U.S. MNT Advance to Semifinal Round of FIFA World Cup Qualifying With 9-0 Aggregate Score Against Barbados
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (June 22, 2008) — With a 1-0 victory against Barbados Sunday afternoon, the U.S. Men’s National Team captured the two-game, aggregate goal series by a 9-0 margin, advancing to the Semifinal Round of qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Eddie Lewis scored the only goal of the game in the second leg of the affair at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, providing the U.S. with their fourth straight shutout against the small Caribbean nation.
The U.S. will now prepare for their first match of the Semifinal Round, which will be on the road against Guatemala on Aug. 20. Overall, the U.S. will play a total of six games in the round-robin Semifinal Round, facing all three opponents in the four-team group home and away. The top two teams will advance to the Final Round hexagonal that will be played in 2009.
Along with the U.S. and Guatemala, Cuba advanced to the Semifinal Round group with an 8-3 aggregate score against Antigua & Barbuda, including a 4-0 victory this afternoon. Also advancing was Trinidad & Tobago, who defeated Bermuda 2-0 in the second leg for a 3-2 aggregate score. Guatemala advanced with a 9-1 aggregate score againt St. Lucia.
After heading to Guatemala, the U.S. will travel to Cuba on Sept. 6 and then host either Trinidad & Tobago in Chicago on Sept. 10. The second half of the round-robin play will begin against Cuba at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 11, before moving to Trinidad & Tobago on Oct. 15 and finishing in Denver against Guatemala on Nov. 19.
“For the series we feel good about the work we've done,” said U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley. “This was an opportunity to use different players and it is important to get some young players experience. We had the confidence that we were strong enough defensively that we would hold together to get the win."
Lewis, wearing the captain’s armband as he earned his 19th World Cup qualifying appearance, struck the game-winning goal in the 21st minute. After some nifty dribbling in the midfield, Freddy Adu, who earned his first World Cup qualifying start, spotted Lewis slicing behind the Barbados defense and slipped a nicely weighted through ball between two defenders directly into his path. Charging into the area, Lewis spotted the ‘keeper closing in and calmly slotted his shot through Alvin Rouse’s legs to the far right corner.
With a thumping 8-0 win in the first leg against Barbados, Bradley made seven changes to his starting line-up in Bridgetown, fielding a youthful side. The only remaining players that started last week were goalkeeper Brad Guzan, defender Heath Pearce and midfielders DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Bradley.
In total, seven players made their first appearance in a World Cup qualifier, including four in the starting line-up: Jay DeMerit, Sacha Kljestan, Drew Moor and Danny Szetela. In the second half, Bradley used all three his substitutions on the trio of Chicago Fire players – Chris Rolfe, John Thorrington and Chad Barrett – getting them their first taste of World Cup qualifying.
The teams spent the first quarter hour feeling each other out under the blistering sun in Bridgetown, with the U.S. maintaining most of the possession while forcing the hosts to chase the game. The U.S. also had the majority of the chances on goal, with Kljestan getting a great chance in the 18th minute when he nodded a Heath Pearce cross towards goal, but it was deflected away by Ramuel Miller. Pearce had a scoring opportunity of his own in the 36th minute when he was sent through, but his strike was wide left.
Barbados played much better compared to the first leg and came alive in the final five minutes of the fist half, getting their first real chance in the 41st minute when a flick-on header by Mark McCammon found Jonathan Nurse just inside the box. Nurse cut to his left and let go a low left-footed drive, only to have Drew Moor make a sliding block to avert the danger.
The second half started at a slower pace as the heat continued to take its toll, but Barbados was still pushing into the attack and had their best chance of the match to pull even in the 57th minute. Midfielder and captain Paul Ifill sent a long ball to the top of the penalty area where McCammon deftly chested the ball into the path of a streaking Rommelle Burgess, who ripped a one-timer from nine yards out that clanged off the crossbar.
The U.S. pushed forward in the second half looking to put the game out of reach, but couldn’t find the final pass. In the 74th minute, Moor pushed his way up the right side and beat a defender to get into the penalty area, but his tempting cross along the six-yard box didn’t find anyone.
Ifill, who plays at Crystal Palace in England, was the best player on the field for Barbados. In the 85th minute, he started the final chance for his country switching the point of attack from left to right with a long pass to Rondell Vaughan. The substitute sent a ball high into the penalty area where McCammon and Guzan collided allowing the ball to fall to John Parris who finished it into the net, but McCammon was called offside to nullify the goal.
In the final moments of the game, Barrett and Bradley both had opportunities but both of their chances were off target.
U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report
Match-up: USA vs. Barbados
Date: June 22, 2008
Competition: FIFA World Cup qualifier
Venue: Kensington Oval - Bridgetown, Barbados
Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET
Weather: Sunny and warm, 85 degrees
1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
BRB 0 0 0
USA – Eddie Lewis (Freddy Adu) 21st minute.
USA: 18-Brad Guzan; 6-Drew Moor, 15-Jay DeMerit, 2-Danny Califf, 11-Heath Pearce; 10-Sacha Kljestan, 12-Michael Bradley, 8-Danny Szetela (14-Chris Rolfe, 66), 7-Eddie Lewis (capt.); 16-Freddy Adu (13-Chad Barrett, 86), 17-DaMarcus Beasley (12-John Thorrington, 79)
Subs not used: 1-Chris Seitz, 3-Carlos Bocanegra, 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 9-Brek Shea
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
BRB: 1-Alvin Rouse, 5-Bryan Neblett, 6-Jonathan Straker, 7-Paul Ifill (capt.), 9-Marc McCammon, 11-Jonathan Nurse (12-Malcolm Marshall, 81), 13-Riviere Williams (8-Rondell Vaughan, 68), 14-Ramuel Miller, 15-Emerson Boyce, 16-Barry Skeete, 17-John Parris
Subs not used: 18-Adrian Chase, 2-Dyson James, 3-Daryl Ferguson, 4-Gregg Belle, 10-Arantes Lawrence
Head Coach: Eyre Sealy
Shots 9 3
Shots on goal 1 0
Saves 0 0
Corner Kicks 2 3
Fouls 11 7
Offside 5 4
Referee: Roberto Moreno (PAN)
1st Asst.: Daniel Williamson (PAN)
2nd Asst.: Hairo Fuentes (PAN)
Fourth Official: Luis Rodriguez (PAN)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Eddie Lewis