U.S. Men Get Three Points on the Road, Defeat El Salvador 2-0

  • McBride Scores 26th International Goal, while Johnson Scores First Goal in First Cap
  • U.S. Extends Record Unbeaten Streak to 11 Games
  • USA Returns Home to Face Panama in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Oct. 13

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (Oct. 9, 2004) – The U.S. Men’s National Team recorded a convincing 2-0 victory over El Salvador in Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador on Saturday evening, increasing their Group 1 lead in the semifinal round of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup to three points. The U.S. is now 2-0-2 in the semifinal round with eight points, ahead of both Panama and Jamaica who are tied with five points.

The USA victory came courtesy of goals from Brian McBride and Ed Johnson, the 26th of McBride’s illustrious career and the first for Johnson in his first-ever appearance for the United States.

“We did well,” said U.S. manager Bruce Arena. “We took El Salvador’s best shot. I think the first half we were a little sloppy in different parts of the field, but I think in the second half we were much more solid. Obviously, we could have scored more goals. You don’t win that many games on the road in World Cup qualifying. We finished this round without losing a game on the road so I think that’s a big plus for our team.”

McBride’s game-opening goal came in the 29th minute, after the speedy DaMarcus Beasley had tracked down a great long ball from Kerry Zavagnin and earned a throw-in on the right flank. The PSV Eindhoven midfielder quickly threw the ball in on the wing, where Zavagnin collected it on a run into the box before playing a short pass to McBride.

McBride then calmly set himself up for a right-footed shot by sliding across the top of the penalty area with four straight touches as no El Salvador defenders closed on him, burying his shot from 16 yards into the upper right corner. The goal for McBride was his seventh all-time against El Salvador.

“When I received the ball, I just tried to shield it and turn,” said McBride. “I faked the shot and the second time I was going to hit it but I faked again and they fell off again and the ball set up for the third time and I struck it pretty well.”

Johnson’s first career goal came just four minutes after he came into the match as a second-half sub, earning his first-ever cap for the full U.S. Men’s National Team. The goal couldn’t have been much easier for the longtime U.S. Youth National Team standout, as he slotted a square ball from Landon Donovan into an empty net after the 22-year-old World Cup veteran was sprung into the area on an excellent pass from Beasley. Johnson was left unmarked on his goal as the last Salvadoran defender, captain Victor Velasquez, tried to steal the ball away from Donovan, who beat him on the dribble before hitting the wide-open Johnson.

“I was lucky. I was in the right place at the right time,” said Johnson. “I moved into the box and Landon made a very unselfish play to pass the ball. I just wanted to do well for the team. I wanted to hold the ball up and bring other players into the game.”

The match was a special one for Donovan, who was selected to wear the captain’s armband for the United States for the first time in his career. Donovan now has 56 career caps for the United States, including 10 in World Cup qualifying play.

“The second highest honor is playing for your country and the highest honor is wearing the (captain’s) armband for your country,” said Donovan after the game. “It was good because I knew I was going to be ready. It shows that the players have confidence in me and that feels good.”

Despite a 5-3 shot advantage for El Salvador in the first half, the match was dominated by the United States and was never in doubt. El Salvador was only able to muster one shot in the second half, and their only threatening player throughout the match was Victor Merino, who had a number of dribbling forays from the right wing into the area, but couldn’t find the back of the net.

The victory for the U.S. not only extended the team’s record unbeaten streak to 11 games (7-0-4), but also ended a dubious streak for the U.S. as the team won a World Cup qualifying game in Central America for the first-time ever outside of Honduras. Going into Saturday’s game, the U.S. had been 0-for-11 (0-5-6) in trying to earn a full three points in Central American qualifying games outside of Honduras, which included a single draw in their only previous qualifying game in El Salvador (a 1-1 tie in 1997).

In the game’s fifth minute, the U.S. appeared to jump out to an early 1-0 lead when Clint Mathis quickly touched a ball through the El Salvadoran defense to Josh Wolff who moved toward goal with no defenders between himself and the El Salvadoran goalkeeper Misael Alfaro. Rather than challenge the goalkeeper, Wolff slotted a ball into the empty space to his left to an overlapping Brian McBride, but the referee raised his flag for offside on the high-scoring U.S. forward.

With that goal already disallowed, the U.S. certainly should have taken a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute when Wolff and Beasley combined on an attack that ended with Mathis whiffing on an attempt from just six yards out.

