COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 13, 2004) - U.S. midfielder DaMarcus Beasley scored on either side of halftime and defender Greg Vanney added a late goal as the U.S. won the first of a two-game aggregate series vs. Grenada to open qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup at Columbus Crew Stadium.
The U.S. will train on Long Island, N.Y., before traveling to Grenada to complete the series with a June 20 match. That match will be shown live on ESPN2 and Telemundo at 4 p.m. ET and fans can follow online with ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
Statistically, the U.S. dominated the match with a 34-6 edge on shots and a 18-1 edge in corner kicks. Kasey Keller made just one save in goal for the U.S. as he passed Tony Meola on the all-time win list for U.S. goalkeepers with 38 wins in 69 appearances. Kellers clean sheet was the 34th of his career. The U.S. has a 381 minute shutout streak with four different goalkeepers earning shutouts in the last four matches.
The first U.S. goal came in stoppage time during the first half, with Landon Donovan laying a ball back to Claudio Reyna, after an attack down the right flank, which the U.S. captain calmly hit to the back post, where DaMarcus Beasley headed his first World Cup qualifying goal past Grenada goalkeeper Kellon Baptiste.
Prior to the U.S. breakthrough, the U.S. had dominated the half to the tune of a 17-3 shot advantage, which included three goal line clearances for the Grenada defense. The first came in the 39th minute when Carlos Bocanegra headed a corner kick on target that Brian Phillip got a foot on to save. The second and third clearances came in a flurry in the 42nd minute that saw both Brian McBride and Reyna have direct shots on goal that Grenadas Ricky Charles was able to save by twice sprawling his body in front of the empty goal.
The U.S. got off nine shots in the first 25 minutes of the second half before Beasley would score his second of the game. The ball is played out of the back to Donovan on the right half of midfield. As he makes a run toward goal, Jovan Kirovski makes a run to the near post drawing his defender with him. Donovan then used the space to find Beasley 15 yards from goal after a 60 yard run to the far post. As Kellon Baptiste came off his line, Beasley drove a low, left-footed shot around the keeper and inside the right post as the clock ticked up to the 70 minute mark.
The U.S. would add a third goal in second-half stoppage time to take a 3-0 lead in the two-game, aggregate goal series. Eddie Lewis, who came on in the 73rd minute for Chris Armas, sharpley shouldered the ball to Vanney. Vanney dribbled into the top left of the area before unleashing a left-footed rocket that tipped of K. Baptiste's fingertips before finding the side netting inside the right post for his first international goal.
Forward Conor Casey came out of the game in the 21st minute for Jovan Kirovski, after seeing his right knee buckle as he landed challenging for a ball. U.S. trainers reported a strained knee, and his status for the next match is not yet known.
After the final U.S. goal, Earnie Stewart came on the field to replace Brian McBride to earn his 99th cap.
Following the MNT World Cup qualifiers against Grenada, the U.S. will meet Poland in a domestic friendly on July 11. Should the U.S. advance through their preliminary qualifying round, their six-game, four-team semifinal round competition will begin in August.
-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --
Match-up: USA vs. Grenada
Date: June 13, 2004
Competition: FIFA World Cup Qualifier – Second Round, First Leg
Venue: Columbus Crew Stadium – Columbus, Ohio
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
Weather: 82 degrees, cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 2 3
Grenada 0 0 0
USA – DaMarcus Beasley (Claudio Reyna) 46th+ minute.
USA – DaMarcus Beasley (Landon Donovan) 71.
USA – Greg Vanney (Eddie Lewis) 92+.
USA: 18-Kasey Keller; 6- Steve Cherundolo, 23-Eddie Pope, 4-Carlos Bocanegra, 3-Greg Vanney; 10-Claudio Reyna (capt.), 14-Chris Armas (7-Eddie Lewis, 73), 21-Landon Donovan, 17-DaMarcus Beasley; 20-Brian McBride (8-Earnie Stewart, 92+), 9-Conor Casey (11-Jovan Kirovski, 21).
Subs not used: 24-Jonny Walker, 2-Frankie Hejduk, 12-Cory Gibbs, 15-Bobby Convey.
GRN: 1-Kellon Baptiste; 11-Anthony Modeste (capt.), 5-Franklin Baptiste, 14-Brian Benjamin (2-Eric George, 67), 15-Kennedy Phillip (16-Byron Bubb, 75), 10-Ricky Charles; 9-Shalrie Joseph, 20-Anthony Bedeau, 12-Patrick Modeste; 30-Jason Roberts, 13-Everett Watts (8-Nigel Bishop, 52).
