PASADENA, Calif. (Saturday, January 19, 2002) - The United States Men's National Team opened the 2002 Football Confederation Gold Cup in dramatic fashion, scoring an injury-time goal to defeat the Korea Republic 2-1 before 42,117 fans at the Rose Bowl. Landon Donovan opened the scoring in the 35th minute, and DaMarcus Beasley scored his first international goal two minutes into extra time to put the U.S. on top in Group B play.
With the victory, the U.S. improved it's all-time record in Gold Cup group play to 13-0-0. The win also ends the USA's winless record against South Korea, improving their mark to 1-3-1 lifetime. The team next faces Cuba on January 21 at the Rose Bowl, with a win or draw guaranteeing a place in the quarterfinal round.
"It wasn't a pretty game today, for sure. Korea is a very difficult team to play against, they are very physical and very aggressive," said U.S. head coach Bruce Arena. "I'm happy that there weren't any rule requirements that you couldn't play teenagers today, because we'd be in trouble if that were the case. It's been such a long layoff for a number of players, it's nice to get back on the field and start moving forward as a group. I'm pleased with the win today. Maybe a point would have been a fair result, but we're going to take it."
The match began in similar fashion to the December 9 meeting in Seogwipo, with the Koreans applying pressure and forcing the U.S. backline into early mistakes. In the 8th minute, defender Danny Califf was forced to pull down Choi-Yong Soo as he broke free in the penalty area. Like so many times in the past, U.S. goalkeeper Kasey Keller rose to the occasion, correctly anticipating a down-the-middle penalty taken by Korea captain Yoo-Sang Chul to keep scoreline even. Keller would make another brilliant save in the 30th minute, lunging to his left to save a bending shot off the foot of Korean forward Cha Doo-Ri.
Despite a lack of possession and clear chances for most of the half, the U.S. would strike first. In the 35th minute, Ante Razov came back into the midfield and spotted a deep-lying run from Donovan. Striking a cleverly-weighted pass with the outside of his left foot, he hit Donovan racing past a Korean defense desperately searching for an offsides call. None was forthcoming, and Donovan was clear through one-on-one, lofting a first-time shot over the charging Korean 'keeper to net his second goal in a U.S. kit.
The Koreans would waste no time leveling terms, the equalizer coming just three minutes later. Song Chong-Gug found space 35 yards from goal and struck a wicked bending ball that left Keller helpless as it settled into the far right corner.
The first ten minutes of the second half looked much like the first, as the U.S. faced consistent pressure. The match took a major turn in the 56th minute when Korea was reduced to ten men. Landon Donovan again took center stage, starting another well-timed run deep from midfield. Brian McBride, sitting in the center of the park, clipped a ball over the back of the Korean backline to send Donovan on a clear break-away. Defender Choi Jin-Cheul saw no alternative but to pull Donovan down, and referee Samuel Richard was equally left with no choice but to issue a red card. After moving Donovan into a more central role, the U.S. began to find space, especially down the right flank. The Koreans began to tire, and Arena added speed to the U.S. attack by inserting Jeff Cunningham, Cobi Jones, and DaMarcus Beasley as the second half progressed. McBride earned a golden chance in the 72nd minute, cutting across the penalty area and firing a low volley that nearly snuck through the legs of goalkeeper Lee Won-Jae. While the U.S. had clearly grabbed the initiative in the final stages of the match, a draw seemed inevitable until Beasley would come through with last-minute heroics.
The play began with an alert thrown-in from Cobi Jones that found Brian McBride behind the Korean defense. He quickly flicked onto Donovan, the 19-year old immediately playing a pass inside to Jeff Cunningham. With Beasley racing down the left side, Cunningham chipped across the box, hitting Beasley in stride. His clean first-time volley skimmed under the crossbar, sealing the U.S. victory.
With the win, Keller earned his 11th-straight victory on U.S. soil. His last loss came almost four years ago, a 2-0 loss to Holland on Feb. 21, 1998.
The U.S. now sits atop Group B with three points. They next face Cuba on January 21 at the Rose Bowl. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT, and the match is available on pay-per-view through local cable outlets.
U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Participants: United States vs. Korea Republic
Competition: 2002 FC Gold Cup
Venue: Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.)
Weather: 60 degrees, fair
Scoring Summary: 1 - 2 - F
United States 1 - 1 - 2
Korea Republic 1 - 0 - 1
USA - Landon Donovan (Ante Razov), 35.
KOR - Song Chong-Gug, 38.
USA - DaMarcus Beasley (Jeff Cunningham), 92.
USA (4-4-2): 18-Kasey Keller; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 26-Danny Califf, 12-Jeff Agoos (capt.), 17-Carlos Bocanegra; 21-Landon Donovan, 14-Chris Armas, 19-Manny Lagos (27-Jeff Cunningham, 64), 7-Eddie Lewis (4-DaMarcus Beasley, 79); 20-Brian McBride, 11-Ante Razov (13-Cobi Jones, 75).
Substitutes Not Used: 1-Tony Meola, 8-Richie Williams, 9-Brian West, 25-Pablo Mastroeni.
KOR (3-4-1-2): 12-Lee Woon-Jae; 15-Choi Jin-Chul, 18-Yoo Sang-Chul (capt.), 4-Kim Tae-Young; 16-Park Ji-Sung, 7-Song Chong-Gug, 5-Kim Nam-Il, 13-Lee Eul-Yong (3-Hyun Young-Min, 72); 11-Lee Chun-Soo (17-Lee Young-Pyo,72); 9-Choi Yong-Soo, 20-Cha Doo-Li (24-Kim Sang-Sik, 87).
Substitutes Not Used: 1-Kim Byung-Ji, 8-Kim Do Hoon, 10-Hwang Sun-Hong, 21-An Hyo-Yeon.
Statistical Summary: USA - Korea
Shots: 9 - 15
Saves: 4 - 3
Corner Kicks: 4 - 4
Fouls: 14 - 21
Offside: 7 - 2
KOR - Kim Nam-Il (caution), 11.
USA - Danny Califf (caution), 17.
USA - Eddie Lewis (caution), 27.
KOR - Lee Chun-Soo (caution), 29
USA - Landon Donovan (caution), 37.
KOR - Choi Jin-Cheul (ejection), 56.
Referee: Samuel RICHARD (DOM)
Assistant Referee #1: Erick MORA (CRC)
Assistant Referee #2: Michael RAGOONATH (TRI)
Fourth Official: Peter Prendergast (JAM)
Chevrolet Man of the Match: Landon Donovan
DaMarcus Beasley talks about his game-winning goal:
Listen to audio clip
Beasley talks about scoring the first goal of his international career:
Listen to audio clip