COLUMBUS, Ohio (Sunday, July 6, 2003) — The U.S. Men’s National Team used an early goal from Landon Donovan in the 12th minute and a last-second strike from Earnie Stewart to deliver a 2-0 win over Paraguay in front of 14,103 fans at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio today. With the win, the U.S. improved to 2-0-2 (4 Goals For, 0 Goals Against) in Columbus, and posted its fourth consecutive shutout at Crew Stadium.
“We’re happy with the win. It’s always good to get a quality game like this going into a competition,” said U.S. MNT manager Bruce Arena, who improved to 6-3-2 in 2003. “I told the team after the game that we were a much better team in how we played for each other than any of the three games we played in France (at the 2003 Confederations Cup).”
The U.S. has its first good scoring chance as early as the eighth minute, when Landon Donovan chased a ball down on the left side at the endline and served a great ball to the center of the six-yard box. Forward Clint Mathis rose and collided with a Paraguayan defender, sending the ball back into the air to the far post to Earnie Stewart, whose off-balance header was easily saved by goalkeeper Justo Villar.
Just four minutes later, the U.S. broke through after a spectacular individual dribbling effort from midfielder DaMarcus Beasley, who beat three defenders on a rampage through the Paraguay penalty box. After snaking through two defenders, Beasley pulled a sweet cutback move past a sliding defender, and whipped a low cross across the box. Initially deflected by a Paraguay defender, the ball fell to Donovan in the middle of the area, where he blasted it home from eight yards out.
Paraguay had two good chances to equalize in a three-minute span toward the end of the first half, including a shot from forward Derlis Soto that almost had got past U.S. goalkeeper Kasey Keller but harmlessly caromed off the post and out for a goal kick in the 37th minute. Two minutes later, Paraguay midfielder Jorge Campos was freed behind the U.S. backline and raced in alone, but Keller darted out to challenge him and forced a shot that he saved with his left hand.
While play evened out in the second half, the U.S. continued to push for a second goal. That goal almost came in the 82nd minute off more good work from Beasley, who sent in a dangerous cross from the left flank that Villar was forced to come off his line and punch out. The ball fell right to U.S. defender Cory Gibbs, who trapped it with his right leg before missing an open net with a volley that sailed over the crossbar.
With two minutes left in regulation, it was second-half sub Eddie Lewis, who had taken over for Beasley on the left flank, who provided a dangerous cross, sending a great ball into the middle of the box that the lanky Chicago Fire midfielder snapped high and wide of the upper corner.
The U.S. finally got a well-deserved second score in the fifth minute of stoppage time off yet another juicy cross from Lewis. Similiar to the earlier Beasley effort, the Paraguayan defender was forced to the head the ball back to the center of the box. This time, it fell to midfielder Earnie Stewart, who made up for Gibbs’ missed opportunity by rocketing his shot through traffic and into the back of the net seconds before the referee blew the final whistle.
Keller extended his unbeaten streak to 15-0-4 on home soil and registered his 29th career shutout.
Long-time U.S. captain Claudio Reyna returned from injury to play the final 30 minutes of the match, marking his first international appearance since the 1-0 quarterfinal loss to Germany on June 21, 2002 in the World Cup.
The U.S. will defend its regional title in the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup to be held July 12-27 in Boston, Miami and Mexico City. The U.S. opens Group C action on July 12 against El Salvador at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., with kickoff set for 6:30 p.m. ET. Having defeated El Salvador 4-0 in the quarterfinal round in 2002, the U.S. now holds a 9-1-4 advantage in the all-time series. The USA will take on Martinique in the first-ever meeting between the nations on July 14 at 9 p.m. ET in Foxboro, with that match scheduled to be broadcast live on Galavision. All of the USA’s matches can be followed live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report -
Match-up: United States Men's National Team vs. Paraguay
Date: July 6, 2003
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Columbus Crew Stadium – Columbus, Ohio
Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET
Weather: 88 degrees; hot, humid
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
United States 1 1 2
Paraguay 0 0 0
USA – Landon Donovan (DaMarcus Beasley) 12th minute.
USA – Earnie Stewart (unassisted) 95+.
USA (4-4-2): 18-Kasey Keller; 3-Greg Vanney, 6-Cory Gibbs (23-Nick Garcia, 87), 4-Carlos Bocanegra, 2-Frankie Hejduk; 22-Richard Mulrooney, 17-DaMarcus Beasley, 15-Bobby Convey (10-Claudio Reyna, 61), 8-Earnie Stewart; 21-Landon Donovan (20-Brian McBride, 90), 11-Clint Mathis (7-Eddie Lewis, 71).
Subs not used: 1-Joe Cannon, 12-Danny Califf, 25-Pablo Mastroeni.
Head Coach: Bruce Arena.
PAR (4-4-2): 12-Justo Villar; 14-Rodrigo Mendoza, 4-Ruben Maldonado, 5-Celso Ayala (capt.), 21-Jorge Nunez; 2-Diego Gavilan (20-Walter Avalos, 69), 8-Angel Ortiz; 16-Carlos Bonet, 11-Jorge Campos (15-Victor Ortiz, 46); 7-Derlis Soto (19-Jorge Acucharro, 70), 9-Juan Samudio (17-Fredy Bareiro, 46).
Subs not used: 22-Miguel Cardenas, 3-Daniel Caballero, 6-Edgar Gonzalez, 13-Jacinto Zorrilla, 18-Walter Fretes.
Head Coach: Anibal Ruiz.
Stats Summary: USA PAR
Shots 13 12
Saves 3 3
Corner Kicks 8 3
Fouls 12 14
Offside 2 6
PAR – Rodrigo Mendoza (caution) 45th minute.
PAR – Angel Ortiz (caution) 89.
Referee: Mr. Mauricio Navarro (CAN)
Senior Assistant Referee: Mr. Eric Roy (CAN)
Junior Assistant Referee: Mr. Amato DeLuca (CAN)
Fourth Official: Mr. Michael Kennedy (USA)
Chevrolet Man of the Match: DaMarcus Beasley