Mexico Tops USA, 2-1, to Win NIKE U.S. Cup '99
SAN DIEGO (Saturday, March 13, 1999) - In front of a festive soccer crowd of 50,324 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, the U.S. National Team dropped a 2-1 decision to regional rival Mexico. With the win, Mexico claims the Nike U.S. Cup '99 title, its third consecutive U.S. Cup crown after wins in 1996 and '97. The loss was the USA's first since Bruce Arena, who now holds a 3-1-2 record with the National Team, took over last October.
The match opened at an incredibly fast pace, as both teams looked to establish midfield dominance. The USA had the better of the early play, but Mexican 'keeper Oscar Perez did well to keep the game scoreless; Brian McBride forced Perez into making back-to-back saves in the second minute and Cobi Jones nearly beat the 'keeper on the dribble eleven minutes later. And although the USA outshot Mexico 8-3 in the first half, it was Mexico that took the lead first.
Mexico went ahead 1-0 in the 14th minute after a U.S. own goal. Mexican midfielder Jose Manuel Abundis penetrated deep into the left corner and sent a dangerous, bending cross directly in front of the net. As Fraser and Mexican forward Francisco Palencia converged on Abundis' cross, the ball inadvertently bounced off the U.S. defender and into the net. U.S. 'keeper Tony Meola was hit in the face by Palencia and was forced to leave the match. Meola would need 25 stitches to close the gash in and around his mouth.
After the goal, the U.S. once again had a number of opportunities; Kirovski sailed a shot over the bar on 20 minutes, Fraser had his dangerous header saved in the 36th, and Eddie Lewis also had a shot saved by Perez in the 38th minute.
After the halftime break the U.S. scored the equalizer, with Frankie Hejduk netting his second goal in consecutive matches with the national team. Robin Fraser started the play with his overlapping run on the right side. Fraser's cross from the endline was poorly cleared and Hejduk was well-positioned to hit a first-time shot that beat Perez from eleven yards.
But six minutes later the Mexicans found themselves in the lead again, this time for good. Joel Sanchez, who scored both goals in Mexico's 2-1 victory over Bolivia on Thursday, got off a rocket shot from 12 yards. Thornton did well to make the initial reaction save, but the ball bounded to the feet of a wide-open Abundis, who had an empty net tap in from two yards to close out the scoring. The U.S. nearly equalized again in the 78th minute, but Ben Olsen's spectacular bicycle kick was saved at the far post by Perez. The Mexican netminder made a total of nine saves in the match.
In the second game of today's U.S. Cup doubleheader, Guatemala outlasted Bolivia, 2-1, to finish third overall in the tournament. The Guatemalan goals were scored by Jorge Perez and Edgar Valencia.
The next scheduled competition for the U.S. National Team will be during the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup, which will run from July 23 - Aug. 4 in Mexico. The USA will play in Group B, and face New Zealand (July 24), Brazil (July 28) and Germany (July 30) at the Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara.
|NIKE U.S. CUP '99 Final Results & Standings|
Thursday, March 11
Saturday, March 13
|Participants:||United States National Team vs. Mexico National Team|
|Competition:||Nike U.S. Cup '99|
|Venue:||Qualcomm Stadium (San Diego, Calif.)|
|Date:||March 13, 1999 |
Kickoff: 12:30 PM (PT)
|Weather:||71 degrees - Sunny, clear|
USA - Frankie Hejduk, (unassisted), 51,
MEX - Jose Manuel Abundis, (Joel Sanchez), 57.
USA - Tony Meola - Capt. (Zach Thornton, 17), Jeff Agoos, David Regis, Robin Fraser, Eddie Pope (Ben Olsen, 67), Eddie Lewis (Clint Mathis, 82), Chris Armas, Jovan Kirovski, Frankie Hejduk, Cobi Jones, Brian McBride.
MEX - Oscar Perez, Joel Sanchez, Pavel Pardo, Salvador Carmona (Miguel Zepeda, 46), Joaquin Beltran, Raul Lara, Alberto Garcia Aspe, Rafael Garcia (Ramon Ramirez, 58), Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Luis Hernanadez, 46), Francisco Palencia (Paulo Chavez, 55), Jose Manuel Abundis (Ricardo Pelaez, 76).
MEX - Alberto Garcia Aspe, (caution), 58,
MEX - Luis Hernandez, (caution), 89,
MEX - Raul Lara, (caution), 91+.
|Referee's Assistants:||Zoran Kristo||(CAN)|
|Fourth Official:||Gerry Proctor||(CAN)|