PASADENA, Calif. (Wednesday, January 30, 2002) - The U.S. Men’s National Team will face Costa Rica in Saturday’s 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup final at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., after outlasting Canada in penalty kicks in the tournament semifinals on Wednesday night. The U.S. out-shot Canada 36 to 10, but could not find the back of the net during a scoreless 120 minutes of soccer, eventually advancing to the finals with a 4-2 penalty kick advantage.
The U.S. was perfect from the penalty spot with Landon Donovan, Brian McBride, Jeff Agoos and Clint Mathis scoring, and goalkeeper Kasey Keller making two exceptional saves to help the U.S. to the victory.
"I thought we played very well tonight,” said U.S. head coach Bruce Arena. “We were a little unlucky not to get a goal. And we clearly deserved to win this game. I give Canada credit for fighting hard for 120 minutes, but in all honesty, I think the better team won."
The U.S. had numerous chances to score in regulation and overtime, including an amazing goal mouth flurry in the second half that saw four well-taken U.S. shots somehow stay out of the net. The play began in the 54th minute with Eddie Lewis sending a cross from the left edge of the penalty area to Josh Wolff, who banged a shot from 12 yards off the left post. Wolff’s shot caromed to Brian McBride who quickly hit a shot on target that saw Canadian goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld slide across the goalmouth to make the save. The ball then popped into the air, and after an errant clearance from Canada’s defense, Wolff had a second opportunity, hitting a picture perfect bicycle kick toward the net that was cleared off the line by Canadian captain Jason de Vos. That ball then dropped back to McBride on the right post, who hit a fourth U.S. shot on target that Hirschfeld somehow kept out of the goal. The amazing flurry was over in a few seconds, but was indicative of the USA’s dominance in the match.
"I thought we played great tonight, probably our best performance of the tournament,” said Donovan, who earned his 13th cap for the U.S. in the match. “We were a little bit unlucky, but we did everything we need to do to win. It wasn't our night, though, until the end. I feel more comfortable and I'm getting used to playing with Chris and playing in the middle. Overall, I'm getting more relaxed, and it is making it easier for me to play."
The U.S-Costa Rica final on Saturday will be televised live on Univision beginning at 12 p.m. PT (3 p.m. ET). The U.S. and Costa Rica have met three times in Gold Cup play, with the U.S. winning each match (once in each of Costa Rica's three previous Gold Cup appearances). In the inaugural tournament, the teams met in their final first round game, with the U.S. winning 3-2 at the L.A. Coliseum on July 3, 1991. Two years later, the teams met in the semifinals, with the U.S. winning 2-1 on a golden goal from defender Cle Kooiman at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. In 1998, the U.S. and Costa Rica again squared off in group play, with the U.S. using a brilliant 25-yard strike from Preki Radosavljevic late in the match to secure a 2-1 victory and the group title.
Despite the USA's 3-0 record against Costa Rica, the U.S. has an overall losing record against the Ticos with an 8-9-4 mark in 21 all-time meetings. In final round World Cup qualifying play in 2002, both teams traded home victories, and the year before that they were paired in the semifinal round, with the Costa Ricans winning at home and earning a hard fought tie in Columbus, Ohio on Oct. 11, 2000. In 12 all-time World Cup qualifying games, the U.S. is just 4-6-2 against Costa Rica.
Costa Rica advanced to their first Gold Cup championship game earlier on Wednesday, defeating the Korea Republic, 3-1.
— U.S. Men's National Team Game Report —
Participants: USA vs. Canada
Competition: 2002 FC Gold Cup – Semifinals
Venue: The Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.)
Date: January 30, 2002 – 8:30 p.m. (PT) kick-off
Weather: 56 degrees; clear, chilly
Scoring Summary: 1 - 2 - 1OT - 2OT - PK
Canada 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 2
USA 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 4
Penalty Kick Summary:
USA – Landon Donovan (goal), Brian McBride (goal), Jeff Agoos (goal), Clint Mathis (goal)
CAN – Kevin McKenna (save), Paul Stalteri (goal), Dwayne DeRosario (goal), Tam Nsaliwa (save)
CAN (3-5-2): 1-Lars Hirschfeld, 4-Tony Menezes, 5-Jason de Vos - Capt., 6-Jason Bent (10-David Xausa, 11; 17-Dwayne DeRosario, 75), 7-Paul Stalteri, 8-Nick Dasovic, 11-Jim Brennan, 13-Carl Fletcher, 14-Daniel Imhof (18-Tam Nsaliwa, 70), 15-Richard Hastings, 20-Kevin McKenna.
Subs not used: 3-Mark Rogers, 16-Julian DeGuzman, 19-Chris Pozniak, 23-Kenny Stamatopoulos.
USA (4-4-2): 18-Kasey Keller; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 25-Pablo Mastroeni, 12-Jeff Agoos - Capt., 17-Carlos Bocanegra; 13-Cobi Jones (9-Brian West, 106), 14-Chris Armas, 7-Eddie Lewis (4-DaMarcus Beasley, 65), 21-Landon Donovan; 20-Brian McBride, 15-Josh Wolff (5-Clint Mathis, 75).
Subs not used: 1-Tony Meola, 8-Richie Williams, 10-Brian Maisonneuve, 26-Danny Califf.
Statistical Summary: CAN - USA
Shots 10 - 36
Saves 15 - 3
Corner Kicks 6 - 13
Fouls 24 - 18
Offside 2 - 0
USA – Josh Wolff (caution), 48.
CAN – Paul Stalteri (caution), 51.
CAN – Kevin McKenna (caution), 52.
CAN – Nick Dasovic (caution), 95.
Referee: Peter Prendergast (JAM)
Assistant Referee: Michael Ragoonath (TRI)
Assistant Referee: Michael Mitchell (JAM)
4th Official: Carlos Batres (GUA)
Chevrolet Man of the Match: Landon Donovan