"It was good to get out there as a team and knock the rust off these boys before we head off to Australia," said head coach Clive Charles, who improved his overall 2000 record to 8-4-1. "I thought we looked sharp in the first half and Landon and Conor (Casey) were a dangerous pair up front."
The U.S. starting lineup, which provided the first appearances with the Under-23 team for "over-age" goalkeeper Brad Friedel and defender/midfielder Frankie Hejduk, dominated from the opening whistle. But as solid as the defensive unit was with third "over-age" defender Jeff Agoos and long-time central defending duo of Brian Dunseth and Chad McCarty, the new forward combo of the speedy Donovan and the bruising Casey was effective from the outset.
Before the referee could put his whistle back in his pocket after the opening kickoff, the U.S. scored in their first offensive foray of the evening. From the kickoff, newly-converted outside midfielder Chris Albright tracked down a looping ball on the right flank and crossed it into the box, where a charging Donovan knocked it past Flash goalkeeper Tom Tate in the first 20 seconds of the match.
At the conclusion of the 35-minute first half, the U.S. had already built an 8-0 lead in shots and had earned four corner kicks. The Flash, who finished second in the A-League's Pacific Division this season, would not record their first shot until the 45th minute of the 70-minute contest.
Donovan would get his second strike in the final minute of the game, when he raced onto a ball from attacking midfielder Peter Vagenas that beat San Diego's offside trap. The Redlands, Calif. native would take two touches on the ball, beat the keeper to his far right and then slot the ball home between two lunging Flash defenders. The two goals give Donovan, who already came into the match leading all U-23 scorers with four international goals in just 11 appearances, a team-high eight goals in the 13 matches of 2000 (including exhibitions).
After a light training session tomorrow at ARCO, the U.S. team will depart San Diego in the afternoon for Los Angeles, where they will eventually make the exhausting 15-hour flight to Sydney.
When the team arrives in Australia on Friday (Sept. 8), the young but experienced U.S. squad will be looking to advance to the second round of the Olympics for the first time in history. Team USA, who were placed in Group C, will kick things off against the Czech Republic in Canberra on Sept. 13, the first day of Olympic competition. The team will then face Cameroon on Sept. 16 in Canberra and will meet Kuwait on Sept. 19 in Melbourne to finish the "round robin"-style group play of the opening round.
2000 U.S. UNDER-23 MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||U.S. Men's Olympic Team vs. San Diego Flash (A-League)|
|Venue:||ARCO Olympic Training Center (Chula Vista, Calif.)|
|Date:||September 5, 2000 - Kickoff 5:30 p.m. (PT)|
|Weather:||72 degrees - Warm, Breezy|
USA - Landon Donovan, (Chris Albright), 1,
USA - Landon Donovan, (Peter Vagenas), 70.
USA - Brad Friedel (Tim Howard, 46); Jeff Agoos, Brian Dunseth (Capt.; McCarty, 55), Chad McCarty (Danny Califf, 46), Frankie Hejduk; Peter Vagenas, Sasha Victorine, Chris Albright (Evan Whitfield, 46), Ben Olsen (Ramiro Corrales, 46); Conor Casey, Landon Donovan.
SDF - Tom Tate (Brian Casola, 46); Will Cummins (Christian Mischner, 46), David Banks (Carlos Calderson, 46), P.J. Brown (Noah Gins, 46), Jason Annichero (Adam Frye, 46); Mauricio Alegre (Carlos Farias, 46), Kevin Legg (Guillermo Jara, 46), Leighton O'Brien (Brian O'Connor, 46), Nate Hetherington (Jorge Salcedo, 46); Mark Baena (Emmanuel Ayin, 46), Muguel Dumitru (Jerome Watson, 46).
|Conor Casey (caution)||26,|
|Chad McCarty (caution)||27.|