Video Highlights Now Available
-- Bocanegra Provides Equalizer in 88th Minute in Chicago Homecoming
-- Gaven, Mullan Earn First Caps with U.S. MNT; U.S. Unbeaten in Last Six Matches
-- U.S. Begins Semifinal Round of FIFA World Cup Qualifying on Aug. 18 in Jamaica
CHICAGO (July 11, 2004) — In their final match before starting the semifinal round of FIFA World Cup Qualifying, the U.S. Men’s National Team battled Poland to a 1-1 draw this evening in front of 39,529 fans at Soldier Field in Chicago.
After a tame first half, the match opened up in the final 45 minutes and Carlos Bocanegra nodded home the equalizer two minutes from the final whistle to increase the USA’s undefeated streak to six games (a 5-0-1 record).
“To get that goal late in the game shows we played very well,” said Bruce Arena, who improved to 5-1-3 on the year. “I don’t think the Poles were much of a threat during the game and they did well on the goal, making something out of that. We had a lot of chances to get a win from Josh Wolff, Brian McBride and Landon Donovan, and you could be critical of that, but I feel good about the way we played.”
The U.S. was the dominant team on the night, keeping most of the possession, but it appeared Poland might sneak out with a victory when Piotr Wlodarczyk knocked in a loose ball after misplayed clearances by Carlos Bocanegra and Tim Howard in the six-yard box in the 76th minute.
The U.S. continued to push into the Polish backline though, and won four dangerous free kicks in a five-minute span near the end of the game before finally finding the equalizer with Bocanegra’s header off a Landon Donovan corner kick in the 88th minute.
The match wasn’t the prettiest of affairs as a combined total of 45 fouls were dished out by both teams (U.S.-21, Poland-24), but the U.S. was still able to create a number of good chances on goal. The U.S. took twice as many shots as Poland, outshooting the European side 15-7.
The U.S. created its first shot of the night in the seventh minute. Holding the ball in midfield, Kerry Zavagnin found a gap in the Polish backline, slipping a ball into the left side of the box for DaMarcus Beasley. The midfielder collected the ball, but before he could get off a shot a defender was able to poke it away from him. The ball fell to Donovan at the top of the box and he took a quick attempt that went wide right.
Beginning to find a rhythm and push forward into Poland’s defensive third, it appeared the U.S. was going to take an early lead after being awarded a penalty kick in the 11th minute, but goalkeeper Artur Boruc saved Brian McBride’s attempt, keeping it a scoreless affair. The referee pointed to the spot after Josh Wolff raced onto a through ball from Beasley and appeared to be brought down in the box by Boruc after getting a touch on the ball. On the ensuing penalty, McBride went low and to the right, but Boruc guessed correctly, getting his left hand to it to keep it out of the net.
In the 15th minute, a good combination play between Beasley and Bobby Convey on the left flank created a dangerous cross. Convey dribbled up from his defensive position and laid it off to Beasley, who cut back to beat a defender giving it back to Convey inside the box. Convey quickly served the ball across the goal mouth, but no one was there for the finish.
Poland had a limited number of chances in the first half, but did keep U.S. ‘keeper Tim Howard alert. In the 27th minute, Patryk Rachwal flicked on a Sebastian Mila corner kick at the near post looking for a teammate at the back post, but Eddie Pope was able to head it over the endline and away from danger. Two minutes later, Mila collected a U.S. clearance near the top of the box on the right side and took a quick shot, but his attempt went over the goal.
The U.S. had two more quality chances before the halftime whistle, but couldn’t find the back of the net. In the 33rd minute, Donovan curled in a cross from the right flank finding Beasley wide open at the far post, but he whiffed on his half-volley attempt. Then, in the 45th minute, Wolff got free on the right side of the penalty area after a long ball from Pablo Mastroeni and took a shot as Boruc came charging off his line. His attempt hit Boruc and remained loose in the box for a moment before a Polish defender was able to clear it out.
Things started to heat up in the second half as the game opened up and the U.S. increased the pressure on Poland’s backline, pushing to find the first goal of the night. The U.S. came out of the blocks and had a shot in the first minute, with Beasley sending Wolff into the box on the left side, but he was tackled as he attempted to shoot and Boruc collected the loose ball.
Donovan came close to putting the U.S. ahead in the 58th minute in a shot and save sequence similar to the attempt he had in the 2002 World Cup against Germany that was saved by Oliver Kahn. Dribbling across the top of the box on the right side, Donovan ripped a low drive toward the left post, but Boruc was just able to stretch out and get his right glove on it to push it wide of the frame.
