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Holland Tops U.S. Men, 1-0, at Amsterdam ArenA


AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (Wednesday, February 18, 2004) – A goal by 20-year-old forward Arjen Robben in the 57th minute gave Holland a 1-0 victory over the United States today in an international friendly at the Amsterdam ArenA. The U.S. debuted its new Nike game jersey that will be used through the entire qualifying process for the 2006 World Cup.

The U.S. battled back with three of their best chances after the 75th minute, with Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar making the big save each time in front of the 29,700 faithful in attendance. In the first half, the U.S played bend-but-don’t-break defense and went to the locker room with a 0-0 draw.

“I thought we had a pretty good effort tonight, but Robben scored a great goal,” said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena, who falls to 0-5-0 on the road in Europe. “Even though we passed poorly and their pressure on the ball was exceptional, we did create some good quality chances in the second half.

“This is the first time that this group has been together since the World Cup, and to play this well I was very pleased. But let’s be fair, I think the better team won the game.”

In the first half, Holland controlled the run of play but only had two shots on the match report to show for it. The first of those shots came in the seventh minute as Andy van der Meyde took a poor back pass from Eddie Lewis and dribbled up the right side before firing a shot high over the crossbar.

Holland’s only other shot of the half came as Jaap Stam dribbled to the end line on the left side of the U.S. box and played the ball back to Rafael van der Vaart whose first-time ball went right to Kasey Keller and then was cleared by Carlos Bocanegra.

In the first half Holland earned six corner kicks, but did not manage to get a single shot off on one of the set pieces thanks to strong work by U.S. center backs Gregg Berhalter and Cory Gibbs, as well as Keller. Ruud van Nistelrooy put the ball in the back of the net twice - but on the first occasion he was offside and on the second he clearly handled the ball into the net earning a yellow card.

The U.S. got off two shots in the first half, neither of which had a chance of finding the back of the net. In the 20th minute Lewis collected a turnover on the left flank and shot a few yards wide trying to chip van der Sar. Less than a minute later, the U.S. built up the attack again and a weak shot by Bobby Convey went wide right.

In the 36th minute, the U.S. had what was its best chance of the match as Landon Donovan crossed the ball in from the right to Brian McBride, but McBride was only able to pop the ball up the air before it bounced over the end line near the corner.

Holland broke the deadlock in the 57th minute in what was the first solid scoring chance for either team in the half. Robben settled a longball from Wilfred Bouma with his chest on the left wing and then cut inside Frankie Hejduk to make a 30-yard run at goal. Gibbs tried to come over to help, but Robben was already 10-yards from goal when he drove the ball into the far netting past Keller.

DaMarcus Beasley, who came on for the U.S. at the start of the second half, teamed up with Convey, Donovan and 72nd-minute substitution Josh Wolff to create a handful of good chances for the U.S. In the 60th minute, Convey created for the U.S. with a run through the right side. His shot at the top of the 18-yard box was deflected by Stam and then saved by var der Sar before going out for a corner.

Holland would answer the surge by the U.S. as Keller kept the U.S. in the match with a pair of saves on shots by Bouma and Roy Makaay in the 67th and 68th minutes.

The best chance to score in the game for the U.S. came in the 75th minute as a long ball was played to Beasley in the left side of the penalty area. Beasley headed the ball back toward Convey whose shot was saved by van der Sar who came well off his line to make the challenge.

In the 83rd minute, Wolff got the ball from Convey at the top right corner of the area and didn’t get much on a rolling shot that was easily picked up by van der Sar. Two minutes later, Wolff held a pass in the center of the D and then back heeled it to Beasley, who drove a shot several feet high. The final chance for the U.S. came in the 89th minute as Convey found Beasley with a pass up the left flank. Beasley got off a solid shot from the top corner of the box but van der Sar pushed the ball over the top.

The U.S. traveled to the game with 22-players, but named a roster of 18 for the match. John O’Brien was sidelined after injuring his hamstring while training with Ajax last Friday, and Eddie Pope came down ill prior to the team’s departure from the hotel. Forward Conor Casey and goalkeeper Jonny Walker were healthy scratches.

Before the game U.S. Men’s National Team fan Kevin Mullet of Reno, Nev., was presented with the first edition of the new Men’s National Team jersey to be worn by a fan after winning U.S. Soccer’s First Fan promotion. He was also presented with a Philips Wearable Digital Camera. Mullet was one of more than 150 U.S. fans represented 21 states in attendance at the match. The new jersey is available for pre-sale at ussoccerstore.com.

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

Match-up: USA vs. Netherlands
Date: February 18, 2004
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Amsterdam ArenA; Amsterdam, Holland
Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. local (2:30 p.m. ET)
Attendance: 29,700
Weather: 39 degrees, overcast (indoor match)

Scoring Summary:       1        2        F
USA                              0        0        0
Netherlands                    0        1        1

Scoring:
NED - Arjen Robben (Wilfred Bouma)                57th minute

Lineups:
USA: 18-Kasey Keller; 2-Frankie Hejduk (6-Steve Cherundolo, 85), 3-Gregg Berhalter, 4-Carlos Bocanegra, 12-Corey Gibbs; 15-Bobby Convey, 13-Chris Armas, 10-Claudio Reyna (capt.) (16-Josh Wolff, 72), 7-Eddie Lewis (17-DaMarcus Beasley, 46); 20-Brian McBride (9-Clint Mathis, 61), 21-Landon Donovan.
Subs not used: 1-Tim Howard, 13-Kerry Zavagnin, 22-Chris Klein.

NED: 1-Edwin van der Sar; 2-John Heitenga, 3-Jaap Stam, 4-Philip Cocu (18-Boudewijn Zenden, 72), 5-Wilfred Bouma (12-Frank de Boer, 80); 6-Edgar Davids (14-Clarence Seedorf, 46), 7-Andy van der Meyde (20-Roy Makaay, 46), 8-Wesley Sneijder (15-Mark van Bommel, 46); 9-Ruud van Nistelrooy (17-Pierre van Hooijdonk, 80), 10-Rafael van der Vaart, 11-Arjen Robben.
Subs not used: 13-Marc Overmars, 16-Ronald Wattereus, 19-Nigel De Jong

Stats Summary:     USA  NED
Shots                       7        8
Saves                       3        3
Corner Kicks           2        9
Fouls                      14       13
Offsides                   1        7

Misconduct Summary:
NED - Ruud van Nistelrooy (caution)                    39th minute

Referee: Tom Henning Overbro (NOR)
Senior Assistant Referee: Roe Vidar Lien (NOR)
Junior Assistant Referee: Arild Sundet (NOR)
Fourth Official: Wijnand Rutgers (NED)

Chevrolet Man of the Match: Kasey Keller

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