U.S. MEN REMAIN UNDEFEATED ALL-TIME AGAINST JAMAICA WITH AUTHORITATIVE 3-1 VICTORY IN GOLD CUP QUARTERFINALS
• Beasley Notches Two Goals and Assist in Dominating Win
• U.S. Improves All-time Record Against Jamaica to 9-0-7
• USA-Honduras Will Meet in Tournament Semifinals on Thursday in New Jersey
FOXBORO, Mass. (July 16, 2005) — The U.S. Men’s National Team dominated Jamaica from the opening whistle this afternoon to advance to the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals with a 3-1 victory at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. DaMarcus Beasley notched two goals and an assist to pave the way to victory in front of 22,108 fans. The U.S. will now face Honduras in the tournament semifinals on Thursday (July 21) at 6 p.m. ET live on Telefutura from Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (Check out the Gold Cup competition section here.)
“I think we played well today,” said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena, now 61-25-23 all-time in seven years at the helm of the United States. “It was our best game of the tournament. We were able to get a little closer to having our starting group in there and I think they did well. They were technically good passing the ball, (and we had) good quickness. If we’re to be faulted for anything, I think we were pretty sloppy in dealing with the game when it was 2-0 at halftime. However, at the end of the day, 3-1 is a good result and we look forward to playing Honduras in New Jersey.”
U.S. forward Josh Wolff started off the scoring for the U.S. with a redirected flick past Jamaican goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts in the sixth minute. It was Beasley who pounced on a ball from John O’Brien and fired a dangerous shot on goal that Wolff was able to misdirect into the net with his back to the goal. The original goal-scoring attack began with a pre-planned short corner between Donovan and Beasley, a tactic that would be utilized all day by the USA.
The opening assist from Beasley moved him into the tournament lead with four in four games and marked the beginning of an active game for the U.S. midfielder who was playing up top against Jamaica alongside Wolff and Steve Ralston.
“It turned out exactly like we wanted,” said Beasley. “We knew that they get disorganized in the back. And we wanted to utilize Steve Ralston and myself on the flanks. We had a lot of space and when we attacked down the flanks the middle opened up. Our game plan worked perfectly.”
A minute after the first goal, the USA’s early cushion almost disappeared. With Ricardo Fuller gaining possession near the endline, he was able to cut back toward the six-yard box, bump into Greg Vanney and earn a penalty call from referee Carlos Batres of Guatemala. On the ensuing attempt, U.S. goalkeeper Kasey Keller once again provided the heroics, leaping to his left to deny the low drive from Andy Williams.
The game quickly came to life after that, with both teams aggressively pursuing the attack. The USA’s front seven seemed particularly in sync, weaving through an often-packed Jamaican defense with fluid combinations on both flanks. On the defensive end, the U.S. backline were cohesive throughout the half, displaying tight marking and excellent timing on tackles, consistently thwarting the efforts of Ricardo Fuller and Luton Shelton.
During the half, Jamaica picked up a succession of yellow cards, with Jermaine Hue being booked for obstructing the run of Ralston on a one-two combination in the 20th minute. Then just a minute later, Steve Cherundolo was the victim of a brutal studs-up challenge by Damion Stewart that easily could have warranted a red card. Forced to leave the game with a possible knee sprain, Cherundolo was added to an already-crowded injury list on the U.S. backline (which includes Eddie Pope and Tony Sanneh, as well as midfielder Brad Davis).
The U.S. kept knocking on the door during the strong first half, and their efforts paid off just before the 45-minute mark when the U.S. doubled their lead. A nifty combination with Ben Olsen, Ralston and Donovan concluded with Donovan bearing towards goal. He slid a masterful pass to the onrushing Beasley, whose perfectly-timed delayed run outpaced his marker and allowed him to easily fire past a naked Ricketts. The goal moved Beasley into double digits in career strikes for the U.S., and he ended the day with 11 total goals in 49 career international caps. The diminutive midfielder also has three goals and four assists for the U.S. in eight games in 2005.
The U.S. remained aggressive from the opening whistle of the second half, with Wolff nearly grabbing his second of the game in the 49th minute. After a sharp chip from the right flank from Olsen, Donovan skillfully played a ball to Beasley with the outside of his right foot. Beasley sent a skimmer across the goalmouth just out of the reach of Wolff for what would have been an easy tap in.
Jamaica’s chances improved markedly in the 58th minute, as Ben Olsen was forced to pull down Andy Williams at the top of the box, who was otherwise alone against Keller. Khari Stephenson took the resulting free kick, curling a shot past the wall and a diving Keller, only to hang his head after the ball clanged off the right post.
The Reggae Boyz quickly turned up the heat, finding space down both flanks in which to serve crosses and take on defenders. Andy Williams took advantage down the right side in the 63rd minute, getting in behind DaMarcus Beasley, only to pull his shot from 12 yards past the far post.
