MIAMI, Fla. (March 13, 2004) — The U.S. Men’s National Team pulled out a 1-1 draw with an inspired and spirited Haiti National Team this evening in an international friendly at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla. Danny Califf rescued the United States with his first international goal in the 94th minute after Haiti’s Alexander Boucicot put Haiti ahead in the 69th minute. Behind a boisterous pro-Haitian crowd, the Haitians were whistled for 32 fouls on the night.
With the draw, the USA’s all-time record against Haiti now stands at 5-6-4. The U.S. has yet to obtain its first victory in 2004, with their record after three games at 0-2-1.
“I thought Haiti was the better team tonight. They simply outfought us and played better,” said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena. “I applaud our group that played the final 15 minutes for fighting back and getting an equalizer.”
“There’s no excuses. We were technically poor and our fitness was poor. We are fortunate that we have until June (for World Cup qualifying) to get our act together. Human nature likes to find a comfort zone, and we have guys in a comfort zone. All the credit goes to Haiti. The Haitian team brought a commitment to the game and outfought us.”
Haiti had the majority of chances on the night and was able to apply consistent pressure on the U.S. defense. During the first half of the match both teams had opportunities on goal, but neither could find the back of the net as they went into the locker rooms deadlocked at 0-0.
The U.S. had the first good look at goal only two minutes into the contest, Landon Donovan getting on the end of a through ball from Tony Sanneh, only to see his shot from the top of the penalty area easily snagged by Fenelon Gabard. A few minutes later, Bobby Convey’s free kick from about 25 yards out was pegged for the lower right corner, but Gabard again came up with the save.
Haiti began to get more comfortable and began exposing holes in the U.S. midfield toward the end of the first half. They nearly grabbed the lead in the 38th minute on a header from captain Bruny Pierre-Richard off a corner, but the goal was negated after referee Peter Prendergast whistled forward Jean Phillipe Peguero for a foul on Eddie Pope.
It was the USA’s turn to be denied the lead moments before halftime. John Wolyniec, making his first-ever start for the U.S., got on the end of a cross and headed it towards the center of the box. Cory Gibbs rose over his mark and beat Gabard to the far left post, only to see Wasdon Coriolan head the ball of the goal line.
The U.S. made two changes at half, swapping goalkeeper Kevin Hartman for Walker, while Chris Albright replaced Sanneh. Sanneh returned to the U.S. lineup for the first time since the 2002 World Cup, a back injury sidelining the defender from competitive action since Dec. 7, 2002.
Haiti put on the pressure from the moment of the second half whistle, earning three corner kicks before the hour mark. Mones Chery found himself free for two consecutive scoring chances, the best a blistering shot headed for the lower left corner that Hartman was forced to parry away.
The Haitians were first on the scoreboard in the 69th minute, midfielder Alexander Boucicot beating U.S. ‘keeper Kevin Hartman from 16 yards out to the lower left corner after Coriolan had slipped a pass from midfield through the U.S. defense.
Searching for the tying goal, the U.S. made three substitutions just before the 75th minute mark. Almost immediately, the American attack began to pick up the pace, forward Jovan Kirovski using one of his first touches of the game to fire a wicked blast that Gabard gamely pushed away for a corner. On the ensuing corner kick, Ante Razov’s glancing header forcing the busy Haitian ‘keeper into a quick reaction save.
The U.S. was able to salvage the tie in the 94th minute when a free kick into the crowded box slipped through to the left post. Carlos Bocanegra pushed the ball across goalmouth to a wide-open Califf, who chested it into the net. Califf, who replaced Eddie Pope in the 75th minute, now has 12 international appearances for the U.S.
“I take some pride in that it helped the team tie the game. It is an exciting feeling,” said Califf.
The U.S. next travels to face Poland on March 31 in Plock, Poland. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Fans can also follow the match live via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
The U.S. begins CONCACAF World Cup qualifying June 13 against the winner of the home-and-away series between Grenada and Guyana, with their first match scheduled to be played in the United States. After Poland, the U.S. has game dates set for April 28 and May 26 at sites and against opponents still to be finalized. Following the MNT World Cup qualifiers on June 13 and June 20 against either Grenada or Guyana, the U.S. will meet Poland in a domestic friendly on July 11. Should the U.S. advance through their preliminary qualifying round, the six-game, four-team semifinal round competition will begin on the road on August 18.
-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --
Match-up: USA vs. Haiti
Date: March 13, 2004
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: The Orange Bowl – Miami, Fla.
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Weather: warm, 70 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
Haiti 0 1 1
HTI – Alexander Boucicot (Wasdon Coriolan) 69th minute
USA – Dan Califf (Carlos Bocanegra) 94+
USA — 1-Jonny Walker (22-Kevin Hartman, 46); 17-Tony Sanneh (5-Chris Albright, 46), 23-Eddie Pope (capt.) (3-Dan Califf, 75), 4-Carlos Bocanegra, 12-Cory Gibbs; 19-Steve Ralston (13-Pat Noonan, 75), 15-Bobby Convey, 14-Chris Armas (11-Ante Razov, 66), 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 21-Landon Donovan (8-Richard Mulrooney, 74), 16-John Wolyniec (9-Jovan Kirovski, 83)
Subs not used: none
HTI — 1-Fenelon Gabard; 2-Roosvelt Desir, 3-Gilles Frantz, 7-Wasdon Coriolan, 9-Jean Phillipe Peguero (12-Mac Herold Gracien), 10-Johnny Descollines, 11- Alexander Boucicot, 13-Bruny Pierre-Richard, 15 - Jemps Dorcelus (8-Romulos Turlien, 60), 20-David Sancius, 21-Mones Chery
Subs not used: 0-Luidgi Beauzile, 4-Peter Germain, 5-Josua Mayard, 14-Richardson Ulcenat, 19-Roody Lormera
Stats Summary: USA HTI
Shots 10 16
Saves 6 3
Corner Kicks 8 6
Fouls 15 32
Offsides 1 4
HTI – Wasdon Coriolan (caution) 32nd minute
USA – Steve Ralston (caution) 39’
HTI – Fenelon Gabard (caution) 82’
Referee: Mr. Peter Prendergast (JAM)
1st Asst.: Mr. Anthony Garwood (JAM)
2nd Asst.: Mr. Michael Mitchell (JAM)
Fourth Official: Mr. Alex Prus (USA)
Chevrolet Man of the Match: Dan Califf