Another strong attempt for the U.S. came just five minutes into the second half as Landon Donovan was freed for a one-on-one chance with Alfaro after Wolff had expertly turned on his defender on the right flank. Unfortunately, the San Jose Earthquakes forward’s low shot was well saved by the El Salvadoran goalkeeper and then cleared by his defense.

With the critical three points, the only bad news for the U.S. came in the 31st minute when defender Cory Gibbs picked up his second yellow card of World Cup qualifying play. The second yellow card means the Dallas Burn defender will be suspended for the team’s next match, a showdown with Panama at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Oct. 13. Gibbs is the first U.S. player in 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying to earn suspension for multiple yellow cards.

The U.S. returned to D.C. immediately following the game in preparation for the game against Panama on Wednesday (live at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2, delayed on Telemundo at 11 p.m. ET/PT). Panama drew with Jamaica, 1-1, this evening in Panama City, Panama, keeping both teams tied on five points each.

-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --

Match-up: USA vs. El Salvador
Date: Oct. 9, 2004
Competition: 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier – Semifinal Round
Venue: Estadio Cuscatlan – San Salvador, El Salvador
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. MT
Attendance: 20,000 (est.)
Weather: 78 degrees; light humidity

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                              1 1 2
El Salvador                 0 0 0

USA – Brian McBride (Kerry Zavagnin)  29th minute.
USA – Ed Johnson (Landon Donovan)    75

USA: 18-Kasey Keller; 23-Eddie Pope, 3-Gregg Berhalter, 12-Cory Gibbs; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 5-Kerry Zavagnin, 17-DaMarcus Beasley, 21-Landon Donovan (Capt.), 11-Clint Mathis (7-Eddie Lewis, 68); 20-Brian McBride (19-Ed Johnson, 71), 16-Josh Wolff (13-Cobi Jones, 88).
Subs not used: 1-Tim Howard, 6-Oguchi Onyewu, 15-Bobby Convey, 24-Jonny Walker, 25-Pablo Mastroeni.
Head Coach: Bruce Arena.

SLV: 1-Misael Alfaro; 2-Rafael Tobar, 3-Marvin Gonzalez, 5-Victor Velasquez (Capt.); 13-Deris Umanzor, 7-Victor Merino, 17-Jorge Rodriguez (21-Josue Galdamez, 80), 8-Santos Cabrera (16-Isaac Zelaya, 80), 4-Marvin Benitez; 9-Fredy Gonzalez (23-Jose Martinez, 70), 11-Ronald Cerritos.
Subs not used: 12-Dennis Alas, 14-Ramon Sanchez, 15-Julio Castro, 25-Santos Rivera.
Head Coach: Armando Contreras

Stats Summary:      USA   SLV
Shots                             8       6
Saves                             2       4
Corner Kicks                 3       2
Fouls                              15     18
Offside                           1       3

Misconduct Summary:
SLV – Victor Merino (caution)       30th minute
USA – Cory Gibbs (caution)           31
SLV – Ronald Cerritos (caution)   46+
SLV – Isaac Zelaya (caution)        85

Referee:  Ref: Carlos Batres (GUA)
1st Asst.:  Francisco Ortiz (GUA)
2nd Asst.:  Antonio Alvarez (GUA)
Fourth Official:  Otto Mejia (GUA)

Chevrolet Man of the Match: Kerry Zavagnin

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MNT Oct 10, 2004

U.S. Earns a Road Point on Late Goal in 1-1 Draw With Panama


 - Jones Delivers Equalizer in 92nd Minute as USA Unbeaten Streak Hits a Record 10 Games
 - U.S. MNT Next Face Another Difficult Road Match in El Salvador on Oct. 9
 - USA Returns Home Against Panama at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 13

