U.S. soccer  Team USAsoccer

soccer feedback

ESPN

U.S. national team

Arena’s debut as coach: scoreless draw with Australia.

SAN JOSE (Friday, November 6, 1998) -- The United States played to a contentious scoreless draw with Australia in Bruce Arena's debut as head coach in front of 15,074 fans in wet, sloppy conditions at Spartan Stadium tonight.

Forty-seven fouls were whistled and each team was cautioned twice before U.S. defender Carlos Llamosa was ejected with a red card in the 90th minute.

The match was the first for the U.S. since the 1998 World Cup, and the tape will be broadcast on ESPN Tuesday at midnight (ET).

Goalkeeper Zach Thornton starred in the nets for the U.S., going 90 minutes to earn his first international shutout in his second appearance with the team. Thornton made three saves and punched a number of Australian crosses out of danger throughout the match.

In addition to Thornton earning his second cap, home-crowd favorite Eddie Lewis of the San Jose Clash also made an impression in his second U.S. appearance, attacking relentlessly from the left flank for 73 minutes before being subbed by Major League Soccer rookie of the year Ben Olsen.

Three players in the United States starting lineup made their first appearance for the U.S.: Llamosa, and midfielders Clint Mathis and Richie Williams. In addition, second-half substitutes Chris Armas, C.J. Brown and Ben Olsen also earned their first caps.

"I thought it was a very good start for us," said Arena. "We got an excellent look at a number of young players who could develop into key contributors for us. Eddie Lewis and Clint Mathis both did well, and I was happy with Carlos Llamosa. And, of course, Zach was exceptional."

The U.S. turned it on offensively early in the second half, setting up a number of good chances from Clint Mathis, Joe-Max Moore and Roy Lassiter, but ultimately couldn't beat Australian goalkeeper Jason Petkovic.

The best chance for the U.S. came in the 49th minute when Llamosa freed Lassiter to run a quick give-and-go with the 21-year-old Mathis, who dribbled into the penalty area and sent a shot just wide of the right post. After Cobi Jones had chased down the ball to keep it alive in the corner, Joe- Max Moore saw his pass from six yards out to a Brian McBride nicked away at the last minute.

Australia almost got on the board in the 79th minute after being awarded an indirect free kick from six yards out when Thornton was ruled to have illegally handled an errant clearance off Jeff Agoos' knee. The ensuing indirect free kick by Australia's Mark Viduka was blocked by the U.S. wall, which included Jones, Agoos, Roy Lassiter, Mark Chung, and Thornton.

The match was the first for the 47-year-old Arena, who was named head coach on October 27. Arena has won nine championships in American soccer since 1989, including five NCAA titles with the University of Virginia and two MLS Cup crowns in three seasons with (Washington) D.C. United.

Next up for U.S. is the FIFA Confederations Cup in Mexico from January 8-20.

United States 0, Australia 0

Lineups: United States - Zach Thornton, Jeff Agoos, Carlos Llamosa, Eddie Pope, Richie Williams (Chris Armas 46), Eddie Lewis (Ben Olsen 73), Clint Mathis (Mark Chung 69), Joe-Max Moore, Cobi Jones, Roy Lassiter (C.J. Brown 92+), Brian McBride. Australia - Jason Petkovic, Brett Emerton, Hayden Foxe, Alex Tobin, Tony Popovic, Kasey Wherman, Lucas Neill, Mark Viduka, Josip Skoko, Damian Mori, Simon Colosimo (Rafael Bove, 92+).

Scoring: none.

Shots: United States 8, Australia 11. Saves: United States 3, Australia 2. Corner kicks: United States 10, Australia 5. Fouls: United States 27, Australia 20. Offside: United States 5, Australia 5. Yellow card caution: United States - Clint Mathis 55, Lassiter 78; Australia - Damian Mori 11, Skoko 20. Red card ejections: United States - Llamosa 90.

Referee: Mike Seifert (Canada). Assistant referees: Eric Roy (Canada), John Nielson (Canada). Attendance: 15,074 at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, Calif. Weather: 49 degrees, wet, sloppy.

Copyright© 1998 Davidson News Group. All Rights Reserved