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U.S. Advances to Second Round of 2002 World Cup Despite 3-1 Loss to Poland; Round of 16 Showdown with Mexico Set for Monday

DAEJEON, Korea (Friday, June 14, 2002) — Needing just a draw in their third and final opening round match, the U.S. Men’s National Team surrendered two surprising goals in the first five minutes and came up short in their comeback bid, falling to Poland 3-1 in Daejeon today. [Note: The USA-Poland match will be rebroadcast Saturday on ABC at 1 p.m. ET.]

Despite the loss, they finished in second place in Group D with a 1-1-1 record and four points and advanced to the second round thanks to Korea, who defeated Portugal 1-0 and won the group with a 2-0-1 record and seven points. Portugal finished in third place with a surprising 1-2-0 record, joining France and Argentina on the list of pre-tournament favorites that have shockingly failed to advance out of the opening round. Poland finished in last place in Group D with a 1-2-0 record and three points in their first World Cup appearance since 1986.

“We were disappointed in the performance, but elated to be in the Round of 16,” said Bruce Arena. “Give our opponent credit – Poland played pretty well. Giving up two goals in the first five minutes made the game extremely difficult. It’s been a strange World Cup, but we deserve to be where we are.”

The U.S. will now face CONCACAF rival Mexico on Monday, June 17 in Jeonju, Korea live on ESPN and Univision at 2:25 a.m. ET. Mexico won a difficult Group G, downing Croatia 1-0 in their opener, coming back to defeat Ecuador 2-1 in their second match, and holding off Italy for a 1-1 draw in their final match to post a 2-0-1 record for seven points. U.S. defender Frankie Hejduk will be unavailable for the match after receiving his second caution of group play tonight, resulting in a one-game suspension.

Group D winner Korea will face Italy, who slipped through Group G to the second round with a 1-1-1 record and four points, on Tuesday, June 18 live on ESPN at 7:25 a.m. ET.

The U.S. holds a 9-28-9 all-time record against Mexico, but has won four of the last five meetings, including a 1-0 win in Denver on April 3. Although a frequent and bitter World Cup qualifying foe, the U.S. has never met Mexico in World Cup play.

Despite entering the match having been mathematically eliminated following a 2-0 opening loss to Korea and a 4-0 blowout at the hands of Portugal in their second match, Poland came out strong and caught the U.S. off-guard with goals in the 3rd and 5th minutes.

The first Poland goal came off a corner kick in which dangerous Nigerian-born striker Emmanuel Olisadebe rose up and won a header over U.S. defender Jeff Agoos, then pounced on his own loose ball and roofed his point-blank shot in the upper right corner past Friedel to make it 1-0.

It looked like the U.S. had equalized a minute later, when U.S. forward Landon Donovan out-jumped a Polish defender in the six-yard box to nod the ball home into an open net after goalkeeper Radoslaw Majdan came off his line to punch Brian McBride’s cross sky high in the box, but the goal was disallowed as the referee ruled Donovan had fouled the defender on the play.

After the disputed call, Poland came right back down the field and scored on their next attack to quickly jump out to a commanding 2-0 lead. The goal came when Poland midfielder Jacek Krzynowek received a pass on the left flank and quickly sent a low cross to the near post, where forward Pawel Kryszalowicz charged in and, holding off Agoos, pushed his shot past Friedel inside the left post.

Poland produced another dangerous flurry in front of the U.S. goal in the 29th minute that almost made it a 3-0 lead if not for two gigantic saves from Friedel.  Krzynowek found hilmself with just the keeper to beat after picking up a loose ball in the box, but Friedel saved his shot from 10 yards out. Maciej Zurawski pounced on the rebound, but Friedel recovered to get just enough of a hand on the shot to direct it off the right post, where it caromed back across the goal mouth and was cleared.

The U.S. registered a total of nine shots in the first half, but both of forward Brian McBride’s headers were easily saved and number of long-range shots never found their mark on goal.

Already facing a 2-0 deficit as the second half began, Friedel was called on to make another huge save in the 47th minute. Kryznowek beat U.S. defender Eddie Pope to a bouncing ball in the box, but Friedel quickly came off his line and took the shot of the toes of the attacker and smothered the rebound.

Poland made a comeback even tougher with a third goal in the 66th minute, when second-half substitute Marcin Zewlakow lept to finish a near-post header past a flat-footed Freidel just a minute after coming off the bench to spur the Poland attack. The score marked the third time in the tournament that the U.S. has given up off a goal off a corner kick.

Just a minute later, the U.S. had a glorious pair of scoring opportunities to start cutting into the lead. After a quick series of passes between captain Claudio Reyna and Donovan, forward Joe-Max Moore ripped a shot that Majdan was lucky to save.  U.S. forward Clint Mathis, who scored the lone goal in the 1-1 draw with South Korea, was there for the rebound but sprayed his shot over the crossbar. In coming on as a second-half substitute, Moore became just the sixth U.S. player in history to reach the 100-cap milestone.

