USA Earns 1-1 Draw with Ireland in Foxboro Downpour
FOXBORO, Mass. (Tuesday, June 7, 2000) - In near-unplayable conditions, including non-stop rain, gusts of wind and an 18-minute power outage delay, the U.S. Men's National Team continued on their road to the Nike U.S. Cup 2000 title by earning a 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland tonight in front of a parka-packing crowd of 16,319 at Foxboro Stadium. After being down 1-0 at halftime, forward Ante Razov scored his first international goal to equalize in the 68th minute just three minutes before the regional brown-out.
The United States will next move on to East Rutherford, New Jersey, where the club will meet arch-rival Mexico in the first game of the tournament-ending doubleheader at Giants Stadium. That match, which will be seen live on ABC at 1 p.m., will precede the final game of the 2000 Nike U.S. Cup between Ireland and South Africa.
The USA started the match as the aggressors, creating three good scoring chances in the first twenty minutes of action. Midfielder Ben Olsen found himself with room to maneuver on the left flank and put two shots just off the mark in the opening fifteen minutes. Minutes later Razov left a ball for Jovan Kirovski at the top of the 18-yard box, but the midfielder's blast sailed high.
The conditions on the field provided an extreme obstacle to both teams at game time, as strong wind gusts and torrents of rain hampered goal kicks and other long blasts down the field. Attacking play was largely reduced to short passes on the ground as any ball in the air was nearly impossible to control.
Ireland dented the back of the net first on Dominic Foley's second goal of the tournament. With his back to the goal, Stephen McPhail collected a loose ball in the 31st minute and flicked it over his head and into the penalty area to Foley, who had slipped past defender C.J. Brown. Foley charged forward and knocked a bouncing shot past sprawling American goalkeeper Brad Friedel and into the right side of the net.
The U.S. struck back on a controversial goal in the 68th minute. A string of short passes found the ball at the top of the 18-yard box, where Earnie Stewart popped a ball over the Irish defense to Razov. Razov trapped the ball and knocked it past Irish goalkeeper Alan Kelly and inside the right post as the Ireland team appealed for an offside call that never came.
The United States had appeared to take control of the run of play and seemed on the way towards the go-ahead goal when the stadium lights suddenly flashed off in the 72nd minute, causing the delay. Both teams made several substitutes after the restart, but neither team was able to generate any more quality scoring chances.
Chevrolet "Man of the Match" Gregg Berhalter led a United States defensive unit that held off the Irish attack in the second half, despite playing with the strong wind in their faces.
The Nike U.S. Cup will continue Wednesday night at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, where Mexico and South Africa will square off in the second game of a doubleheader that also features the Dallas Burn and Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer. Los Angeles Galaxy forward Luis Hernandez arrived in Dallas on Tuesday and is expected to be in the starting lineup for Mexico.
With a second-half appearance, U.S. leading scorer Cobi Jones tied former U.S. "Ironman" defender Marcelo Balboa on the all-time cap list at 127. Jones is one of only six U.S. players to reach the 100-cap plateau, followed by Paul Caligiuri (110), Eric Wynalda (106) and the most recent addition, Jeff Agoos (100), who earned his milestone cap in the opening game of the tournament against South Africa on Saturday.
2000 U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||U.S. Men's National Team vs. Ireland National Team|
|Competition:||Nike U.S. Cup 2000|
|Venue:||Foxboro Stadium (Foxboro, Mass.)|
|Date:||June 6, 2000 - Kickoff 8 p.m. ET|
|Attendance:||16,319 (24,202 paid)|
|Weather:||45 degrees - Heavy Rain, Winds at 35 MPH|
IRL - Dominic Foley, (Stephen McPhail), 31,
USA - Ante Razov, (Earnie Stewart), 68.
USA - 1-Brad Friedel; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 4-C.J. Brown, 3-Gregg Berhalter, 22-Greg Vanney; 21-Steve Ralston (8-Earnie Stewart, 46), 5-John O'Brien (10-Claudio Reyna, 60), 11-Jovan Kirovski, 19-Ben Olsen (17-Tony Sanneh, 75); 9-Jason Kreis (13-Cobi Jones, 65), 15-Ante Razov (20-Brian McBride, 88).
IRL - 1-Alan Kelly; 2-Stephen Carr, 5-Gary Breen, 4-Phill Babb, 3-Terry Phelan; 12-Stephen McPhail (7-Jason McAteer, 37), 8-Matt Holland, 15-Gareth Farrelly (11-Mark Kennedy, 72) , 6-Kevin Kilbane; 19-Gary Doherty (9-Niall Quinn, 72), 14-Dominic Foley (18-Barry Quinn, 88).