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U.S. MNT Defeats Poland 1-0 for First Win of 2004


PLOCK, Poland (March 31, 2004) — The U.S. Men's National Team earned a strong 1-0 victory over Poland today at Kazimierza Gorskiego in Plock, Poland, marking the team's first victory of 2004 and the first victory for the U.S. in Europe under head coach Bruce Arena in nine matches. DaMarcus Beasley scored the lone goal of the match in the 26th minute, finishing a nice combination passing play from Josh Wolff and Conor Casey, and goalkeeper Brad Friedel picked up his 24th career shutout, returning to the U.S. nets for the first time since his 2002 World Cup heroics.
   
On Beasley's first-half strike, the 21-year-old midfielder finished his shot from 14 yards through the legs of Polish goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek on a perfect one-time pass into the area from Wolff. Wolff was able to hit Beasley in stride as he entered the penalty area, turning a pass that Casey had squared to him about 30 yards from goal on a ball chested and controlled from a long pass out of the U.S. defense from Gregg Berhalter.
   
"I thought it was a good game for us today," said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena. "Beasley's goal was big, since the Polish team was putting us under a lot of pressure early in the game. They also put us under a lot of pressure in the last 15 minutes, and Friedel made two big saves for us. I was pleased with the way our team played. We were very composed and did a good job in the last 20 minutes to kill off the game and get the win. I also want to make a point to thank the Polish fans for treating us with such respect during the game."
   
The victory for the U.S. marked the team's first triumph in Europe in six years, dating back to a 3-0 win against the host Austrians on April 22, 1998 (a span of 12 games). Arena's teams had gone 0-7-1 in Europe before today's victory over Poland, losing matches to host nations like Russia, Italy, Germany and Holland.
   
"I'm happy," said Arena about the win in Europe. "We have a good team, and over the last two years we have played some very difficult teams on the road, some very difficult teams to play against. We knew we would win one of these games along the way, and we were fortunate that we were able to win today."
   
For Beasley, the goal was his fifth in 31 international appearances for the U.S. and came just three minutes after he had left the game briefly following a collision with defender Marcin Baszczynski that saw him get hit hard in the back. The goal was the second of Beasley's career on European soil, having scored his last goal at the Confederations Cup in France in the USA's 2-1 loss to Turkey on June 19, 2003.
   
"We had possession for awhile and Wolff played the ball behind a defender," said Beasley describing his goal after the game. "We had talked about this before the game, because we have played together for a long time, so we talked about playing balls behind defenders. I made a diagonal run and was able to put the ball through Dudek's legs. Anytime you can get a goal and help the team is a plus in my book."
   
Despite playing the entire first half and earning the assist, Wolff was forced out of the match at halftime after spraining his right shoulder in a tumble over Dudek in the 16th minute after he had worked a one-two with Casey to sprint in on goal. Wolff was replaced by Bobby Convey, who picked up his 22nd career cap and who has now appeared in 19 of the last 20 U.S. games dating back through 2003.
   
In the 65th minute, the U.S. had a chance to double its lead when some more quick passing out of the midfield eventually freed Clint Mathis for an unmarked attempt from the middle of the penalty area, but his first touch got away from him and Dudek was able to smother the ball. The play materialized when Casey controlled a ball in the midfield and played it quickly backwards to Reyna to slot forward into the right flank, where Klein dribbled into the area before passing to Mathis.
   
The quick release from Casey to begin that build-up was typical of his performance across 90 minutes, in which he confidently alternated between quick releases and strong efforts to hold the ball against the imposing Polish defense. For the 22-year-old Casey, who starred for the U.S. Under-23 National Team four years ago at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, the match was the first of his international career.
   
"I was excited to get my first cap and winning adds to that excitement," said Casey, who has 12 goals with Karlsruher in the German Second Division in 2003-04. "I thought the team played very well in a tough game and I was happy with the result. For my first game, I thought I did OK."
   
The U.S. has a return match against Poland scheduled for July 11 at Soldier Field in Chicago, but next up for the team is a showdown with their arch-rival Mexico on April 28 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas (live on Telemundo at 7:30 p.m. CT). The U.S. also has a match scheduled for June 2 at a venue and against an opponent yet to be determined, which is the team's last game before they begin their journey to the 2006 World Cup with a qualifying match on June 13 at Columbus Crew Stadium against Grenada. The match is the first in a two-game series with the return match set for June 20 in St. George's, Grenada.