The U.S. was in more danger in the 76th minute, when U.S. defender Sanneh brought down Kryszalowicz as he was about to send a cross from the left side of the box. Zurawski stepped up to try to make it an overwhelming 4-0, but Friedel dove to his left and smothered the shot to give the U.S. new hope. With the crucial PK save to keep Korea off the board in the first half of the 1-1 draw, Friedel became the only goalkeeper in World Cup history to save two penalty kicks in regulation in a tournament.

The U.S. had a golden opportunity to score in the 82nd minute, when second-half sub Cobi Jones served a beautiful looping ball to Mathis at the far post. His volley at the corner of the six-yard box slipped between a defender and the keeper, but rocked the post and was cleared out of danger.

The U.S. finally got on the scoreboard in the 83rd minute, when Mathis flicked a header back over the defense to Donovan, who cranked a left-footed one-timed shot inside the right post. With the goal, the 20-year-old midfielder became the second youngest player to score in U.S. World Cup history. [Note: The youngest was 19-year-old James Brown, who scored the lone goal in the 6-1 loss to Argentina in the semi-finals of the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay.]

The U.S. mounted a series of attacks while still pushing for a 3-3 draw, but would have to settle for the loss. The U.S. outshot Poland 17-8 and had a 8-3 edge on corner kicks.

“This was a wake-up call for us,” said Friedel, who was honored as Chevy Man of the Match for the second consecutive time. “You can rest assured we’ll be on our toes for the game against Mexico.”

By appearing in the match, veteran midfielders Jones and Stewart tied Tab Ramos for the U.S. World Cup appearance record with nine games played.  Ramos played on the 1990, ’94 and ’98 squads, while Jones and Stewart made their World Cup debuts in 1994 and have appeared in the last two Cups.

With the U.S. loss, CONCACAF finished opening round 2002 World Cup play with a 4-2-3 record, as Costa Rica ran into a red-hot Brazil and fell 5-2, failing to advance out of Group C with four points.

Other notes: The U.S. is now 5-13-2 all-time in World Cup competition … The U.S. is 0-12-1 in all-time World Cup history when conceding the first goal ... Donovan’s goal marked the first time since Brazil 1950 that the U.S. has scored in all three of its first round World Cup games … This marks the first time the U.S. has advanced to the second round since USA 1994 … More impressively, it marks the first time the U.S. has advanced to the second round on foreign soil since Uruguay 1930.

- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report -

Participants: United States World Cup Team vs. Poland
Competition: 2002 World Cup Korea/Japan – Opening Round (Group D - Match 48)
Venue: Daejon World Cup Stadium (Daejeon, Korea)
Date: June 14, 2002 – 8:30 p.m. (local) / 7:30 a.m. ET
Weather: 75 degrees; cool, crisp
Attendance: 26,482

Scoring Summary: 1 - 2 - F
United States 0 - 1 - 1
Poland 2 - 1 - 3

POL – Emmanuel Olisadebe (unassisted), 3.
POL – Pawel Kryszalowicz (Jacek Kryznowek), 5.
POL – Marcin Zewlakow (n/a), 66.
USA – Landon Donovan (Clint Mathis), 83.

USA: 1-Brad Friedel; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 12-Jeff Agoos (17-DaMarcus Beasley, 36), 23-Eddie Pope, 22-Tony Sanneh; 10-Claudio Reyna (capt.), 8-Earnie Stewart (13-Cobi Jones, 68), 5-John O’Brien, 21-Landon Donovan; 11-Clint Mathis, 20-Brian McBride (9-Joe-Max Moore, 58).
Subs Not Used: 3-Gregg Berhalter, 4-Pablo Mastroeni, 6-David Regis, 7-Eddie Lewis, 14-Steve Cherundolo, 15-Josh Wolff, 16-Carlos Llamosa, 18-Kasey Keller, 19-Tony Meola.

POL: 12-Radoslaw Madjan; 2-Tomasz Klos (15 Tomasz Waldoch, 89), 3-Jacek Zielinski (capt.), 13-Arkadiusz Glowacki, 21-Marek Kozminski; 19-Maciej Zurawski, 16-Maciej Murawski, 18-Jacek Krzynowek, 8-Cezary Kucharski (14-Marcin Zewlakow, 65); 9- Pawel Kryszalowicz, 11-Emmanuel Olisadebe (23-Pawel Sibik, 86).
Subs Not Used: 1-Jerzy Dudek, 4-Michal Zewlakow, 5-Tomasz Rzasa, 6-Tomasz Hajto, 10-Radoslaw Kaluzny, 17-Arkadiusz Bak, 20-Jacek Bak, 22-Adam Matysek.

Statistical Summary: USA - POL
Shots: 17 - 8
Saves: 6 - 6
Corner Kicks: 8 - 3
Fouls: 11 - 22
Offside: 2 - 4

Misconduct Summary:
POL – Radoslaw Madjan (caution), 44.
POL – Marek Kozminski (caution), 46.
POL – Cezary Kucharski (caution), 63.
USA – Frankie Hejduk (caution), 72.
POL – Emmanuel Olisadebe (caution), 86.

Referee: Jun Lu (CHN)
Assistant Referee #1: Bomer Fierro (ECU)
Assistant Referee #2: Jaap Pool (NED)
Fourth Official: Coffi Codjia (BEN)

Chevrolet Man of Match: Brad Friedel