USA Opens NIKE U.S. Cup with 4-0 Trouncing of South Africa; Jones Figures in All Four U.S. Strikes
The United States dominated early play, registering three good scoring opportunities in the first 20 minutes. Eddie Lewis headed over the bar, Chris Armas sent a long-range blast wide of the right post, and Brian McBride volleyed a shot just high.
But it was Jones finally broke the barrier and opened the scoring in the 36th minute with a left-footed rocket. Earnie Stewart started the play, working the ball down the right flank before leaving the ball for Armas. Armas touched the ball to Jones, who worked left across the 18-yard box and unleashed his blast into the upper-left corner of the net.
The USA doubled its lead in the closing minutes of the first half off a corner kick delivered by Lewis. Lewis swung his cross into the six-yard box where it was punched out by South Africa goalkeeper Andre Arendse. The ball fell to Claudio Reyna, who headed it left to Jones. Jones slammed a left-footed shot past a staggering Arendse into the upper-left corner from a similar position as his first goal.
South Africa started the second half brightly, holding the ball in the American end for long stretches. A fantastic passing sequence nearly led to a goal by captain Shaun Bartlett in the 62nd minute, but the forward's header bounced wide of the right post.
The United States extended the lead on Claudio Reyna's first goal of the year, a calmly placed right foot effort that skipped across the box and inside the right post from ten yards out in the 65th minute. Again it was Jones who caused havoc, chesting the ball down and crossing to Reyna after Agoos and McBride worked well to deliver the ball from midfield.
Earnie Stewart sealed the near-perfect afternoon, giving the United States its first four-goal victory since the opening game of the 1995 U.S. Cup when the USA defeated Mexico, 4-0. Stewart's goal, a missile into the upper-right corner in the 68th minute, was again set up by Jones, who volleyed McBride's acrobatic flick to Stewart. Stewart, making his first appearance since for the National Team since August 1, 1999 against Mexico, took one controlling touch before effectively ending the game with his seventh USA goal.
Jones, the "Chevrolet Man of the Match", became the first U.S. player to score twice in one half since McBride did the trick against El Salvador in a World Cup qualifier on November 16, 1997. His five goals and four assists on the year lead the team in both categories.
The United States will next move on to Boston, where the club will meet Ireland in each team's second Nike U.S. Cup game. That match, which will be seen live on ESPN, kicks off at 8 p.m. from Foxboro Stadium. The USA will close out the chase for the Waterford Crystal championship trophy at the Meadowlands on June 11, when the team takes on arch-rival Mexico at 1 p.m., live on ABC.
Before the game veteran defender Jeff Agoos was honored in an on-field ceremony to mark his 100th appearance with the National Team. Agoos becomes only the fifth American player to reach the historic milestone, joining Marcelo Balboa (128 caps), Cobi Jones (127), Paul Caligiuri (110), and Eric Wynalda (106).
2000 U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||U.S. Men's National Team vs. South Africa National Team|
|Competition:||Nike U.S. Cup 2000|
|Venue:||RFK Stadium (Washington, D.C.)|
|Date:||June 3, 2000 - Kickoff 4 p.m. ET|
|Weather:||78 degrees - Clear, Breezy|
USA - Cobi Jones, (Chris Armas), 36,
USA - Cobi Jones, (Claudio Reyna), 43,
USA - Claudio Reyna, (Cobi Jones), 65,
USA - Earnie Stewart, (Cobi Jones), 68.
USA - 18-Kasey Keller; 17-Tony Sanneh, 16-Carlos Llamosa, 12-Jeff Agoos, 6-David Regis; 8-Earnie Stewart (21-Steve Ralston, 82), 14-Chris Armas, 10-Claudio Reyna (Capt.), 7-Eddie Lewis (19-Ben Olsen, 66); 20-Brian McBride (15-Ante Razov, 70), 13-Cobi Jones (9-Jason Kreis, 84).
RSA - 1-Andre Arendse; 2-Cyril Nzama, 13-Pierre Issa, 5-Andrew Rabutla, 20-David Kannemeyer (19-Jacob Lekgetho, 73); 11-Helman Mkhalele, 10-Dumisi Ngobe, 8-Thabo Mngomeni (12-Thabo Mngomeni, 46), 21-Ivan McKinley (18-Delron Buckley, 33); 17-Benedict McCarthy (George Koumantarakis, 73), 9-Shaun Bartlett (Capt.).