POST-MATCH QUOTES

BRUCE ARENA, U.S. MANAGER
On the overall performance from the U.S.:
"I thought it was a good game for us today. Beasley's goal was big, since the Polish team was putting us under a lot of pressure early in the game. They also put us under a lot of pressure in the last 15 minutes, and Friedel made two big saves for us. I was pleased with the way our team played. We were very composed and did a good job in the last 20 minutes to kill off the game and get the win. I also want to make a point to thank the polish fans for treating us with such respect during the game."

On his first win in Europe:
"I'm happy. We have a good team, and over the last two years we have played some very difficult teams on the road, some very difficult teams to play against. We knew we would win one of these games along the way, and we were fortunate that we were able to win today."

CONOR CASEY, U.S. Forward
On his first cap and the win:
"I was excited to get my first cap and winning adds to that excitement. I thought the team played very well in a tough game and I was happy with the result. For my first game, I thought I did OK."

DaMARCUS BEASLEY, U.S. Midfielder
On his goal:
"We had possession for awhile and Wolff played the ball behind a defender. We had talked about this before the game, because we have played together for a long time, so we talked about playing balls behind defenders. I made a diagonal run and was able to put the ball through Dudek's legs. Anytime you can get a goal and help the team is a plus in my book. Winning our first game in Europe with Bruce means this is going to go down as a big goal for me."

BRAD FRIEDEL, U.S. Goalkeeper
On the win:
"Anytime you can beat anyone in Europe it is a great exercise. This is Bruce's first win in Europe and our last win came against Austria, so it is obviously difficult to win here. I thought Poland had a good team, and they were very organized. After we got through the first 10 minutes of the game, we were very, very solid throughout. Overall it is very encouraging for us going into the last few games before qualifying."

On his return to the National Team:
"For the most part I've played with just about everyone here at least once, and a few of them for many years. To be honest, it didn't feel like I've been gone for 21 months. I felt very comfortable and I think it is because I've had so many experiences with the National Team, so it is very easy for me to come back in."

 

- U.S. Men's National Team Match Report -

Match-up: USA vs. Poland
Date: March 31, 2004
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Kazimierza Gorskiego Stadium – Plock, Poland
Kickoff: 1:35 p.m. ET
Attendance:  10,500
Weather: 46 degrees, chilly

Scoring Summary:    1          2         F
USA                            1          0         1
Poland                        0          0         0

Scoring:
USA – DaMarcus Beasley (Josh Wolff)        26th minute.

Lineups:
USA — 1-Brad Friedel; 13-Greg Vanney, 3-Gregg Berhalter, 25-Pablo Mastroeni (4-Carlos Bocanegra, 52), 6-Steve Cherundolo; 22-Chris Klein (5-Tony Sanneh, 74), 10-Claudio Reyna (capt.), 17-DaMarcus Beasley, 9-Clint Mathis (8-Kerry Zavagnin, 85); 16-Josh Wolff (15-Bobby Convey, 46), 11-Conor Casey.
Subs not used: 7-Kyle Martino, 20-Brian McBride, 24-Jonny Walker.

POL — 1-Jerzy Dudek; 2-Tomasz Klos, 3-Tomasz Rzasa, 4-Marcin Baszczynski (17-Tomasz Hajto, 46), 5-Arkadiusz Radomski (15-Miraslaw Szymkowiak, 46); 6-Jacek Bak (capt.), 7-Euzebiusz Smolarek (16-Damian Gorawski, 62), 8-Jacek Krzynowek, 9-Grzegorz Rasiak (18-Marek Saganowski, 46); 10-Mariusz Lewandowski (14-Sebastian Mila, 72), 11-Maciej Zurawski.
Subs not used: 12-Maciej Nalepa.

Stats Summary:     USA    POL
   Shots                         4          9     
   Saves                        3          0     
   Corner Kicks            3          5
   Fouls                         7          9   
   Offside                      1          3 

Misconduct Summary:
None

Officials:
Referee: Tommy Skjerven (NOR)
Assistant Referee #1: Geir Age Holen (NOR)
Assistant Referee #2: Magne Tosse (NOR)
Fourth Official: Mikolajeski Marek (POL)

Chevrolet Man of the Match:  DaMarcus Beasley


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