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U.S. Advances to Gold Cup Semifinals with Convincing 4-0 Win Against El Salvador

PASADENA, Calif. (Sunday, January 27, 2002) - The U.S. Men's National Team turned in a dominating performance tonight, outgunning El Salvador 4-0 before 31,628 rain-soaked fans at the Rose Bowl.  Brian McBride provided the offensive fireworks for the U.S., scoring three straight goals to lead the U.S. into the semifinal round where they will face Canada on Wednesday, January 30 at 8:30 p.m. PT at the Rose Bowl.

The U.S. has now advanced to the semifinals in five of six Gold Cup tournaments, more than any other nation.  McBride's hat trick is the sixth in U.S. Men's National Team history, and the first since Joe-Max Moore scored four goals in a 7-0 win over El Salvador on Dec. 5, 1993. Heading into today's match, the U.S. was 12-1-1 in games in which McBride scored at least one goal. Amazingly, McBride also saw three goals disallowed due to offsides calls.

"We obviously started the game in strong fashion today in getting an early goal, and the second one following shortly after made our task a lot easier today," said U.S. head coach Bruce Arena. "As the game went on, it was a matter of survival with the elements, the field conditions, and having to deal with some pretty bad fouls.  Now our challenge is to get our team ready for Wednesday."

The U.S. came out flying from the opening whistle, looking to use its size and speed advantage to apply heavy pressure and create chances from the flanks. The chances came almost straight away, both Carlos Bocanegra and Eddie Lewis finding space on the left side to deliver dangerous crosses.  El Salvador's only real chance of the match came in the fifth minute, Ronald Cerritos attempting a 25-yard shot from the near right touchline which nearly caught U.S. goalkeeper Kasey Keller by surprise. From then on, the match clearly fell into U.S. hands.

McBride would open the scoring account in the ninth minute with a play that began with Chris Armas quickly changing the point of attack, finding Frankie Hejduk with space on the right flank.  Hejduk whipped a cross to the near post which skipped off the head of Salvadorean defender Guillermo Garcia to the back post, where McBride stood unmarked.  He headed back across the goal, the ball settling in the far right corner. 

The Columbus Crew forward would double the lead just two minutes later.  The attack once again began at the feet of Armas, who found time and space right at the midfield line. He sent a beautifully-weighted ball behind the defense, where Cobi Jones had cleverly timed his run to beat the offside trap. Jones eluded Santos Rivera, who had charged off his line, and unselfishly laid a square ball across to McBride.  The heavy lifting done, McBride tapped home for his second of the match.

The half continued with the U.S. applying constant pressure in the midfield while the backline remained resolute.  The Salvadoreans were rarely able to gain possession in the final third of the field, constantly surrounded by a host of U.S. defenders.  At the other end, the active runs of both McBride and Ante Razov allowed the U.S. to play quick combinations through the center of the park and repeatedly expose the Salvadorean defense on the flanks.

McBride completed his hat trick in the 21st minute on another beautifully orchestrated attack.  Ante Razov received a ball in midfield and sprung Eddie Lewis down the left side.  Lewis advanced to the baseline and slotted a low cross to Landon Donovan in the goalmouth. Donovan quickly played a short square ball onto an unchecked McBride, who made no mistake and increased the U.S. lead to 3-0.  McBride's last multiple goal performance came against El Salvador in the final match of qualifying for World Cup '98, a 4-2 win Nov. 16, 1997 at Foxboro Stadium.

"It feels really good. I think our runs in the box today were excellent," said McBride. "Ante [Razov] made a lot of runs that freed up space for me.  It just so happened that I was in the right place today.  It feels really good to score in the run of play, and more so it's great for us to get a few goals and keep our momentum going."

The U.S. had their way for the remainder of the opening stanza, unlucky not to have increased their lead after a few more opportunities went unfinished. 

DaMarcus Beasley replaced Carlos Bocanegra to open the second half, Eddie Lewis dropping to the left back spot. Despite heavier rainfall which made playing conditions increasingly difficult, the U.S. attack picked up right where it left off, forcing turnovers and creating several quality scoring opportunities.  As in the first half, any attempts at attack by the Salvadoreans fell apart in the defensive third where the U.S. defense left no breathing room.

