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GLASCOW, Scotland (November 12, 2005) — ussoccer.com Man of the Match DaMarcus Beasley was taken down in the penalty area and Josh Wolff stepped up to convert the ensuing spot kick as the U.S. drew Scotland 1-1 at Hampden Park in Glasgow to close out the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 2005 international schedule.
The U.S. concludes the year with a 13-3-4 record, an all-time high for wins and the best-ever winning percentage (.750) in a season where the team has played more than 10 games, breaking the record of .733 set just last year when the U.S. went 8-1-6 in 15 games.
“I thought it was a good match,” said U.S. manager Bruce Arena. “It was a game where we were only able to field four of our first team players. We always have a concern about continuity and how the players will play over 90 minutes. I think the second 45 minutes were solid from start to finish. I was pleased with that.” (More Post Game Quotes)
Two players – forward Chris Rolfe and defender Heath Pearce – made their international debuts, and Eddie Gaven made his first career start for the full men’s team at right midfield. With the two debutantes, Arena has now used 54 total players through the extended 20-game U.S. schedule in 2005.
Along with Beasley, the balance of the U.S. midfield featured three players with just 17 combined caps (Kerry Zavagnin-14, Eddie Gaven-2, Brian Carroll-1), but nonetheless got off to a flying start, taking advantage of the space provided by Scotland.
“We had the opportunity to look at a lot of new faces so it was very positive for us,” Arena said. “Anywhere you go on the road in the world, it’s always difficult to get a result. At the end of the day, it’s certainly not the worst score line for us.”
It was the experienced duo of Beasley and Wolff who would combine to set up the U.S. goal in the ninth minute, as Wolff played Beasley into the penalty area with a perfect ball. Scotland captain Christian Dailly took Beasley down from behind before he could get off a shot and Wolff stepped up to the spot, picking up his ninth career goal in his 38th appearance, slotting the ball to the right of goalkeeper Craig Gordon.
After the impressive start in the opening 25 minutes, the fortunes began to swing as Scotland took control of possession and eventually equalized on a free kick in the 37th minute on their first shot of the match. The play was set up as Brian Carroll was whistled for a foul 35 yards from goal on the right side of the U.S. midfield. Graham Alexander played in the free kick to the center of the area for Andy Webster to head home to the far post as his marker, Brian Ching, had been knocked to the turf.
For the game, the U.S. had the advantage on the shot chart by a 13-3 margin, and Gordon made two fantastic saves to keep the U.S. to only one goal. In the 16th minute, Gregg Berhalter curled a low free kick to the back post that Gordon dove to touch away. Then, just before halftime, Brian Ching chased down a through ball to the endline on the left side of the area and cut the ball back to Wolff at the near post, but a low shot from 12 yards skidded wide left.
With the match winding down, the U.S. had two more clear chances. Jonathan Spector, making the start at left back, cut inside on one of many of his individual runs into space and cracked a low, right-footed line drive that forced a diving fist save from Gordon. One minute later, Ching’s header was wide left after Pearce got into the action with a driven cross to the near post.
At the other end of the field, Kasey Keller only faced three shots in front of a back four of Steve Cherundolo, Berhalter, Carlos Bocanegra and Spector, and did not have a save on the day. For Keller, the match closed out a stellar year in which he played in a career-high 14 games and set U.S. goalkeeping records for wins (nine) and shutouts (eight) in a calendar year. The goalkeeper finished the campaign with a 0.56 goals against average and a 9-2-3 record.
The draw puts the U.S. record in Europe under Arena at 1-7-2 in 10 games, but is the second consecutive positive result for the team, coming a year-and-a-half after the team's 1-0 win in Poland on March 31, 2004.
Tickets are on sale now for a January 29 friendly for the U.S. vs. Norway at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., as the U.S. begins planning its World Cup preparations to start 2006.
The U.S. is one of 32 finalists that will compete in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, qualifying first from CONCACAF and finishing atop the group in CONCACAF for the first time. The World Cup Draw, which will determine group pairings, will take place Dec. 9 in Leipzig, Germany. The USA has chosen the northern port city of Hamburg as its base of operations in Germany.
-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --
Match-up: USA vs. Scotland
Date: November 12, 2005
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Hampden Park – Glasgow, Scotland
Kickoff: 11 a.m. ET
Weather: 46 degrees, cool
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
SCO 1 0 1
USA – Josh Wolff (PK) 9th minute
SCO – Andy Webster (Graham Alexander) 37.
USA: 18-Kasey Keller (capt.); 6-Steve Cherundolo, 4-Carlos Bocanegra (12-Jimmy Conrad, 80), 3-Gregg Berhalter, 2-Jonathan Spector; 5-Brian Carroll, 25-Kerry Zavagnin (15-Ben Olsen, 46), 24-Eddie Gaven (23-Santino Quaranta, 46), 17-DaMarcus Beasley (19-Heath Pearce, 77); 16-Josh Wolff (11-Chris Rolfe, 58), 9-Brian Ching
Subs not used: 1-Tim Howard, 13-Benny Feilhaber
Head Coach: Bruce Arena
SCO: 1-Craig Gordon; 2-Christian Dailly (capt.), 3-Graham Alexander, 6-David Weir (15-Gary Caldwell, 46), 4-Steven Pressley (14-Steven Caldwell, 46), 5-Andy Webster; 8-Paul Hartley, 10-Nigel Quashie (20-Scott Brown, 74), 7-Darren Fletcher; 9-Garry O'Connor (17-Shaun Maloney, 74), 11-Neil McCann (16-James McFadden, 64)
Subs not used: 12-Rab Douglas, 13-Russell Anderson, 18-Jamie Smith, 19-Derek Riordan, 21-Ryan Esson, 22-Ian Murray,
Head Coach: Walter Smith
Stats Summary: USA SCO
Shots 13 3
Saves 0 4
Corner Kicks 4 2
Fouls 11 13
Offside 1 5
SCO – Christian Dailly (caution) 8th minute.
SCO – Gary Caldwell (caution) 63.
Referee: Alberto Undiamo Mallenco (ESP)
1st Asst.: Fermin Martinez Ibanez (ESP)
2nd Asst.: Raul Montiel Alonso (ESP)
Fourth Official: Iain Brines (SCO)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: DaMarcus Beasley