PANAMA CITY, Panama (September 8, 2004) – The U.S. Men’s National Team benefited from a case of déjà vu on the road Wednesday night, overcoming a shaky second half to tie the game in the final minutes and earn an important point on the road, tying Panama 1-1 at Estadio Rommel Fernandez in its third match of the semifinal round of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
The important point for the U.S. came via second-half substitute Cobi Jones, a veteran of three World Cups for the United States, who tied the game in the 92nd minute by poking home a miskicked shot from Landon Donovan from eight yards out. Donovan had jumped onto a deflected ball in the penalty area that was lifted into the box from the halfway line by midfielder Eddie Lewis in the game’s final desperate moments. With Brian McBride trying to win a header, the ball deflected off of his defender and stuck in the swampy turf where Donovan couldn’t get a clean touch before slicing it to Jones.
“It seems to be a mainstay in our World Cup qualifiers,” said Jones, playing in his record 163rd game for the U.S. and scoring his 15th career goal. “We have a never say die attitude. We have a team that is never going to quit. We’ve proven that we can play the full 90 minutes.”
Panama owned most of the second half on the wet, boggy field, outshooting the United States by a whopping 13-5 margin and finally breaking through in the 69th minute on a rebound off a pair of shots from feisty second-half sub Ricardo Phillips. His first strike was saved by U.S. goalkeeper Kasey Keller, but the rebound squirted back into the path of Phillips and his follow-up shot slipped by Eddie Pope and then caromed off the right post before falling in the six-yard box right in the path of Roberto Brown, who tapped it home easily.
“First of all, I give the U.S. credit for passing a character test,” said U.S. manager Bruce Arena. “Give the Panama team credit for what I thought was a superb second half. Their forwards really won the battle and made a difference in the second half. I still think the big part of the game was our inability to take advantage of our control of the game in the first half, where we created chances and had a lot of the play.”
The point for the U.S. keeps the team in first place in Group 1 with five points, one ahead of both Panama and Jamaica. Jamaica moved back into the mix with a strong 3-0 victory in El Salvador on Wednesday night, following a single draw in their opening two matches at home.
The draw extended the USA’s unbeaten streak to a team record 10 games, besting two nine-game streaks for the United States previously set in 1991 and 1998. The U.S. is 6-0-4 during the streak and improved the team’s overall record to 6-1-5 in 2004. Curiously, the draw also extended the USA’s dubious streak of never having earned a full three points in a World Cup qualifying game played outside of Honduras in Central America. The U.S. has won three times in four World Cup qualifiers in Honduras in their history, but is 0-for-11 outside of that country when trying to earn a maximum three points in qualifiers in Central America (0-5-6).
The U.S. was the superior team in the first half, outshooting the upstart Panamanians four to three and creating a number of dangerous chances, including an early 10th minute free kick from Conor Casey that was driven from the right side of the penalty area into traffic, where it was redirected by Brian Ching and skidded across the goal mouth in front of an unmarked Carlos Bocanegra and wide left of the post for a goal kick.
Panama gave the U.S. a scare in the 16th minute when tiny forward Julio Medina unleashed a rocket from 25 yards out that ripped the side netting but on the wrong side of the left post.
The U.S. had a golden chance to grab a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute, when Casey took down a long ball on the right flank and backheeled a pass into the path of Ching. Ching played a quick square ball to an onrushing Mathis, who flew by the remaining defender but goalkeeper Donaldo Gonzalez came off his line and slid to save the low shot with his right leg.
Panama’s second good look on goal came in the 42nd minute when midfielder Engin Mitre bent a shot that almost struck Bocanegra in the box but zipped wide left.
The dominant second half for Panama got underway early, with Medina shooting wide right from just outside the U.S. penalty area in the 48th minute. Panama had another opportunity in the 60th minute on a corner kick from the right side that found Carlos Rivera unmarked in the box, but his header went high over the crossbar.
The first shot of the half for the U.S. didn’t come until the 63rd minute, when defender Greg Vanney blasted a hard shot from the corner of the penalty area but sent it high.
Panama presented more danger in the 66th minute, when eventual goalscorer Phillips sidestepped both Vanney and Claudio Reyna at the top of the box and uncorked a shot that fortunately skipped wide right with Keller scampering to cover the near post. Two minutes later, and just moments before he set up the Panama goal, Phillips ripped a shot from the right flank that went over the outstretched hand of Keller and rang off the top of the crossbar and out for a goal kick.
The U.S. was fortunate to have a chance to equalize in the 73rd minute, with second-half sub Brian McBride feeding a square ball to Donovan, who cranked a shot that Gonzalez was forced to push over the crossbar. After a 90th minute attempt from Reyna floated just wide from 18 yards, it was up to Jones to provide the late heroics. Bouyed by his eventual equalizer, the U.S. earned a corner kick less than a minute later and looked to have one last chance to net a game winner, but Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez oddly blew the whistle before the corner could be taken.
“At the end of the day, it is certainly not a perfect performance, but we’re on the road and we take two points away from the home team and have every player eligible for game four,” added Arena, commenting on the USA’s ability to keep their entire roster away from multiple yellow cards through five overall games of qualifying. “Now we simply have to take advantage of having a couple of home games as we finish out this round.”
Overall, the U.S. made five starting line-up changes in the match from the side that beat El Salvador 2-0 on Sept. 4 in Foxboro, Mass., with Keller replacing Tim Howard in goal and Clint Mathis replacing Kerry Zavagnin in the midfield. On defense, the only returning starter was Carlos Bocanegra, who was joined by Frankie Hejduk, Eddie Pope and Greg Vanney.
Next up for the U.S. is a road game on Oct. 9 in El Salvador and then consecutive home games on Oct. 13 against Panama at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., and Nov. 17 against Jamaica in Columbus, Ohio. The top two teams in the group will advance to the final round of qualifying that begins next year.

