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U.S. and Ecuador Battle to Spirited 0-0 Draw In Columbus


COLUMBUS, Ohio (Thursday, June 7, 2001) - The U.S. Men's National Team battled a strong Ecuador team to a spirited 0-0 draw at Columbus Crew Stadium this evening in the team's last preparation match prior to a span of three World Cup qualifying games in a 15-day period at the end of June and beginning of July.

Against Ecuador, the U.S. fielded a roster made up predominantly of foreign-based U.S. stars, including forwards Jovan Kirovski and Joe-Max Moore who were making their first and second U.S. appearances of the year, respectively. The line-up also featured four players earning their first caps for the U.S., including European-based midfielders Joe Enochs (VfL Osnabruck - Germany) and John Thorrington (Huddersfield Town - England), as well as MLS standouts Pablo Mastroeni (Miami Fusion) and starter Mike Petke of the MetroStars.

"It was good to see some of the new young faces and to get a cap for guys like Petke and Mastroeni, who I thought played well. Thorrington and Enochs made it four newcomers out there, so that was good to see," said U.S. head coach Bruce Arena. "What we were really pleased with was that we got Moore, O'Brien, Kirovski and our European players some fitness before the match next weekend."

Kirovski, the Chevrolet Man of the Match, looked exceedingly dangerous up front for the United States, unleashing a game-high six shots, including four in the first half. His Ecuadorian counterpart, Agustin Delgado (who scored the 90th minute game-winner for Ecuador in their World Cup qualifying win over Peru last Saturday) was also an offensive threat, leading Ecuador with five shots and earning a number of breakaways as the South American visitors consistently attacked through the middle of the pitch. Ecuador started eight of 11 players who participated in last week's qualifier in Peru.

Employing a 3-5-2 line-up which included Tony Sanneh and John O'Brien playing in the defensive midfield and Steve Cherundolo on the right flank, the U.S. created a number of opportunities in the first half including a 10-yard attempt from Kirovski in the 20th minute which challenged Ecuador goalkeeper Geovanny Ibarra to tip the ball over the crossbar.

"A lot of us hadn't played in a lot of weeks (since the end of the European season), and we had some young players getting their first caps tonight, so there were a lot of positives in putting together such a strong effort against a side like Ecuador," said U.S. goalkeeper and Ohio native Brad Friedel, one of nine foreign-based players in the U.S. starting lineup.

The match marked the third consecutive shutout for the U.S. Men at Columbus Crew Stadium, where they first battled Costa Rica to a scoreless World Cup qualifying draw last October and then defeated Mexico 2-0 earlier this year to begin their current 3-0 run in the final round of qualifying. The U.S. currently leads their six-team, 10-game World Cup final round qualifying group by five points over Costa Rica, Mexico and Jamaica.

Bruce Arena's squad will reconvene on Monday in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., to begin a final week of preparation before two important World Cup qualifiers across five days, beginning with a Jamaican showdown in Kingston next Saturday live on ABC at 2 p.m. ET. Following that match, the U.S. will return home to Foxboro, Mass., for a meeting with Trinidad and Tobago at Foxboro Stadium on June 20 (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2).

NOTES: The fans and players in attendance observed a moment of silence just before kickoff in honor of former U.S. Soccer President Werner Fricker, who passed away after a brief illness on May 30, 2001 ... The U.S. is still winless against Ecuador, now owning a 0-4-4 record in eight matches against the South American squad ... The USA's overall record in 2001 is 4-2-1 after the team's first draw of the year ... The U.S. is undefeated in three matches at Crew Stadium (1-0-2).

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

Participants:U.S. Men's National Team vs. Ecuador
Competition:International Friendly
Venue:Columbus Crew Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
Date:June 7, 2001 - Kickoff 8 p.m. ET
Attendance:12,572
Weather:71 degrees (Clear)

Scoring Summary:1st2ndFinal
United States
000
Ecuador
000

Lineups:
USA - 1-Brad Friedel; 12-Mike Petke, 4-Robin Fraser, 3-Gregg Berhalter (5-Pablo Mastroeni, 46); 2-Steve Cherundolo (13-John Thorrington, 71), 17 John O'Brien, 22-Tony Sanneh (8-Joe Enochs, 62; 21-Richie Williams, 91+), 7-Eddie Lewis; 10-Claudio Reyna; 19-Jovan Kirovski, 9-Joe-Max Moore.

ECU - 12-Geovanny Ibarra; 4-Ulises de la Cruz, 3-Ivan Hurtado, 17-Geovanny Espinosa; 6-Raul Guerron; 16-Kleber Chala, 19-Edison Mendez, 20-Edwin Tenorio, 5-Wellington Sanchez (Walter Ayovi, 63); 7-Juan Francisco Aguinaga, 11-Agustin Delgado.

Statistical Summary:USAECU
Shots . . . . . . . . . .
1411
Saves . . . . . . . . . .
13
Corner Kicks . . . . .
74
Fouls . . . . . . . . . .
1418
Offside . . . . . . . . .
57

Misconduct Summary:
USA - Sanneh (caution) 54th minute.
ECU - Tenorio (caution) 64.
USA - Kirovski (caution) 83.
USA - Guerron (caution) 84.

Referee: Jose Farias (Canada)
Assistant Referee: Eric Roy (Canada)
Assistant Referee: Neil Schofield (Canada)
4th Official: Kevin Terry (United States)

Cheverolet Man of the Match: Jovan Kirovski


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