Subs not used: 31-Desmond Noel, 19-Ricky Morris, 21-Kitson Bain, 23-Arkenson Neckles.
Stats Summary: USA GRN
Shots 34 6
Saves 1 11
Corner Kicks 17 1
Fouls 20 12
Offside 1 4
USA – Eddie Pope (caution) 25th minute.
GRN – Shalrie Joseph (caution) 28.
USA – Eddie Lewis (caution) 82.
Referee: Mauricio NAVARRO (CAN)
1st Assistant: Hector VERGARA (CAN)
2nd Assistant: Simon FEARN (CAN)
Fourth Official: Hu LIU (CAN)
Chevrolet Man of the Match: DaMarcus BeasleyRead more
"We’re finally beginning World Cup qualifying and we’re all excited about it. We remember the last time around how difficult it was and experienced the highs and lows and we're just excited about getting it going again. Our goal is certainly to qualify for Germany in 2006. It all starts on Sunday and I’m very confident that our team will be ready to play."
On getting players motivated:
"That’s what I do for a living. I know how to do that and the team will be ready. Our players are well aware of the obstacles you face in these types of rounds and against these types of opponents. Our team will be prepared to play and they will be motivated to play."
On how much he knows about Grenada as a country, and whether it is like most Americans, "the country we invaded in the 1980s":
"Well, that certainly comes to mind, and the fact that it’s one of the Caribbean islands where a number of American students attend medical school, I was aware of that. Since the draw we have visited Grenada to scout our opponent and are fully aware of their team at this point in time."
On Kasey Keller's attempt to become the all-time U.S. wins leader on Sunday:
"That accomplishment goes hand in hand with his longevity. Kasey’s demonstrated now for a number of years that he’s an outstanding goalkeeper and there is plenty of evidence to indicate the fact that there are none more successful than Kasey Keller. And that says a lot. Kasey’s had an outstanding career with the national team and an outstanding career abroad and I’m happy that he has an opportunity on Sunday to set a record that will be hard for any goalkeeper to match for years to come."
On the USA's deep pool of goalkeepers and whether it is the deepest in the world:
"I’m going to say off the top that the Italians have some very good goalkeepers. We know the Germans are pretty strong with Kahn and Lehman. There are a number of countries, maybe three or four other countries in the world that one could say that their goalkeeping is very strong, but the three or four I have I would match with most countries in the world, they’re a very good group of goalkeepers."
On the unique home-and-away series and whether he is thinking about how many goals they need to score:
"You do need to think of goals because you never want to go away from home in the second round having to seek a lot of goals. This format is unique to us, we’ve never been in it in World Cup qualifying and obviously you have to think of two things. One is winning the game and two is scoring goals. Yes, we need to think about goals. We don’t want to go into Grenada having only a one-goal margin on our opponent. It’s important if the goals are there to be had that we get them."
On what a comfortable goal margin might be following the first leg:
"Winning the game is a comfortable margin. Anything more than one goal I think is comfortable."
On other recent Caribbean opponents for the U.S. that might compare similarly to Grenada, like Haiti and Barbados:
"Those are two good teams that are similar to Grenada. We see similar qualities in their styles of play. I think those are the two countries that I would name as well."
On whether scoring early against an opponent like Grenada is overstated:
"Sure it’s a big deal. The name of the game is, one, to win, and, two, to get a couple goals. However if the goals come after 60 minutes, fair enough. Soccer is a low-scoring sport and you don’t expect to jump on the board right away and have many goals to follow. You never know how these games will unfold. Our first priority is winning the game and secondly if we can get some goals, that would be great as well."
On going into World Cup qualifying as favorites, having been to the quarterfinals of the last World Cup:
"Our stature has improved since '98. Anytime we play these types of games they’re going to be difficult. I don’t perceive us to be a giant. This time around I think our players remember the qualifying process from 2000 and 2001 and how difficult it was and the highs and lows and the things we went through to make us a team, we’re well aware of that. We also left the 2002 World Cup with a real good feeling. I think that motivates our group, I think we want to get back to the World Cup and place ourselves in a position to do well again and we know it’s a long road to get there. The whole process is exciting to the group. The only expectations we have our within our team. There is no pressure from the outside, the pressure is internal.
