The physical affair was chock full of hard challenges and charged with the usual emotion of a USA-Mexico clash as U.S. head coach Bruce Arena fielded a young lineup, with seven U.S. players earning their first caps by the end of the night.
The experience was in the defense for the USA and it showed as the back line of Greg Vanney, Carlos Llamosa and Jeff Agoos put the clamps on the Mexican attack to help earn a shutout for goalkeeper Tony Meola, who made his 93rd appearance for the national team.
A mostly uneventful first half saw the USA create one good chance through the work of Chris Klein, who played a solid match on the right flank. The attack developed on the right side of the field as Chris Albright played a short pass to Clint Mathis just outside the penalty box. Mathis played a first-time pass to Klein, who drove his cross on the ground. The ball skipped behind Mathis, who had made a run through, and onto the foot of Chris Henderson, whose driven shot had eyes for the corner before being blocked Sergio Almaguer.
Henderson, a member of the 1990 U.S. World Cup Team earning his first cap since Feb. 2, 1998, suffered a right calf strain and had to leave the match, giving way to Donovan, one of the stars of the 2000 Olympic Team.
Playing in his first full national team match after extensive duty with the U.S. youth national teams, Donovan used the last third of the first half to get his legs, and then tallied just five minutes into the second half with a nifty piece of dribbling. Mathis had penetrated up the middle before slipping the ball between a defender's legs to the cutting Donovan, who had lost his defender with a dynamic run. Donovan danced around Mexican goalkeeper Adrian Martinez before rolling his shot into the open net from eight yards out.
Mexico nearly answered back in the 56th minute, but Meola had his corner covered when Daniel Osorno's shot went wide ride. Three minutes later, Albright stole a ball in midfield and raced in on goal, forcing a diving save from Martinez with a blast from distance.
Mathis and Donovan combined again in the 79th minute, and this time the pairing helped double the lead for the United States with Josh Wolff's first international goal. Donovan received the ball from Mathis and worked down the left flank before powering past the defender to deliver a cross to the top of the 18-yard box. Wolff, playing just his third international game, calmly controlled the ball with a perfect touch and buried a low shot.
The USA has outscored Mexico, 5-0, in their two matches in 2000, winning two straight games against their arch-rivals for first time since 1995.
In addition to Chevrolet Man of the Match Donovan, Chris Klein, Kerry Zavagnin, Peter Vagenas, Bobby Convey, Sasha Victorine, and Joe Franchino all made their international debuts in the match.
Meola earned his USA-record 30th clean sheet in the match, presented by Tropicana, and helped extend the team's shutout streak to four consecutive games. The USA has outscored its opponents 30-11 in 16 matches this year, compiling an overall record of 8-2-6.
The United States' next match will be its final Group "E" World Cup qualifier against Barbados at the National Stadium in Waterford, St. Michael, on November 15. The match will kick off at 3:00 p.m. local time (2:00 p.m. ET) and will coincide with the kickoff of the Costa Rica match in Guatemala. With a win in that match the United States will guarantee its advancement to the next round of qualifying for the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan. The U.S. can also clinch a spot in the final six-team qualifying group of six if Guatemala and Costa Rica tie, and the U.S. can maintain their current goal-differential advantage of Guatemala (currently plus 7 to Guatemala's plus 2).
2000 U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||U.S. Men's National Team vs. Mexico National Team|
|Venue:||Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (Los Angeles, Calif.)|
|Date:||October 25, 2000 - Kickoff 8 p.m. (PT)|
|Weather:||66 degrees - Brisk, Clear, Breezy|
USA - Landon Donovan, (Clint Mathis), 50,
USA - Josh Wolff, (Landon Donovan), 79.
USA - 1-Tony Meola; 16-Carlos Llamosa, 12-Jeff Agoos (Capt.), 3-Greg Vanney; 17-Chris Klein, 15-Kerry Zavagnin, 21-Richie Williams (10-Peter Vagenas, 86), 19-Chris Henderson (13-Landon Donovan, 32; 8-Bobby Convey, 91+), 6-Clint Mathis; 7-Josh Wolff (9-Sasha Victorine, 89), 11-Chris Albright (22-Joe Franchino, 77).
MEX - 1-Adrian Martinez; 3-Sergio Almaguer, 4-Omar Blanco, 5-Duilio Davino, 13-Pavel Pardo (8-Johan Rodriguez, 46); 6-Ramon Morales (10-Juan Pablo Rodriguez, 58), 14-German Villa, 20-Victor Ruiz (18-Gilberto Adame, 74); 11-Daniel Osorno (16-Luis Ignacio Gonzalez, 69), 21-Jesus Olalde, 23-Jared Borgetti (19-Cesaro Victorino, 46).
|Kerry Zavagnin (caution)||14,|
|Sergio Almaguer (caution)||60,|
|Chris Albright (caution)||75,|
|Josh Wolff (caution)||79.|
Chevrolet Man of the Match: Landon Donovan.