ROSTOCK, Germany (Wednesday, March 27, 2002) - The U.S. Men's National Team struck first, but they were eventually overpowered in the second half and fell to Germany 4-2 today at Osteestadion in remote Rostock, Germany. After defeating Germany in the last two meetings by a combined score of 5-0, this loss drops the USA’s record to 2-4-0 all-time against the three-time World Cup champions and gives the U.S. a 6-2-1 record for 2002.
"I thought the key to the game was their physical strength,” said U.S. MNT head coach Bruce Arena, who lost for just the second time in 33 internationals in which his team scored first, the other being a 3-2 loss to Honduras on September 1, 2001, at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The U.S. is 28-2-3 under Arena when scoring first. “We could have defended better and at times shown more commitment. They won a lot of the battles, and in the end they were the better team."
U.S. forward Clint Mathis scored both goals for the U.S, giving him at least one point in each of his last six starts for the United States, dating back to March of 2001. The MetroStars forward has recorded six goals and two assists during the streak, including another pair against Honduras on March 2 in Seattle. (Mathis missed seven months of action in 2001 while recovering from a torn ACL.) Mathis' two goal performance also marks the first time since Joe-Max Moore in 1993 that any U.S. player has tallied two multiple-goal games in a calendar year.
The U.S. got on the board first on a counterattack goal in the 17th minute. Forward Jovan Kirovski found fellow running mate Mathis, who fired a shot that beat German goalkeeper Frank Rost but struck the inside of the far post. The ball then fell in the
six-yard box, where Mathis was there to finish his own rebound cleanly into an empty net.
Germany evened the score at 1-1 just before halftime when captain Christian Ziege hit a well-placed free kick from 30 yards out that dipped just inside the right post and past a diving Kasey Keller.
“I've seen Ziege do this in training all the time," said Keller, about his Tottenham Hotspur teammate. "You can't cheat against him. If you move a second early, he nails you to the other post. You basically have to give him the upper corner. And if he hits it, you shake his hand."
Germany picked up where it left off in the second half, attacking in waves and pouring in three goals over an eight-minute period. The barrage started in the 61st minute off a corner from Bernd Schneider, with forward Oliver Nueville poking the ball into the U.S. goal after a scramble in the penalty box to give Germany a 2-1 lead.
Schneider had a hand in Germany’s third and fourth goals as well. In the 65th minute, he sent a cross from the right side that expertly found veteran forward Oliver Bierhoff, who rifled a shot home from 10 yards out. Another giveaway from the U.S. defense let Schneider carry the ball own the right side, where he played a ball to Bierhoff, who then hit midfielder Torsten Frings, who scored from eight yards out past a helpless Keller.
Mathis cut the U.S. deficit to two goals in the 71st minute on another counter-attack out of the German midfield. Forward Joe-Max Moore, who came on as a substitute for Jovan Kirovski in the 59th minute, waited for Mathis to make a run, and sent a pass with the outside of his right foot to the red-hot striker, who collected in-stride just outside the right post and fired a low shot to the left corner of the goal, beating Butt at the far post.
The U.S. will continue its string of matches against teams that have qualified for the 2002 World Cup with a friendly against border rival Mexico on April 3 at Invesco Field in Denver. Over 25,000 tickets have been sold for the friendly, which kicks off at 8 p.m. MT and will be broadcast live on Telemundo and the Futbol de Primera radio network. For tickets, call TicketMaster at 303-830-TIXS.
— U.S. Men's National Team Game Report —
Participants: United States vs. Germany
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Osteestadion (Rostock, Germany)
Date: March 27, 2002 — kickoff 8:45 p.m. (2:45 p.m. ET)
Weather: 40 degrees; clear, cool
Scoring Summary: 1 - 2 - F
USA 1 - 1 - 2
Germany 1 - 3 - 4
USA — Clint Mathis (Jovan Kirovski), 17.
GER — Christian Ziege (unassisted), 44.
GER — Oliver Neuville (unassisted), 61.
GER — Oliver Bierhoff (Bernd Schneider), 65.
GER — Torsten Frings (Oliver Bierhoff), 68.
USA — Clint Mathis (Joe-Max Moore), 71.
USA — 18-Kasey Keller; 2-Steve Cherundolo (22-Tony Sanneh, 72), 12-Jeff Agoos (3-Gregg Berhalter, 72), 23-Eddie Pope, 6-David Regis; 14-Chris Armas, 7-Eddie Lewis (13-Cobi Jones, 69), 8- Earnie Stewart (Capt.), 21-Landon Donovan; 11-Clint Mathis, 19-Jovan Kirovski (9-Joe-Max Moore, 59).
Subs not used: 1-Tony Meola, 4-Frankie Hejduk.
GER — 1-Frank Rost (12-Hans Jorg Butt, 46); 2-Frank Baumann, 4-Thomas Linke, 5-Carsten Ramelow; 6-Jens Jeremies (15-Joerg Heinrich, 69), 7-Torsten Frings, 8-Dietmar Hamman, 10-Bernd Schneider (14-Gerald Asamoah, 75), 3-Christian Ziege (Capt.; 16-Joerg Boehme, 61); 9-Oliver Bierhoff, 11-Oliver Neuville (18-Thomas Brdaric, 80).
Subs not used: 13-Michael Ballack, 17-Ingo Hertzch.
Statistical Summary: USA - GER
Shots 9 - 18
Saves 7 - 0
Corner Kicks 4 - 8
Fouls 10 - 12
Offside 2 - 3
Referee: Berhard Brutger (Austria)
Referee Assistant #1: Johann Hechtl (Austria)
Referee Assistant #2: Norbert Schwab (Austria)
4th Official: Peter Gagelmann (Germany)