through the 2002 Gold Cup in California. Keller, who has led the U.S. to back-to-back victories and a spot in the 2002 Gold Cup quarterfinals, will be available for questions from fans across the country during the online chat. Fans wishing to access the chat should go to ussoccerfan.com for more information. Only registered members of ussoccerfan.com and media registered at ussoccer.com may participate in the online chat, so please be sure to register prior to the start time on Friday to assure that you don't miss out.
ETC: The USA's 1-0 win against Cuba marked the senior team's 400th international match ... With two appearances in the Gold Cup, Cobi Jones has increased his cap total to 147, three behind German legend Lothar Matthaus on the all-time capwinners list ... Jones has moved past Mexico's Claudio Suarez into second place in all-time appearances in Gold Cup history, appearing in 17 matches over a five-tournament span. Eric Wynalda tops the list at 21 matches played ... Danny Califf picked up his first international cap in the 2-1 win against Korea ... With the appearance, Califf became the 37th player to earn his first cap under Bruce Arena since the coach's debut in November of 1998 ... The team received a much-needed day off today, and will resume training tomorrow at 11 a.m. ... About 15 players attended the Los Angeles Lakers - Denver Nuggets game last night at the Staple Center as guests of the Lakers.
Jeff Agoos evaluates the performance of the U.S. team in the first round of the 2002 Gold Cup:
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Agoos talks about the difficulties facing the U.S. team coming into the tournament:
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Agoos discusses the goals of the U.S. team for the remainder of the Gold Cup:
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Agoos discusses the infusion of young talent in the U.S. team:
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