A pair of U.S. internationals would make their return to U.S. fold in the second half.  Brian Maisonneuve entered in the 61st minute, making his first appearance for the senior team since the 1998 World Cup. Two minutes later, forward Clint Mathis stepped on the field for the first time in over seven months, returning from an torn ACL in his right knee suffered June 5th of last year. While lacking match fitness, Mathis showed flashes of the ingenuity that contributed to the USA's successful run in 2002 World Cup qualifying play.

El Salvador were reduced to ten men in the 64th minute when defender Marvin Benitez fouled Eddie Lewis from behind, earning his second caution of the match.

Ante Razov capped off a solid performance with the USA's final goal in the 72nd minute.  Chicago Fire teammate DaMarcus Beasley took an early pass near just past the midfield stripe and blazed down the left flank.  Losing his marker, Beasley's square ball across the box missed Clint Mathis, who had made a near-post run, but crossed the path of Razov who had charged the center of the goal.  Razov slotted just inside the right post, giving the U.S. it's first four goal victory since defeating Barbados 4-0 on Nov. 17, 2000.  Razov limped off the field injured in the 82nd minute, forcing the USA to play the final eight minutes with ten men.

The USA advances to the semifinal round to meet Canada this Wednesday at the Rose Bowl.  The U.S. is 9-8-7 in 24 all-time matches against Canada, but surprisingly the two teams have not met since back-to-back 3-0 victories for the U.S. in 1998 World Cup qualifying (on Nov. 9, 1997 in Vancouver and March 16, 1997 in Palo Alto, Calif.).  The U.S. has not lost to Canada in eight straight matches, dating all the way back to a 2-0 defeat on April 2, 1985, in Vancouver.  Overall, the U.S. is 3-1 in their four Gold Cup semifinal appearances, which includes their historic 1-0 victory over Brazil back in 1998.

— U.S. Men's National Team Game Report —

Participants: U.S. Men's National Team vs. El Salvador
Competition: FC Gold Cup 2002 - Quarterfinals
Venue: The Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.)
Date: January 27, 2002 - 3:00 p.m. PT kick-off
Attendance: 31,628
Weather: 57 degrees; cool, rainy

Scoring Summary: 1 - 2 - F
USA             3 - 1 - 4
El Salvador  0 - 0 - 0

USA - Brian McBride (unassisted), 9.
USA - Brian McBride (Cobi Jones), 11.    
USA - Brian McBride (Landon Donovan), 21.    
USA - Ante Razov (DaMarcus Beasley), 72.

18-Kasey Keller; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 25-Pablo Mastroeni, 12-Jeff Agoos - capt., 17-Carlos Bocanegra (4-DaMarcus Beasley, 46); 13-Cobi Jones, 14-Chris Armas, 7-Eddie Lewis, 21-Landon Donovan (10-Brian Maisonnueve, 61); 20-Brian McBride (5-Clint Mathis, 63), 11-Ante Razov.
Subs not used: 1-Tony Meola, 8-Richie Williams, 15-Josh Wolff, 26-Danny Califf.

SLV: 1-Santos Rivera; 4-Marvin Benitez, 5-Victor Velasquez, 6-Jamie Bladimir Cubias (13-Deris Ariel Umanzor, 46), 8-Santos Cabrera - capt. (14-Rudy Corrales, 46), 11-Ronald Cerritos, 16-Adonay Martinez (2-William Osorio, 80), 17-Jorge Rodriguez, 18-Oscar Navarro, 19-Elmer Martinez, 20-Guillermo Garcia.
Subs not used: 7-Hector Aaron Canjura, 9-Josue Galdamez, 12-Cristian Alvarez, 22-Juan Jose Gomez.

Statistical Summary: USA - SLV
 19 - 5      
Saves: 2 - 3
Corner Kicks: 8 - 4      
Fouls: 21 - 11     
Offside: 3 - 2      

Misconduct Summary:
  Jamie Bladimir Cubias (caution), 16.
SLV - Jorge Rodriguez (caution), 18.
SLV - Elmer Martinez (caution), 31.
SLV - Santos Cabrera (caution), 32.
SLV - Marvin Benitez (caution), 40.
USA - Ante Razov (caution), 40.
SLV - Marvin Benitez (ejection), 64.
SLV - Oscar Navarro (caution), 78.
USA - Kasey Keller (caution), 85.

Referee: Samuel Richard (DOM)
Assistant Referee: Hector Vergara (CAN)
Assistant Referee: Michael Ragoonath (TRI)
4th Official: Noel Bynoe (TRI)

Chevrolet Man of the Match: Brian McBride