-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --

Match-up: USA vs. Panama
Date: September 8, 2004
Competition: 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier – Semifinal Round
Venue: Estadio Rommel Fernandez – Panama City, Panama
Kickoff: 8 p.m. CT
Attendance: 14,500 (est.)
Weather: 75 degrees; light rain

Scoring Summary:    1     2      F
USA                                0    1      1
Panama                          0    1      1

PAN – Roberto Brown (Ricardo Phillips)        69th minute.
USA – Cobi Jones (Landon Donovan)            92+.

USA: 18-Kasey Keller; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 23-Eddie Pope, 4-Carlos Bocanegra, 3-Greg Vanney; 10-Claudio Reyna, 17-DaMarcus Beasley, 21-Landon Donovan, 11-Clint Mathis (13-Cobi Jones, 57); 25-Brian Ching (7-Eddie Lewis, 77), 9-Conor Casey (20-Brian McBride, 62).
Subs not used: 1-Jonny Walker, 5-Kerry Zavagnin, 6-Steve Cherundolo, 12-Cory Gibbs.
Head Coach: Bruce Arena.

PAN: 1-Donaldo Gonzalez; 2-Carlos Rivera, 3-Luis Moreno, 4-Luis Henriquez, 5-Anthony Torres; 6-Engin Mitre, 7-Alberto Zapata (15-Ricardo Phillips, 38), 8-Manuel Torres (14-Juan Carlos Cubilla, 78), 9-Julio Dely Valdes (18-Jorge Dely Valdes, 72); 10-Julio Medina, 11-Roberto Brown.
Subs not used: 12-Jaime Penedo, 13-Gary Ramos, 16-Angel Lombardo.
Head Coach: Jose “Cheche” Hernandez

Stats Summary:      USA      PAN
Shots                             9           16
Saves                            3            2
Corner Kicks                8            3
Fouls                             16         13
Offside                           4           9

Misconduct Summary:
PAN – Anthony Torres (caution)            23rd minute.
USA – Frankie Hejduk (caution)            62.
PAN – Jorge Dely Valdes (caution)        77.

Referee:           Marco Rodriguez (MEX)
1st Asst.:         Leonel Leal Bermudez (CRC)
2nd Asst.:        Edgar Mora Bolanos (CRC)
Fourth Official:  Mauricio Morales Ovalle (MEX)

Chevrolet Man of the Match: Kasey Keller

2006 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Schedule – CONCACAF Semifinal Round

Group 1 Standings
Team              P    W    L    D    GF:GA     GD     PTS
United States    3     1    0     2       4:2        +2        5
Jamaica            3     1    1     1       5:3        +2        4
Panama            3     1    1     1       4:4         E         4
El Salvador        3     1    1     0       2:6         -4        3

Group 1 Schedule
Date        Match                              Venue                                                                Results/Kickoff
Aug. 18    Jamaica vs. USA               National Stadium; Kingston, Jamaica                        1-1
Aug. 18    El Salvador vs. Panama     Cuscatlan Stadium; San Salvador, El Salvador       2-1

Sept. 4    USA vs. El Salvador            Foxboro Stadium; Foxboro, Mass.                            2-0
Sept. 4    Jamaica vs. Panama           National Stadium; Kingston, Jamaica                      1-2

Sept. 8    Panama vs. USA                Fernandez Stadium; Panama City, Panama              1-1
Sept. 8    El Salvador vs. Jamaica      Cuscatlan Stadium; San Salvador, El Salvador       0-3

Oct. 9      El Salvador vs. USA           Cuscatlan Stadium; San Salvador, El Salvador   
Oct. 9      Panama vs. Jamaica          Fernandez Stadium; Panama City, Panama   

Oct. 13    USA vs. Panama                RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C.   
Oct. 13    Jamaica vs. El Salvador      National Stadium; Kingston, Jamaica   

Nov. 17    USA vs. Jamaica                Columbus Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio   
Nov. 17    Panama vs. El Salvador       Fernandez Stadium; Panama City, Panama
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MNT Sep 9, 2004