U.S. midfielder Jones (Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS), who was named "Man of the Match," converted Eddie Lewis' 59th minute cross from the left flank, timing his run perfectly and outleaping Peru defender Juan Reynoso to head home the driven ball past goalkeeper Oscar Ibanez for the score.
With the win, the U.S. evens the series with the South American team at 2-2-1, and gives the Americans their first win over Peru since June 4, 1989.
Utilizing a now-familiar 3-5-2 formation, the Americans struggled to find any offensive rhythm in the first half. But following the halftime intermission the team showed signs of life and began to attack the Peru goal with more effectiveness, finishing with 12 shots on the night.
With tonight's goal, Jones becomes the first American player to score in three consecutive games since Willy Roy, who scored in three straight against Canada (twice) and Mexico in 1972. Each of Jones' three goals during the streak have been game winners.
Goalkeeper Brad Friedel (Liverpool, England) was outstanding in the match, turning aside four Peru shots. His best save preserved the lead in the 75th minute when he tipped Abel Lobaton's low, curling drive out of danger.
Peru forward Ysrael Zuniga tested Friedel only minutes after entering the match, slamming a one-time shot to the near post that forced the goalkeeper to make smothering save. But Zuniga would not figure in any further scoring attempts, and was ejected in the 77th minute after receiving his second caution in 12 minutes.
Tonight's result extended the USA's unbeaten run to four games, and provided a second straight win over South American opposition. In addition, the victory gives the Unites States a second consecutive win in Miami, a city in which the team had never won an international game prior to the 2000 Gold Cup.
As winners of Group B, the U.S. will meet Group A runner-up Colombia in the Gold Cup quarterfinals at the Orange Bowl on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. That quarterfinal match will be shown live on Univision. With a second place finish in the group, Peru will square off against the top team from Group A, Honduras, also In Miami on Saturday.
"We came out strong in the second half and took advantage of our chances," said head coach Bruce Arena, who owns a 4-1-1 lifetime record against South American teams. "I expect a very competitive match from Colombia on Saturday."
2000 U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||U.S. Men's National Team vs. Peru National Team|
|Competition:||CONCACAF Gold Cup 2000 - Group B|
|Venue:||The Orange Bowl (Miami, Florida)|
|Date:||February 16, 2000 - kickoff 9:00 p.m. (ET)|
|Weather:||75 degrees - Warm, Clear|
USA - Cobi Jones, (Eddie Lewis), 59.
USA - 1-Brad Friedel; 3-Greg Vanney, 23-Eddie Pope, 16-Carlos Llamosa; 7-Eddie Lewis, 14-Chris Armas, 10-Claudio Reyna(Capt.), 13-Cobi Jones (19-Ben Olsen, 78), 9-Jovan Kirovski; 11-Eric Wynalda (5-C.J. Brown, 72), 20-Brian McBride (22-Ante Razov, 81).
PER - 1-Oscar Ibanez, 3-Juan Reynoso (Capt.), 4-Marcial Salazar Orbe (15-Ysreal Zuniga, 65), 6- Cesar Miguel Rebosio, 8-Juan Jayo, 10-Roberto Palacios, 11-Roberto Holsen (17-German Pinillos Rioja, 71), 14-Jorge Sota, 19-Abel Lobaton, 20-Jose Del Solar, 23-Henry Quinteros Sanchez.
|Brian McBride (caution)||45,|
|Juan Jayo (caution)||50,|
|Ysreal Zuniga (caution)||70,|
|Ysreal Zuniga (ejection/2nd yellow)||77.|