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Donovan's Record-Tying Four Goals Lead U.S. to Gold Cup Semifinals with 5-0 Win Over Cuba

FOXBORO, Mass. (Saturday, July 19, 2003) — U.S. forward Landon Donovan unloaded for four goals and Eddie Lewis delivered three assists as the U.S. pounded Cuba 5-0 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.  Extending its unbeaten run to 11 matches in Gold Cup play, the USA advanced to the semifinal round where they will face either Colombia or Brazil on July 23 at 8 p.m. ET in Miami.

“Obviously we’re very pleased with the result today, said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena, who improved his record to 8-0-2 lifetime in Gold Cup action.  “Getting the early goal was a big part of the game, because I thought Cuba did a good job in having their team organized and making it difficult for us in the early going.  Having three goals in the first half certainly made the second half a lot easier, especially with Cuba playing a man down.  Clearly, Landon Donovan’s performance speaks for itself.  We are looking forward to the game on Wednesday.”

As in its first two matches, the U.S. assumed control of possession from the opening whistle.  With Eddie Lewis and Steve Ralston finding space on the flanks, the U.S. created several early chances, with the first decent opportunity coming in the 7th minute.  Frankie Hejduk made a trademark foray down the right side, sending a low cross through the penalty area.  Brian McBride had made a near-post run, but his first-time effort was blocked by a sliding Cuban defender.

The U.S. had a great chance to get on the scoreboard in the 16th minute.  Danny Califf, making his second start in the Gold Cup, sent a long through ball over the Cuban defense to Donovan, who had made a clever run through the midfield.  Cuban goalkeeper Odelin Molina charged to the top of the area, but Donovan was first to the ball. His first touch past Molina had a bit too much bite, Donovan unable to catch up before the ball crossed the endline.

However, the U.S. attack would not be denied, and Donovan would eventually unlock the Cuban defense.  A quick combination between Greg Vanney and Eddie Lewis sprung Brian McBride into the Cuban penalty area.  With Donovan joining the attack and the Cubans facing a two-on-one, McBride calmly slotted a pass to a wide-open Donovan on the back past.  The U.S. striker made no mistake, giving the USA a 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute.

The U.S. doubled the lead four minutes later, with Eddie Lewis again starting the play.  After a nice series of passes, Lewis whipped a cross to the back post through a crowded penalty area.  Steve Ralston passed up a heading opportunity, allowing Donovan a first-time volley that barreled into the back of the net.  The goal ensured Donovan's second career multi-goal performance, the first coming March 2, 2002, in a 4-0 U.S. win against Honduras in Seattle.

Another solid U.S. buildup led to the USA’s third goal.  A through ball down the left flank sent Lewis hustling to keep the ball on the field.  He managed to send a curling ball into the six yard box, where Ralston beat his man to the mark.  Molina could only get a piece of Ralston’s diving header, who increased his scoring total to two goals and three assists in six appearances for the MNT this year.

The Cuban team’s fate was sealed in the 43rd minute, when defender Reizander Fernandez was sent off for a high tackle on Pablo Mastroeni.  The half concluded without a single shot on goal from the Cuban attack.

Donovan collected his hat trick ten minutes on the other side of halftime.  Heavy U.S. defensive pressure led to a steal by Eddie Lewis, who played an early cross across the box.  Donovan slipped in front of Molina to redirect the ball inside the right post.

Donovan would seal his place in the U.S. record books in the 76th minute.  With Clint Mathis and Greg Vanney standing over a free kick on the left side of the Cuban goal, Vanney hopped over the ball and Mathis playing him a quick through ball.  Through a maze of bodies, Vanney’s cross found Donovan, who made no mistake in recording his fourth goal of the afternoon.  Donovan became the fourth player in MNT history to record four goals, the last coming off the foot of Joe-Max Moore in the USA’s 7-0 win against El Salvador on Dec. 5, 1993 in Los Angeles.

U.S. goalkeeper Kasey Keller eased his way into the history books, not facing a single shot on goal on the way to his seventh consecutive shutout for the U.S. in Gold Cup play.  With 33 career shutouts, Keller set the all-time U.S. mark for clean sheets, and is now just two shy of Tony Meola’s record for victories (37).  Keller has not surrendered a goal for the United States since a 2-0 loss to Holland on May 19, 2002, a string of five matches and 469 minutes.  

The U.S. will resume defense of their title in a semifinal Wednesday in Miami, with their opponent to be determined by the result of the quarterfinal between Brazil and Colombia later tonight.  Kickoff for the semifinal is set for 8 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on Galavision.  Colombia was the last team to eliminate the U.S. in Gold Cup play, advancing on PKs in the 2000 tournament. Brazil is the last team to score on the U.S. in any competition, their 1-0 victory against the U.S. in the Confederations Cup in June followed by five consecutive shutouts by the U.S. defense.

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

Match-up: United States Men's National Team vs. Cuba
Date:  July 19, 2003
Competition: CONCACAF Gold Cup Quarterfinal
Venue: Gillette Stadium – Foxboro, Mass.
Kickoff:  3 p.m. ET
Attendance: 15,627
Weather: 79 degrees, sunny

Scoring Summary:    1      2      F
United States              3      2     5
Cuba                          0      0     0

USA- Landon Donovan (Brian McBride)        22nd minute
USA- Landon Donovan (Eddie Lewis)            26’
USA- Steve Ralston (Eddie Lewis)                  42’
USA- Landon Donovan (Eddie Lewis)            55’
USA- Landon Donovan (Greg Vanney)           76’

USA (4-4-2): 18-Kasey Keller; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 12-Danny Califf, 4-Cory Gibbs, 3-Greg Vanney; 19-Steve Ralston, 25-Pablo Mastroeni (13-Richard Mulrooney, 46’), 10-Claudio Reyna (capt.) (8-Earnie Stewart, 46), 7-Eddie Lewis; 21-Landon Donovan, 20-Brian McBride (11-Clint Mathis, 46’)
Subs not used: 24-Adin Brown, 4-Carlos Bocanegra, 15-Bobby Convey, 17-DaMarcus Beasley

CUB (4-4-2): 1-Odelin Molina (capt.); 16-Reizander Perez, 5-Alexander Cruzata, 4-Silvio Minoso, 3-Jeniel Marquez; 2-Nayuri Rivero (18-Alain Cervantes, 46’), 17-Pedro Adriani Faife, 7-Jorge Ramirez, 10-Lester More (6-Livan Perez, 46’); 9-Lazaro Dacourt (15-Lazaro Ruiz, 69’) 13-Maikel Castaneda
Subs not used: 12-Alexis Reve, 8-Eduardo Morales, 11-Rene Infante, 14-Jaime Colome

Stats Summary:     USA    CUB
   Shots                    14          2
   Saves                    0           4
   Corner Kicks        5           1
   Fouls                    7          15
   Offsides                3           1

Misconduct Summary:
CUB –    Reizander Fernandez (ejection)            43rd minute
USA     Danny Califf (caution)                            49’
CUB    Pedro Adriani Faife (caution)                 75’

Referee: Mr. Peter Prendergast (JAM)
Senior Assistant Referee: Mr. Michael Mitchell (JAM)
Junior Assistant Referee: Mr. Michael Ragoonath (TRI)
Fourth Official: Mr. Benito Archundia (MEX)

Chevrolet Man of the Match: Landon Donovan