In the 66th minute, Keller made an amazing snare of an attempted cross from Shelton, diving quickly to his right to get down low and confidently possess the ball despite the proximity of the Jamaican forwards attempt from just six yards away. Shelton was able to cut around Onyewu at the endline, with the big U.S. defender wisely avoiding any contact on a play that would have surely ended in a penalty for Jamaica had there been any.
On Keller’s immediate outlet, the game changed again with Jamaica’s Jermaine Taylor being sent off for a reckless tackle on Beasley right in front of the fourth official’s table.
With the team’s even again, the pace of the game slowed considerably in the final quarter hour, as both sides felt the effects of the summer heat. But the U.S. clearly had some energy in reserve, and could have been up three goals with 15 minutes to play. A steal in the midfield sprung a three-on-two break, with Donovan leading the charge down the left side. Entering the area, he spied Ralston on a trailing run, bouncing a pass to the center of the box. With a clear look at goal, Ralston slammed a volley inches above the crossbar.
Another strong attempt from the U.S. would end in the third goal, this time Donovan breaking into the area by himself, rounding Ricketts, but wisely pulling the ball back and waiting for his teammates to rejoin him after he was unable to get off a quick shot. When the U.S. attack resumed, Chris Armas was able to battle into the left side of the area with the ball and played a perfect square pass to Beasley. Beasley tried to control the ball with his first touch, but it nicked off the foot of Ricketts and nestled onto the grass where an easy left-footed finish awaited for his second goal of the match.
Ricardo Fuller finally got the high-scoring Jamaicans on the board in the 88th minute with an unchallenged finish in the area that left Keller with nary a chance to preserve his third shutout of the 2005 Gold Cup.
A fourth U.S. goal in the 93rd minute seemed like a lock after John O’Brien earned a penalty kick for the United States with a strong dribbling run into the area that resulted in a foul from Garfield Reid. However, Donovan’s late attempt beat Ricketts, but couldn’t beat the crossbar as it whistled just a little high and out of play.
“It was crazy we didn’t score more goals,” added Beasley. “We could have had four or five, six maybe. We had a lot of chances, but at the same time, we are starting to get more creative options. Hopefully we can keep moving in the right direction of creating chances and scoring goals.”
The USA is now 9-0-7 lifetime against Jamaica, amazingly having never lost in 16 career meetings dating back to 1988. Of those 16 matches, 10 have come in either Gold Cup or World Cup qualifying play.
The U.S. will relocate to New Jersey on Monday for the tournament semifinals against Honduras on Thursday. The other semifinal match-up will be finalized on Sunday when Mexico faces Colombia and Panama takes on South Africa.
-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report –
Match-up: USA vs. Jamaica
Date: July 16, 2005
Competition: CONCACAF Gold Cup - Quarterfinal
Venue: Gillette Stadium – Foxboro, Mass.
Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET
Weather: 84, hot and muggy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 1 3
Jamaica 0 1 1
USA – Josh Wolff (DaMarcus Beasley) 6th minute.
USA – DaMarcus Beasley (Landon Donovan) 42.
USA – DaMarcus Beasley (Chris Armas) 83
JAM – Ricardo Fuller (unassisted) 88.
USA: 18-Kasey Keller (capt.); 12-Jimmy Conrad, 4-Oguchi Onyewu, 3-Greg Vanney; 6-Steve Cherundolo (15-Ben Olsen, 25), 25-Pablo Mastroeni, 5-John O’Brien, 10-Landon Donovan; 19-Steve Ralston (9-Santino Quaranta, 84), 16-Josh Wolff (14-Chris Armas, 80), 7-DaMarcus Beasley
Subs not used: 1-Marcus Hahnemann, 8-Clint Dempsey, 13-Pat Noonan, 22-Tony Sanneh
Head Coach: Bruce Arena
JAM: 30-Donovan Ricketts; 3-Damion Stewart, 14-Tyrone Marshall, 4-Jermaine Taylor; 5-Tyrone Sawyers (20-Damani Ralph, 60), 18-Khari Stephenson, 6-Robert Scarlett, 9-Andrew Williams (capt.), 17-Jermaine Hue (19-Garfield Reid, 78); 10-Ricardo Fuller, 21-Luton Shelton (12-Jermaine Johnson, 69)
Subs not used:1-Shawn Sawyers, 11-Roland Dean, 22-Nicholy Finlayson, 23-Teaford Bennett
Head Coach: Wendell Downsell
Stats Summary: USA JAM
Shots 16 10
Saves 2 7
Corner Kicks 7 3
Fouls 17 15
Offside 3 5
USA – Greg Vanney (caution) 7th minute
JAM – Jermaine Hue (caution) 20.
JAM – Damion Stewart (caution) 21
USA – Ben Olsen (ejection) 58.
USA – Jermaine Taylor (ejection) 66.
Referee: Carlos Batres (GUA)
1st Asst.: Hector Vergara (CAN)
2nd Asst.: Arturo Velasquez (MEX)
Fourth Official: Jose Pineda (HON)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: DaMarcus Beasley