On the status of Clint Mathis:
"Clint is in a position like lot of our players. We’re two or three deep in a lot of positions and will be very competitive. His club season will go a long way in terms of positioning himself with the U.S. team. I think the move to the Bundesliga has been great for Clint. He’s a more serious and dedicated player than he was before. The dedication he now has is going to be a real positive as he attempts to break into the lineup. Having Clint around and where he is today only makes us a stronger team and Clint is going to position himself to compete to be a player on our first team and I’m excited to follow his progress throughout the year."
On his strategy going into the game against Grenada:
"Well that’s difficult to answer now because we don’t know what kind of strategy our opponents are going to employ. You never know what could happen. We could be chasing the game from the early going if we give up an early goal. I think in the early going both teams will feel each other out and we’ll sort out the defensive posture Grenada takes and deal with it accordingly. However on Thursday I don’t know what that strategy is. We’re going to use the same strategy on Sunday that we’ve used against our last 3 or 4 opponents."
On Grenada’s ability to counterattack:
"That’s going to be one of their strengths. They have two competent forwards that we need to keep our eye on: Jason Roberts, who has a pedigree in England and has played in the English First Division, and is a big strong forward, and a young player by the name of Ricky Charles who is a very mobile forward and probably their most important player when they get out on the break. He's got good speed and is very active."
On the team's recent success in the last three or four games:
"Simply, we’ve rebuilt the team in a lot of ways since 2002. We've used 2003 and the first half of 2004 to introduce the National Team to a number of new players and give them experience as well. Most notably guys like Conor Casey, Bobby Convey – getting Beasley and Donovan even more experience at this level – John Walker, Cory Gibbs, that group, and now as we move closer to our opening game of qualifiers, we've been able to mix that group of players and our MLS players with our foreign-based players. As we’ve moved closer to this date, we’ve added experience and talent to our group and it has shown on the field because obviously we've been a little bit more successful as of late."
On the release of Pablo Mastroeni:
"We continue to work with them (MLS). I have no problem in a situation if an MLS coach chooses to go by the letter of the law with the FIFA regulations on call-ups. It is very appropriate and Tim chose to do that. I think the only confusion is that it was a last minute issue. Since February, we communicated with the MLS coaches the qualifying dates and when we were going to bring players into camp and sent out a pool of players maybe three weeks ago as to who was going to be likely to come into camp and finalized it perhaps a week ago. There was plenty of time for anybody I think to express a desire to not allow a player to come in. Tim communicated to our team administrator on Thursday night that they wanted to keep Pablo back, and in all honesty on Friday morning we had to move quickly, because we had players traveling around the league and we had to deal with that real quick."
"In the future we just need to make sure the timing is right. When these coaches express a desire to hold back a player, they do it in a more timely matter. I understand what they go through, I had the same issues with DC United. I typically lost anywhere from five, six, seven, eight players I think at one time to National Team call-ups. I know it's part of the process, so I understand their concerns, and I respect the fact that they wish to follow those guidelines when they think it is in the best interest of their club. I have no problem with Tim. I have no problem with Pablo, or with any of the players who were left of the roster this time around."
"In the particular game, it is hard for us to bring in players from one club and not the other, and I don't want to be in a position where I'm handicapping games. I just felt that that was the right thing to do. I called Kansas City on Friday morning and spoke to their general manager and wanted to alert the players before they got on the plane to go to L.A., because they were going to L.A. and then back for the game in Colorado and then Columbus. So there are a lot of issues besides the one player that needs to be dealt with. And obviously we had to replace Tony (Meola) with John Walker. We had to do a little bit of scrambling on Friday to get this thing organized, but at the same time I have no hard feelings and I certainly hope they don’t either."
On the expectations surrounding the team, compared to being an under dog in the past:
"Even the last time around in this round, the U.S. team would be a favorite anyway. Those things haven’t changed. What I see in our pool of players is that they embrace the opportunity to play with the National Team and they really enjoy it and they’re excited about it. That’s wonderful to see as a National Team coach, that these players want to be here. Sometimes when there’s conflict between club and country sometimes players don’t have the right attitude coming into camp, but what I've found since I’ve taken over in 1998 is that these players have always embraced the opportunity to play for the U.S. That’s great to see and I think with the success from the last World Cup they have an air of confidence about themselves and they’re very excited about this thing kicking off on Sunday and that they’re ready to go. However you want to frame it, obviously there's a different approach for all players having tasted a little success, but at the same time they realize there’s a lot of hard work ahead and its going to be a difficult road to try to qualify for Germany."