U.S. Men Come From Behind to Tie Denmark, 1-1
CARSON, Calif. (Sunday, January 18, 2004) - The U.S. Men's National Team played Denmark to a spirited 1-1 draw on Sunday afternoon in the team's first-ever appearance at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Landon Donovan connected on a 76th minute penalty kick to cancel out a first-half penalty for Denmark and see the U.S. off to a good start in their preparation for the beginning of World Cup qualifying in June.
The U.S. dominated most of the action, out-shooting Denmark 16-4 for the game, which included a number of near misses in the second half and a shot by Donovan that caromed off the goal post. Goalkeeper Jonny Walker made two saves in earning the draw in his first-ever international appearance for the U.S.
"The Danish team were well organized and difficult to break down. However, I think during the game we were still able to create half a dozen pretty good chances, so that part I was pleased with," said U.S. MNT manager Bruce Arena. "It was a difficult call on the penalty kick, and our guys did a solid job of hanging in there and putting pressure on them in the second half. It was a good opportunity for us to see some new players as we continue to move forward and try to put together a strong team for qualifying."
Denmark got on the board first in the 28th minute on a well-taken penalty kick from Thomas Roll-Larsson. Denmark earned the penalty kick when Mexican referee Antonio Rodriguez Mendoza whistled Eddie Pope for exchanging arm-length pushes with Danish captain Morten Wieghorst as a Denmark corner kick sailed into the penalty area.
The U.S. could have opened the scoring in the 13th minute, but after Donovan had done well to keep a misplayed clearance alive in the area by beating the 'keeper to the ball, Ante Razov's first-time rebound effort into an empty net skipped just wide of the left post. Razov had another chance in the 20th minute, but a left-foot volley taken off his chest did not find the mark from 10 yards out.
The second half was completely dominated by the U.S., who pressured the Denmark goal on numerous occasions, only to be thwarted by Danish goalkeeper Peter Skov-Jensen. It took a penalty to finally beat Skov-Jensen, with Donovan firing his 15th international goal coolly into the lower-right corner of the goal in the 76th minute. The penalty was earned in a play quite similar to previous call against the U.S., with Chris Albright being fouled in the area by Per Nielsen as a U.S. cross sailed into the area.
Before the U.S. broke through on the goal, the team had a number of close attempts, including two very near misses from Donovan. In the 70th minute, after an Eddie Pope slide tackle thwarted a dangerous attempt from Denmark, Walker immediately distributed the ball upfield to Chevrolet Man of the Match DaMarcus Beasley, who dribbled forward about 50 yards before hitting Donovan on a perfect run behind the defense. With no defenders nearby, Donovan dribbled past the goalkeeper, only to have his deep-angle shot bang off the base of the left goalpost.
Just four minutes later, Donovan was at it again, this time stealing an errant clearance from Skov-Jensen and dribbling around him and another defender before hitting his shot high over the bar from eight yards out. His effort would finally pay off just a few seconds later, though, when the U.S. earned their PK in the 75th minute.
Denmark's only dangerous attempt of the second half came in the 66th minute when a full volley shot from Thomas Roll-Larsson from six yards out was easily snared by Walker.
The U.S. would have one more chance to win the game in the 89th minute when second-half substitute Chris Klein collected a cross from Josh Wolff, taking the ball off his chest and firing a shot from a few yards out that Skov-Jensen authoritatively smothered.
Chicago Fire midfielder Beasley was a danger man for the U.S. throughout the match, hitting a number of services and through balls leading to many U.S. chances. In the 53rd minute, it was Beasley who snuck Donovan through on a shot from eight yards out that was saved, then just one minute later he lifted a cross into the area that Pope headed just wide of the goal.
In addition to the first-ever appearance by Walker, late substitute John Wolyniec also earned his first U.S. cap. Their entrance into the game marked the 50th and 51st players to receive their first caps under Arena.
"A number of players had good performances," added Arena. "Walker, in his first game for us, played well in the back. Eddie Pope was pretty solid. Chris Albright had a good game, as did Convey and Beasley on their side of the field. Landon Donovan had a terrific game, and was a little unlucky to not get a goal in the run of play."
The USA will travel to face fifth-ranked Holland on Feb. 18, 2004, at the Amsterdam ArenA in Amsterdam. Kickoff for the match is set for 8:30 p.m. local time (2:30 ET), and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Fans can also follow the match live online via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The team will debut their new Nike uniforms ahead of World Cup qualfying in the match in Holland.
-- U.S. Men's National Team Game Report --
Match-up: United States Men's National Team vs. Denmark
Date: January 18, 2004
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: The Home Depot Center - Carson, Calif.
Kickoff: 12:30 p.m. PT
Weather: 57 degrees, overcast
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
Denmark 1 0 1
DEN - Thomas Roll-Larsen (penalty kick) 28th minute
USA - Landon Donovan (penalty kick) 76th
USA: 1-Jonny Walker; 5-Chris Albright (2-Frankie Hejduk, 79), 23-Eddie Pope (capt.), 3-Nick Garcia, 15-Bobby Convey; 12-Steve Ralston (17-Chris Klein, 62), 8-Richard Mulrooney (13-Kerry Zavagnin, 71), 13-Chris Armas (11-John Wolyniec, 88), 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 9-Ante Razov (16-Josh Wolff, 62), 10-Landon Donovan
Subs not used: 22-Kevin Hartman, 4-Ritchie Kotschau
DEN: 1-Peter Skov-Jensen; 19-Ulrik Vinzents, 10-Per Nielsen, 2-Martin Albrechtsen (18-Bo Svensson, 58), 14-Asbjorn Sennels; 12-Martin Retov (17-Nicolai Stokholm, 47+), 20-Morten Wieghorst (capt.) (11-David Rasmussen, 74), 5-Morten Bisgaard (9-Jan Kristiansen, 79), 15-Michael Silberbauer (7-Steffen Hojer, 64); 13-Thomas Roll-Larsen, 3-Tommy Bechmann (4-Soren Borg, 58)
Subs not used: 16-Stephan Andersen, 6-Peter Christiansen, 8-Denni Conteh
Stats Summary: USA DEN
Shots 16 4
Saves 2 5
Corner Kicks 5 3
Fouls 13 19
Offsides 1 0
DEN - Martin Albrechtsen (caution) 7th minute
USA - Eddie Pope (caution) 26th
DEN - Tommy Bechmann (caution) 32nd
DEN - Nicolai Stokhom (caution) 46th
DEN - Ulrik Vinzents (caution) 74th
DEN - Per Nielsen (caution) 75th
DEN - Nicolai Stokhom (caution) 84th
DEN - Nicolai Stokhom (ejection) 84th
Referee: Mr. Antonio Rodriguez Mendoza (MEX)
Senior Assistant Referee: Mr. Jose Ramirez Diaz (MEX)
Junior Assistant Referee: Mr. Raul Osorno MEX)
Fourth Official: Mr. Kevin Stott (USA)
Chevrolet Man of the Match: DaMarcus Beasley