- Seven Players Earn First World Cup Qualifying Start for U.S.
- Hahnemann Notches Second Career Shutout in First Qualifying Appearance
- Successful Qualifying Campaign Ends on Oct. 8 in Costa Rica & Oct. 12 in Foxboro vs. Panama
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala (September 7, 2005) — The U.S. Men’s National Team drew with Guatemala 0-0 at Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City, Guatemala, on Wednesday night to stay atop the CONCACAF Final Round World Cup qualifying group with two games remaining. The U.S. played the match just four days following their impressive 2-0 victory against Mexico in Columbus, Ohio, that clinched a spot in the 2006 FIFA World Cup for the Americans.
The USA’s starting 11 in Guatemala featured seven players starting their first-ever World Cup qualifying match, and three starters making their first-ever qualifying appearances in Jimmy Conrad, Marcus Hahnemann and Chad Marshall. In addition to those three, Clint Dempsey, Santino Quaranta and Taylor Twellman all were making their first appearances as starters in World Cup play.
“I thought it was a well played game for both teams,” said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena, whose all-time record with the U.S. now stands at 64-25-25. “Both teams had chances in the second half. I thought our team had a much improved effort in the last 45 minutes. The rule of thumb in qualifying is that if you get a point on the road, you have done well. I’m satisfied with the result. It is always difficult to play on the road, and we made 11 changes to the team that played against Mexico (on Saturday).“
Hahnemann was solid in goal all night for the U.S., notching his second career shutout and helping to extend the USA’s qualifying shutout streak to a massive 597 minutes across seven games. Hahnemann made five saves in the match, none bigger than a diving left-handed swat of a well-placed Julio Giron effort in the 71st minute.
Although neither team could break the scoreless deadlock, both teams hit shots off the woodwork in the second half. Bobby Convey rocked the crossbar from 33 yards on a dangerous free kick in the 55th minute and Edwin Villatoro hit a rocket off the base of the left post in stoppage time after cutting a ball around Conrad inside the penalty area.
Twellman had a great chance in the 65th minute to break the ice for the U.S., but couldn’t get a strong boot on an excellent cross from Chris Albright to tap into an unguarded net, instead lobbing the ball just high.
Another U.S. chance came in the 81st minute, with second-half sub Eddie Johnson snapping a header just wide of the goal from eight yards out after a nice build-up from Twellman and Landon Donovan (another second-half sub) after an errant Guatemala clearance.
“It is a good result,” said U.S. captain Pablo Mastroeni. “I think we all worked hard and put ourselves in a good position to win the game. We had a few good opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on. But having said that, we put 11 new players on the field and I think we battled hard and stayed together.”
The first half was played evenly, with both teams recording six shots in a steady rain that made for some slick playing conditions. The USA’s best chance came in the 39th minute when Convey hit a cross from the left flank into the area that was poorly played by Guatemalan goalkeeper Miguel Klee. Attempting to punch the ball clear, Klee instead misdirected it into the air where it bounced in the area and the USA’s Dempsey had a chance to score on a bicycle kick. The New England Revolution midfielder’s attempt from six feet was deflected over the bar, however.
Prior to that, Hahnemann made a great save from close range in the 30th minute on Juan Carlos Plata, who was trying to score unmarked from 12 yards after a nifty back heel from forward Mario Acevado eluded the U.S. defense.
The draw for the U.S., combined with Mexico’s 5-0 home victory against Panama, put the USA and Mexico tied atop the final round qualifying standings with 19 points each. By virtue of their better goal differential in the matches played between the two teams (three goals for the U.S., two for Mexico), the U.S. technically stays in first place. In the other CONCACAF match on Wednesday, Costa Rica defeated Trinidad & Tobago 2-0 to firm up their hold on third place with 13 points (five ahead of Guatemala and six ahead of Trinidad & Tobago, with just two games to play).
The U.S. will close out their successful qualifying run with a match in Costa Rica on Oct. 8 (one-hour delay on ESPN2 at 10 p.m. ET) and then at home at Gillette Stadium on Oct. 12 (live on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. ET).
Tickets for the final qualifier, presented by Philips Electronics, range start at $20 and are on sale now through ussoccer.com, by phone at 508-931-2000, at all Ticketmaster outlets in the region (including Filene's Stores) and at the Gillette Stadium Box Office (open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Discounted tickets (from $16) are available for groups of 20 or more by calling the New England Revolution at 877-GET-REVS.
-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --
Match-up: USA vs. Guatemala
Date: September 7, 2005
Competition: FIFA World Cup qualifier
Venue: Estadio Mateo Flores – Guatemala City, Guatemala
Kickoff: 8 p.m. MT
Attendance: 27,000 (est.)
Weather: 72 degrees, slick and rainy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
GUA 0 0 0
USA: 1-Marcus Hahnemann, 6-Chris Albright, 22-Chad Marshall, 12-Jimmy Conrad, 3-Greg Vanney; 23-Santino Quaranta (10-Landon Donovan, 64), 25-Pablo Mastroeni (capt.), 8-Clint Dempsey (19-Steve Ralston, 89), 15-Bobby Convey; 13-Taylor Twellman, 11-Jeff Cunningham (9-Eddie Johnson, 57)
Subs not used: 24-Matt Reis, 2-Frankie Hejduk, 5-Nick Garcia, 14-Chris Armas
Head Coach: Bruce Arena.
GUA: 1-Miguel Klee, 26-Angel Sanabria, 3-Pablo Melgar, 14-Elmer Ponciano, 18-Selven Ponciano; 16-Julio Giron, 8-Gonzalo Romero, 11-Guillermo Ramirez (24-Maynor Davila, 46), 7-Fredy Thompson (12-Carlos Figueroa, 71); 15-Juan Carlos Plata (capt.) (10-Edwin Villatoro, 78), 23-Mario Acevedo
Subs not used: 2-Nelson Morales, 6-Gustavo Cabrera, 9-Fredy Garcia, 22-Luis Molina
Head Coach: Ramon Maradiaga
Stats Summary: USA GUA
Shots 13 14
Saves 5 5
Corner Kicks 2 3
Fouls 20 14
Offside 1 5
USA – Jeff Cunningham (caution) 15th minute.
Referee: Marco Rodriguez (MEX)
1st Asst.: Jose Camargo (MEX)
2nd Asst.: Leonel Leal (MEX)
Fourth Official: Gilberto Alcala (MEX)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Pablo Mastroeni