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Convey's First International Goal Pushes U.S. Past Costa Rica


- Bobby Convey’s first career international goal pushes U.S. into third place
- Potential playoff still remains if Brazil defeats Mexico in tomorrow’s final
- USA finishes 2003 with 10-4-2 record, posting nine shutouts

MIAMI, Fla. (July 27, 2003) — Second half goals by Bobby Convey and Earnie Stewart erased a 2-1 deficit and gave the United States a 3-2 victory against Costa Rica and third place in the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup in the Orange Bowl on Saturday night. The United States still has a chance to earn the regional championship. A loss by Mexico to Brazil in tomorrow night’s final would set up a playoff at a date and venue to be determined.

“I would like to applaud our team. We were a different team in the second half,” said U.S. manager Bruce Arena. “They responded quite well and beat a very good team. I have to applaud our opponent. Steve Sampson and his Costa Rica team did a fantastic job, having to travel from Mexico City. It turned out to be a great game.” 

The U.S. struggled to find its form in the first half, unable to find a rhythm in the passing game and falling behind 2-1 on defensive miscues and some unlucky bounces.

Despite the uneven effort, the USA’s best chances came off of early crosses from the flanks. Stewart had the first of several chances in the match in the ninth minute. He beat the goalkeeper to a ball at the top of the six-yard box and turned to fire a shot that was blocked by a defender.

In the 14th minute, the U.S. nearly gave up an early goal on an ill-conceived back pass by Carlos Bocanegra into the box. Forward Steven Bryce beat goalkeeper Kasey Keller to the ball, and only a sliding save from defender Danny Califf prevented the U.S. from going down an early goal.

Rolando Fonseca opened the scoring in the 24th minute to give Costa Rica a 1-0 lead. From outside the area, Walter Centeno played a hard pass into Steven Bryce, who played a well-timed dummy. Fonseca was able to make a fortuitous touch past Bocanegra and fired low shot past Kasey Keller into the right corner of the net.

The U.S. got an equalizer just five minutes later. A Costa Rica clearance of a U.S. corner went back to Greg Vanney, who played a looping ball past the far post to Chevrolet Man of the Match Donovan. Donovan, who beat the offside trap along with Bocanegra, deftly played a one-time backpass to Bocanegra at the top of the six-yard box. Bocanegra redirected a left-footed shot the far post, netting his fourth career international goal. With that tally, he became only the fourth U.S. defender to score four goals in one year. The last time a defender scored four goals in a year for the U.S. was Alexi Lalas in 1994. The other two defenders to do so are Marcelo Balboa and Thomas Dooley.

In the 39th minute, Costa Rica regained the lead. Bryce outpaced DaMarcus Beasley down the right side of the box and sent a low cross across the goalmouth. Keller was able to get a hand on the ball, but the rebound fell to Fonseca, who quickly turned and shot past a sliding Frankie Hejduk.

The U.S. came out energized in the second half, applying heavy pressure on the Costa Rican defense and pinning them in their own end for long stretches.  The effort paid off in the 56th minute, as veteran forward Earnie Stewart would equalize.

A long, looping cross from Vanney found Stewart unmarked on the back post 12 yards from goal.  With time to set up, Stewart unleashed a wicked volley to the upper left corner. The goal was Stewart’s second in 2003, and his 17th career international goal.

The heavy U.S. pressure continued, and a quick counter-attack would give the U.S. the lead in the 67th minute. After a free-kick by Walter Centeno was collected by Keller, he quickly found Landon Donovan on a breakout. Donovan turned defender Mauricio Wright before slotting a ball to Convey – who was making a run all the way from the U.S. penalty area – slicing behind the Costa Rican defense.  Just one step inside the area, Convey tucked a curling, left-footed strike just inside the near post for his first career international goal.

This was the first time in 2003 that the U.S. has conceded two goals in consecutive matches. The last time he team had given up multiple goals in back-to-back games was May 19 and July 5 of 2002 vs. Holland and Portugal, respectively. The U.S. finishes its 2003 campaign with a 10-4-2 record, including nine shutouts.

- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report -

Match-up: USA vs. Costa Rica
Date:  July 26, 2003
Competition: CONCACAF Gold Cup Third Place Match
Venue: The Orange Bowl – Miami, Fla.
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Weather: 78 degrees, mild

Scoring Summary: 1   2   F
USA                     1 2 0
Costa Rica  2 0 0

Scoring:
CRC - Rolando Fonseca    24th minute
USA - Carlos Bocanegra (Landon Donovan) 29’
CRC - Rolando Fonseca (Steven Bryce)  39’
USA - Earnie Stewart (Greg Vanney)  56’
USA -  Bobby Convey (Landon Donovan)  67’

Lineups:
USA (4-4-2): 18-Kasey Keller (capt.); 2-Frankie Hejduk, 12-Danny Califf, 4-Carlos Bocanegra, 3-Greg Vanney; 13-Richard Mulrooney, 15-Bobby Convey (25-Pablo Mastroeni, 87’), 19-Steve Ralston (11-Clint Mathis, 70’), 17-DaMarcus Beasley (7-Eddie Lewis, 78’); 8-Earnie Stewart, 21-Landon Donovan
Subs not used: 24-Adin Brown, 10-Claudio Reyna,

CRC (3-5-2): 1-Alvaro Mesen; 3-Luis Marin (capt.), 19-Mauricio Wright, 20-Pablo Chinchilla; 4-Alexander Castro (16-Trey Bennett, 35’), 8-Mauricio Solis, 10-Walter Centeno, 17-Steven Bryce, 12-Leonardo Gonzalez (21-Winston Parks, 74’); 6-Wilmar Lopez (14-Erick Scott, 60’), 7-Rolando Fonseca
Subs not used: 23-Ricardo Gonzalez, 13-Daniel Vallejos, 22-Carlos Castro

Misconduct Summary:
CRC – Mauricio Wright (caution)  62nd minute
USA – Bobby Convey (caution)  70’
CRC – Winston Parks (caution)  76’
CRC – Luis Marin (caution)  77’

Officials:
Referee: Mr. Richard Piper (TRI)
Senior Assistant Referee: Mr. Anthony Garwood (JAM)
Junior Assistant Referee: Mr. Paul Messam (BAH)
Fourth Official: Mr. Carlos Batres (GUA)

Chevrolet Man of the Match: Landon Donovan

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