PASADENA, Calif. (Monday, January 21, 2002) - The United States moved into the quarterfinal round of the 2002 Gold Cup with a 1-0 victory against Cuba before 31,244 at the Rose Bowl. Brian McBride scored the lone goal from the penalty spot in the 22nd minute to give the USA the top spot in Group B. The USA's next opponent will be decided Wednesday when Guatemala meets Ecuador, with the quarterfinal match slated for Sunday, January 27 in Pasadena.
"I am pleased with the win," said U.S. Head Coach Bruce Arena. "It was a very difficult match. We did not do well with our chances, but we're still happy to walk away with a win. We won two games, and our mission was to advance here."
With the victory, the U.S. improved its all-time record in Gold Cup group play to 14-0-0 and advances to the quarterfinal round for the sixth-consecutive tournament. With four changes in the lineup, the U.S. looked a much more organized side than two days ago. Playing solid defensively and creating several scoring opportunities, the U.S. outshot the Cubans 16-5. U.S. goalkeeper Kasey Keller earned his 24th career shutout and his 12th-straight victory on U.S. soil. DaMarcus Beasley had another excellent outing and would again figure prominently in the outcome.
After spending the first several minutes sorting out a relatively unfamiliar opponent, the U.S. began to dictate terms. The Cubans were forced to defend with numbers, rarely gaining possession deep in U.S. territory. With good combination play, the U.S. attack exploited the flanks, both Cobi Jones and DaMarcus Beasley finding space to deliver dangerous crosses and producing several chances. It was Beasley's quickness that would create the game's only goal.
Playing a quick combination with Landon Donovan, Beasley cut inside the left corner of the box and pushed the ball past Cuban defender Mario Rodriguez, who arrived late on the challenge and clearly bodied Beasley to the ground. McBride stepped up for the ensuing penalty and calmly deked goalkeeper Odelin Molina, placing his shot in the lower right corner. The goal marked McBride's first from the penalty spot in a U.S. uniform and the 15th of his international career.
The second half became a slightly more even affair, the U.S. still holding the advantage in scoring opportunities. Josh Wolff got the first turn four minutes in, his left-footed effort from 12 yards missing the mark wide left. On the other side, Cuba earned its first real chance in the 53rd minute, team captain Jeniel Marquez gaining possesion at the top right corner of the box. His low drive was pegged for the far left corner, but Keller was equal to the task.
Richie Williams entered in the 55th minute to replace Landon Donovan, who was forced from the match after receiving a knock to the calf earlier in the match. The U.S. continued to press the attack, earning another glorious chance in the 59th minute. Carlos Bocanegra whipped a crossed into the box, finding McBride 15 yards out. McBride's angled header crossed the path of both Richie Williams and Josh Wolff, whose mirrored runs occupied the same space. The chance fell to Wolff, again his left-footed effort barely missing the mark. As both sides began to tire, the action became more end-to-end. Second-half substitute Jeff Cunningham continued to cause problems with his speed, only a great one-on-one save by Molina kept him off the scoreboard in the 76th minute after Cobi Jones sprung him behind the Cuban defense.
Cuba would earn the game's final chance three minutes from time. Alberto Delgado slipped through the U.S. defense deep on the left side of the box, but Keller smartly cut down the angle and Delgado's effort harmlessly crossed the goalmouth.
The U.S. will resume training Tuesday morning in Los Angeles. Match times for the quarterfinal round will be announced after Wednesday's game.
— U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT —
Participants: Cuba vs. United States
Competition: 2002 FC Gold Cup
Venue: Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.)
Weather: 57 degrees, clear
Scoring Summary: 1 - 2 - F
Cuba 0 - 0 - 0
United States 1 - 0 - 1
USA - McBride (PK), 22.
CUBA (3-5-2): 1-Odelin Molina; 5-Alexander Cruzata, 4-Mario Rodriguez, 2-Alexadner Driggs; 13-Silvio Pedro, 3-Jeniel Marquez, 6-Mario Pedraza (8-Miguel Angel Gandara, 82), 14-Jorge Ramirez (19-Maikel Galindo, 64), 17-Livian Perez; 10-Alberto Delgado, 18-Rey Angel Martinez (9-Lazaro Dacourt,78).
Substitutes Not Used: 12-Alexis Reve, 7-Raciel Torres, 11-Ariel Bentancourt, 22-Rene Estrada.
USA (4-4-2): 18-Kasey Keller (capt.); 2-Frankie Hejduk, 25-Pablo Mastroeni, 12-Jeff Agoos, 17-Carlos Bocanegra; 13- Cobi Jones, 14-Chris Armas, 4-DaMarcus Beasley, 21-Landon Donovan (8-Richie Williams, 55); 20-Brian McBride, 15-Josh Wolff (27-Jeff Cunningham, 66).
Substitutes Not Used: 1-Tony Meola, 7-Eddie Lewis, 9-Brian West, 11-Ante Razov, 17-Manny Lagos.
Statistical Summary: CUB - USA
Shots 6 - 16
Saves 4 - 2
Corner Kicks 2 - 4
Fouls 24 - 22
Offside 3 - 1
CUB - Perez (caution), 38.
CUB - Pedraza (caution), 46.
CUB - Silvio Pedro (caution), 66.
USA - Bocanegra (caution), 71.
CUB - Driggs (caution), 74.
USA - Hejduk (caution), 80.
Referee: Jose PINEDA (HON)
Assistant Referee #1: Mike MITCHELL (JAM)
Assistant Referee #2: Hector VERGARA (CAN)
Fourth Official: Noel BYNOE (TRI)
Chevrolet Man of the Match: DaMarcus Beasley