"It was a very good win for us today against a quality team like the Miami Fusion," U.S. head coach Wolfgang Suhnholz said. "We came out a little flat in the first half, but we managed to step it up and play much better as the game wore on. It is a great result and will only help us as we continue to prepare for March 18."
Donovan, who scored two goals and had two assists in Sunday's 5-1 win against Haiti Select, opened the scoring in the 22nd minute after a Fusion hand ball gave the U.S. a free kick from 23 yards out. Donovan's took the ensuing restart and his shot skipped off Pablo Maestoni's head and continued into the net, giving Miami Fusion goalkeeper Nick Rimando no chance to make a save.
The second half started with Wolfgang Suhnholz making numerous changes to the side, including the insertion of Casey into the line-up for the first time of the year. Casey, who started all six matches at the Sydney Olympics, teamed with Edson Buddle on the front line, with Landon Donovan playing behind them as a central midfielder in the second half. Casey, who arrived in Ft. Lauderdale from Germany less than 36 hours before the kick-off, wasted little time showing he will fit into the squad. He made a brilliant off the ball run that created space for the USA's picturesque second goal.
Two minutes into the second half, Brad Davis received a ball on the right sideline, spun his defender, turned into the middle and lofted a ball into the box that Donovan ran onto and chipped over a stranded Jeff Cassar.
Davis almost widened the U.S. lead in the 48th minute when his near-perfect free kick from 28 yards out struck the crossbar and bounced clear as Cassar could only watch helplessly.
All three U.S. goalkeepers saw time in the nets, and the trio kept busy. The Fusion outshot the U.S. 15-5, but D.J. Countess, Curtis Spiteri and Doug Warren combined to make seven saves in the match. Spiteri was the busiest U.S. keeper, coming up with three huge saves in a five-minute span in the second half. In the 54th minute, Spiteri rushed off his line to stop Kyle Beckerman's one-on-one opportunity. Five minutes later, Spiteri saved consecutive point blank shots from Diego Serna.
The Fusion cut into the U.S. lead in the 80th minute, when Tim Sahaydak scored from close range. Jay Heaps crossed the ball from the left wing, and amid a mass of bodies in the penalty area, Sahaydak touched the ball past Doug Warren.
The U.S. will hold one final training session Wednesday morning, before flying from Miami to Trinidad in the late afternoon. The U.S. opens the qualifying tournament at the Dr. Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence in Tunapuna, Trinidad, against Guatemala on March 18, then faces Trinidad & Tobago on March 20 and Costa Rica on March 22. The top two teams from the group will advance to the 2001 World Youth Championship from June 17-July 8 in Argentina.
2001 U.S. UNDER-20 MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team vs. Miami Fusion (MLS)|
|Venue:||Lockhart Stadium (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)|
|Date:||March 13, 2001 - Kickoff 10:00 a.m. ET|
|Weather:||73 degrees (Sunny, Breezy)|
USA - Landon Donovan 22nd minute.
USA - Landon Donovan (Brad Davis), 47.
MIA - Tim Sahaydak (Jay Heaps), 80.
USA - 1st Half - D.J. Countess; Philip Salyer, Nelson Akwari, Alexander Yi, Oguchi Onyewu; Bobby Convey, Kelly Gray, Brian Carroll, Kyle Martino, DaMarcus Beasley; Landon Donovan.
USA - 2nd Half - Curtis Spiteri (Doug Warren, 65); Jose Burciaga, Kelly Gray (Oguchi Onyewu, 65), Ricky Lewis, Seth Trembly; Brad Davis, Kenny Arena, Landon Donovan (DaMarcus Beasley, 65, Philip Salyer, 88), Kenny Cutler; Edson Buddle, Conor Casey.
MIA - Nick Rimando (Jeff Cassar, 46); Leo Cullen (Kyle Beckerman, 46), Tyrone Marshall (Tim Sahaydak, 46), Pablo Mastroeni, Ivan McKinley; Jay Heaps, Ian Bishop, Chris Henderson (Antonio Otero, 46), Jim Rooney (Jeff Bilyk, 46); Diego Serna, Pete Marino (Ali Ngon, 46).
|Pablo Maestroni (caution)||48.|
|Jay Heaps (caution)||88.|