Wolff had two good looks on goal in a two-minute span, hitting a 35-yard shot in the 65th minute that went over the crossbar and then a minute later pulling the trigger from a tough angle on the right side of the goal that went barely wide of the right post.
Ten minutes later, Poland surprisingly took the lead after the U.S. wasn’t able to clear out the ball from danger. Midfielder Marcin Burkhardt started the attack, serving in a ball from the left flank. Bocanegra tried to clear it out, but couldn’t get much power on it and the ball fell to Michal Golinski, who ripped a shot first-time. His shot was blocked by a U.S. defender and the ball deflected back out to the left wing where Burkhardt punched it back in. Howard got a hand to the ball, but wasn’t able to collect it and Wlodarczyk was pounced on the loose ball and put just enough power on it as it trickled inside the right post.
The U.S. pushed forward in the final ten minutes of the match as they looked for the equalizer, and won four free kicks deep in Poland’s defensive end. Creating some danger in the box, but unable to put a shot on goal, the U.S. finally won a corner kick after the fourth free kick when Albright collected Mathis’ service and his shot was deflected out.
On the ensuing corner kick, Donovan weighted a perfect ball into the box from the left side for Bocanegra, who rose above his defender and headed the ball down toward the left post. Golinski, covering the back post, tried to clear the ball, but it slipped under his foot and hit the back of the net.
The U.S. pushed for the winner for the remainder of regulation and the four minutes of stoppage time, but came away empty.
Midfielders Eddie Gaven and Brian Mullan both earned their first full international caps tonight, with Gaven coming on for Kerry Zavagnin in the 82nd minute and Mullan replacing Wolff in the 72nd minute. At age 17 and 260 days, Gaven became the fourth youngest player in U.S. Men’s National Team history to earn a cap. Forward Brian Ching earned his second cap for the U.S. Men, subbing in for McBride in the 65th minute.
The United States begins the semifinal round of FIFA World Cup Qualifying on August 18 in Jamaica. The six-game, round robin group continues with the U.S. at home on Sept. 4 in Foxboro, Mass., against El Salvador, and on the road Sept. 8 in Panama. The four-team group concludes with a road game on Oct. 9/10 in El Salvador and then consecutive home games on Oct. 13 against Panama in Washington, D.C., and Nov. 17 in Columbus, Ohio against Jamaica.
Match-up: USA vs. Poland
Date: July 11, 2004
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Soldier Field – Chicago, Illinois
Kickoff: 6 p.m. CT
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 80 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
Poland 0 1 1
POL – Piotr Wlodarczyk (unassisted) 76th minute
USA – Carlos Bocanegra (Landon Donovan) 88th
USA: 13-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo (3-Chris Albright, 46), 23-Eddie Pope, 4-Carlos Bocanegra, 15-Bobby Convey; 25-Pablo Mastroeni (9-Clint Mathis, 76), 5-Kerry Zavagnin (17-Eddie Gaven, 82), 10-Landon Donovan, 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 20-Brian McBride (capt.) (11-Brian Ching, 65), 16-Josh Wolff (8-Brian Mullan, 72)
Subs not used: 1-Zach Thornton, 12-Cory Gibbs, 14-Chris Armas
POL: 1-Artur Boruc; 2-Mariusz Mowlik, 4-Dariusz Dudka (14-Michal Stasiak, 73), 5-Pawel Kaczorowski, 17-Jaroslaw Bieniuk (3-Rafal Lasocki, 64), 6-Tomasz Jarzebowski, 16-Patryk Rachwal (13-Maciej Scherfchen, 79), 18-Marcin Burkhardt, 10-Sebastian Mila (11-Michal Golinski, 62); 9-Piotr Wlodarczyk (7-Wahan Gevorgyan 89), 8-Ireneusz Jelen.
Subs not used: 12-Waldemar Piatek, 15-Lukasz Madej
Stats Summary: USA POL
Shots 15 7
Saves 3 4
Corner Kicks 6 6
Fouls 21 24
Offside 8 2
POL – Artur Borucb (caution) 11th minute
POL – Patryk Rachwal (caution) 35th
USA – Pablo Maestroeni (caution) 72nd
POL – Tomasz Jarzebowski (caution) 84th
Referee: Silvio PETRESCU (CAN)
1st Assistant: Amado DELUCA (CAN)
2nd Assistant: Zoran KRISTO (CAN)
Fourth Official: Michael KENNEDY (USA)
Chevrolet Man of the Match: Landon Donovan