The victory was a fitting end to the brilliant international career of U.S. defender Thomas Dooley, 37, who retires from the red-white-and-blue with 81 career caps and 7 goals. Dooley, who played the full 90 minutes at sweeper for the Americans, was honored before the match for his dedication and service to the National Team.
The match was a physical encounter from the onset, as both teams fought for superiority in the midfield. In the first half alone, a total of 29 fouls and 5 cautions had been whistled by Mexican referee Pascal Rebolledo.
The Chileans had two opportunities to score minutes after the opening kickoff, but U.S. 'keeper Zach Thornton was equal to the test early in the match. On the second effort, Thornton did particularly well extending high and to his left to parry wide a 30-yard blast from Chilean forward Manuel Neira.
The U.S. countered with several first-half chances of their own, notably a Chad Deering header that just missed and a shot by Roy Lassiter from 12 yards that was saved well by Marcelo Ramirez in the Chilean goal.
The USA broke the game open on 58 minutes, as Olsen scored his first career goal in only his second-ever appearance for the USA. The goal was created by the hard work of U.S. forward Brian McBride, who tracked down a loose ball in the right corner, pivoted past defender Francisco Rojas and curled a pass into the center of the penalty area. Olsen lost his defender in time to drill a right-footed volley past Ramirez from 8 yards.
Chile countered to tie the match in the 64th minute, ending the USA's hopes of its fourth consecutive shutout. After a restart, midfielder Roberto Cartes controlled a ball inside the U.S. half of the field and launched a blistering 30-yard drive that found the upper right corner of the goal, out of reach of second-half substitute Tom Presthus in the U.S. goal.
But moments later the U.S. were again in the lead through midfielder Eddie Lewis. Dooley played a long free-kick into the penalty area, and after a deflection the ball rebounded to Lewis. The San Jose Clash midfielder hit a 15-yard bullet that deflected off defender Pablo Contreras and past Ramirez to give the Americans the lead for good in the 65th minute.
The victory also marked the international debut for goalkeeper Tom Presthus who made a total of two saves in the second half, and defender Leo Cullen, who earned his first cap in the home stadium for his Miami Fusion club.
The National Team returns to action in March during Nike U.S. Cup '99. The four-team tournament will be played as two doubleheaders on March 11 and 13 in Los Angeles and San Diego, respectively. The Nike U.S. Cup, which is the most prestigious men's international tournament on the U.S. Soccer calendar, will open on March 11 at the LA Coliseum as the United States will take on Guatemala (live on ESPN) followed by Mexico versus Bolivia. The tournament will turn to Qualcomm Stadium on March 13 as the U.S. faces arch-rival Mexico (live on ABC) in the opener, with Bolivia and Guatemala closing out the evening. The Nike U.S. Cup '99 standings will be determined by total points.
|Participants:||United States National Team vs. Chile National Team|
|Venue:||Lockhart Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)|
|Date:||February 21, 1999
Kickoff: 3:30 PM (ET)
|Weather:||78 degrees, sunny and clear|
CHI - Roberto Cartes, (unassisted), 64,
USA - Eddie Lewis, (unassisted), 65.
USA - Zach Thornton (Tom Presthus, 46), Thomas Dooley, C.J. Brown, Carlos Llamosa, Eddie Lewis, Chris Armas, Richie Williams (Leo Cullen, 86), Ben Olsen, Chad Deering (Clint Mathis, 66), Brian McBride, Roy Lassiter (Ante Razov, 46).
CHI - Marcelo Ramirez, Pablo Contreras, Francisco Rojas (Mauricio Aros, 80), Miguel Ramirez, Luis Mena, Christian Uribe (Patricio Neira, 70), Clarence Acuna, David Pizzaro, Roberto Cartes, Manuel Neira, Reinaldo Navia (Rodolfo Moya, 66).
USA - Lewis, (caution), 12,
USA - McBride, (caution), 18,
CHI - Mena, (caution), 21,
CHI - Navia, (caution), 25,
USA - Williams, (caution), 32,
USA - Armas, (caution), 64.
|Referee's Assistants:||Jose Guadalupe Martinez||(MEX)|
|Fourth Official:||Michael Kennedy||(USA)|