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Keller, Staunch Defense Help U.S. Earn Hard-Fought Point from 0-0 Draw Versus Jamaica in World Cup Qualifier in Kingston


KINGSTON, Jamaica (Saturday, June 16, 2001) - The United States Men's National Team took another step toward advancing to the 2002 World Cup with a hard-fought 0-0 draw with Jamaica, despite the sweltering heat, the boisterous crowd of more than 35,000 fans and the rough field conditions at National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica. With the tie and the point, the United States sits in first place among six teams in the CONCACAF qualifying group with 10 points after four matches. The top three teams of the six-country tournament after ten matches will advance to 2002 Korea/Japan.

"I think we're satisfied with the result. We obviously pushed for three points at the end," said U.S. head coach Bruce Arena, whose qualifying record is now 6-1-3. "Our game plan was to position ourselves to win at the end, and we had some good chances with Claudio (Reyna) and (David) Regis. It's a difficult setting to play in, and it's a difficult setting to get three points."

Although the final stat sheet only reflects three official saves, U.S. goalkeeper Kasey Keller thwarted countless dangerous Jamaican attacks while playing in just his second match with the U.S. team in 2001. Keller, who was named "Chevrolet Man of the Match," single-handedly kept the home team off the board several times, including his masterful handling of an Onandi Lowe breakaway in the second half and saving two point-blank shots to keep Jamaica off the scoreboard. The shutout was Keller's fourth straight in qualifying matches, and means that the U.S. has now recorded seven shutouts in their last eight qualifying games and only allowed one goal in that stretch.

The sturdy backline of defenders David Regis, captain Jeff Agoos, Carlos Llamosa and Steve Cherundolo literally had their hands full fighting off the strong physical presence and shear speed of bruising forwards Lowe, Wolde Harris and second-half substitute Ricardo Fuller, but yielded just three shots on goal from a total of 13 Jamaican shots.

"A point on the road is always positive," said veteran U.S. defender Jeff Agoos, who was one of only two players on the current roster (Jovan Kirovski is the other) to have been on the team that gave Jamaica its last loss at National Stadium back on Nov. 11, 1994 (a home unbeaten streak at "the Office" that was improved to 51 games with today's result). "A sign of a good team is the ability to get out of pressure situations, and that's what we did successfully all day."

With 10 minutes to play, the U.S. made several runs at the Jamaican goal, including a pair of long-range blasts by midfielder Earnie Stewart and second-half sub Ante Razov that sailed just inches left of the goal. Jamaican goalkeeper Donovan Rickett's stellar shot-stopping ability denied two other great scoring chances late in the match, when he reached high to swat a Razov header over the crossbar in the 83rd minute and dove to his right to get a hand on a Reyna shot that then ricocheted off the post and fell to Regis, whose impromptu bicycle kick zipped wide left in the 90th minute.

The United States is now 1-0-4 all-time in qualifying against the Reggae Boyz, with the lone victory coming on August 13, 1988 in St. Louis, Mo. The teams traded draws in the 1998 qualifying campaign, going scoreless in Kingston on March 2, 1997, before battling to a 1-1 draw at RFK Stadium on October 3 later that year. The U.S. will play host to Jamaica for the return leg in a match set for October 7 at Foxboro Stadium.

The USA will turn around to play their next match at Foxboro just four days from today on Wednesday, June 20, in Boston versus Trinidad & Tobago at 7:30 p.m. ET live on ESPN2.

In other CONCACAF Qualifying action, Costa Rica extended Mexico's dismal showing in 2001 by stealing a 2-1 win at the famed Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, marking the only time Mexico has ever lost there in World Cup qualifying. With a 2-1-1 record, Costa Rica sits in second place with seven points. In the other match, Honduras defeated Trinidad & Tobago 4-2 and moved into third place over Jamaica on goal differential.

2001 U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT

Participants:U.S. Men's National Team vs. Jamaica
Competition:CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying (Final round)
Venue:National Stadium (Kingston, Jamaica)
Date:June 16, 2001 - Kickoff 2 p.m. ET
Attendance:35,000 (approx.)
Weather:93 degrees (Sunny, Hot)

Scoring Summary:1st2ndFinal
United States
000
Jamaica
000

Lineups:
USA - 1-Kasey Keller; 6-David Regis, 12-Jeff Agoos, 16-Carlos Llamosa, 2-Steve Cherundolo; 14-Clint Armas, 10-Claudio Reyna (Capt.), 8-Earnie Stewart, 22-Tony Sanneh (11-Ante Razov, 79); 9-Joe-Max Moore (19-Jovan Kirovski, 58), 20-Brian McBride (17-John O'Brien, 69).

JAM - 30-Donovan Ricketts; 5-Ian Goodison, 19-Frank Sinclair, 3-Chris Dawes (12-Micah Hyde, 84); 14-Tyrone Marshall, 15-Ricardo Gardner, 8-James Lawrence, 11-Theodore Whitmore, 9-Andy Williams; 31-Onandi Lowe (Capt.), 21-Wolde Harris (10-Ricardo Fuller, 71).

Statistical Summary:USAJAM
Shots . . . . . . . . . .
1113
Saves . . . . . . . . . .
34
Corner Kicks . . . . .
63
Fouls . . . . . . . . . .
1112
Offside . . . . . . . . .
13

Misconduct Summary:
JAM - Ricardo Gardiner (caution) 18.
USA - Joe-Max Moore (caution) 27.
USA - Claudio Reyna (caution) 61.

Referee: Ubaldo Aquino (Paraguay)
Assistant Referee #1: Miguel Angel Giacomuzzi (Paraguay)
Assistant Referee #2: Casimiro Gonzalez (Paraguay)
Fourth Official: Roberto Gustavo Crosler (Paraguay)

Chevrolet Man of the Match: Kasey Keller

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