SAN JOSE (Friday, November 6, 1998) - The U.S. Men's National Team and Australia played to an exciting 0-0 draw in Bruce Arena's debut as head coach in front of 15,074 fans at Spartan Stadium in San Jose. The match was the first for the U.S. since the 1998 World Cup, and will be televised tape delayed on ESPN this Tuesday (Nov. 10) at 9 p.m. PT.
Goalkeeper Zach Thornton starred in the nets for the U.S., going 90 minutes to earn his first international shutout in his second appearance with the team. Thornton made three saves and punched a number of Australian crosses out of danger throughout the match. For his effort, the 25-year-old '98 MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup champion from the Chicago Fire earned the Snickers Most Valuable Player of the Game award.
In addition to Thornton earning his second cap, home-crowd favorite Eddie Lewis of the San Jose Clash also made an impression in his second U.S. appearance, attacking relentlessly from the left flank for 73 minutes before being subbed by MLS Rookie of the Year Ben Olsen.
Three players in the United States starting line-up made their first appearance for the U.S.: defender Carlos Llamosa, and midfielders Clint Mathis and Richie Williams. In addition, second-half substitutes Chris Armas, C.J. Brown and Ben Olsen also earned their first caps.
"I thought it was a very good start for us," said Arena. "We got an excellent look at a number of young players who could develop into key contributors for us. Eddie Lewis and Clint Mathis both did well, and I was happy with Carlos Llamosa. And, of course, Zach was exceptional."
The U.S. turned it on offensively early in the second half, setting up a number of good chances from Clint Mathis, Joe-Max Moore and Roy Lassiter, but ultimately couldn't beat Australian goalkeeper Jason Petkovic.
The best chance for the U.S. came in the 49th minute when Llamosa freed Lassiter to run a quick give-and-go with the 21-year-old Mathis, who dribbled into the penalty area and sent a shot just wide of the right post. After Cobi Jones had chased down the ball to keep it alive in the corner, Joe-Max Moore saw his close pass from six yards out to a wide-open Brian McBride nicked away at the last minute to keep the game scoreless.
Australia almost got on the board in the 79th minute after being awarded an indirect free kick from six yards out when Thornton was ruled to have illegally handled an errant clearance off Jeff Agoos' knee. The ensuing indirect free kick by Australia's Mark Viduka was blocked by the U.S. wall, which included Jones, Agoos, Roy Lassiter, Mark Chung, and Thornton.
The match was the first for the 47-year-old Arena, who was named head coach of the U.S. on Oct. 27 at a press conference in New York City. Arena has won nine championships in American soccer since 1989, including five NCAA titles with the University of Virginia and two MLS Cup crowns in three seasons with D.C. United.
Next up for Arena and the U.S. is the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup in Mexico from Jan. 8-20. The U.S. has been paired with New Zealand (Jan. 10), Brazil (Jan. 13) and a European side yet to be named (Jan. 15), and will play their matches at Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara.
1998 U.S. Men's National Team Game Report
|Participants:||United States National Team vs. Australia National Team|
|Venue:||Spartan Stadium - San Jose, Calif.|
|Date:||November 6, 1998 - kickoff 7:30 p.m. (PT)|
|Weather:||49 degrees (wet and sloppy)|
USA - 1-Zach Thornton, 12-Jeff Agoos, 18-Carlos Llamosa, 23-Eddie Pope, 21-Richie Williams (7- Chris Armas, 46), 6-Eddie Lewis (14-Ben Olsen, 73), 15-Clint Mathis (8-Mark Chung, 69), 9-Joe-Max Moore, 13-Cobi Jones (capt.), 10-Roy Lassiter (C.J. Brown, 92+), 20-Brian McBride
AUS - 1-Jason Petkovic, 2-Brett Emerton, 4-Hayden Foxe, 5-Alex Tobin (capt.), 6-Tony Popovic, 7-Kasey Wherman, 8-Lucas Neill, 9-Mark Viduka, 10-Josip Skoko, 11-Damian Mori, 12-Simon Colosimo (13-Rafael Bove, 92+)
|Damian Mori (caution)||11,|
|Josip Skoko (caution)||20,|
|Clint Mathis (caution)||55,|
|Roy Lassiter (caution)||78,|
|Carlos Llamosa (ejection)||90.|