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Moore, Keller lead shocking 1-0 upset of Argentina in D.C.

By Gary Davidson
SoccerTimes

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sunday, June 13, 1999) -- United States midfielder Joe-Max Moore would have liked to have started, but he was certainly glad he was around to finish.

Moore's dramatic goal in the 88th minute off an Ernie Stewart back-heel pass gave the U.S. a 1-0 stunning victory over Argentina Sunday before 40,119 at RFK Stadium in one of the most impressive American triumphs ever.

"I knew I struck it well. I was just hoping it was on goal," said Moore who replaced cramping starter Eddie Lewis on the midfield flank in the 60th minute. "When I looked up and saw the keeper on the wrong foot a little bit, I knew it was going in."

Moore's heroics would not have been possible if not for a stellar performance by goalkeeper Kasey Keller, who stopped an Argentine penalty kick in the first half and a made a sliding point-blank stop late in the game.

"When you look back at this game, people will remember two key plays: Keller's save of the penalty kick and Joe-Max's goal, both of which were excellent," said U.S. coach Bruce Arena, now 4-1-2 since replacing Steve Sampson.

The U.S. scored on a counterattack, a minute minutes after Argentine striker Gustavo Lopez drove a 24-yard shot two yards wide of the far right post. The Americans quickly moved the ball up to another reserve, striker Roy Lassiter in the attacking zone.

Lassiter quickly sent a pass to Stewart at the top of the penalty area. Stewart put his back-heel right in front of Moore, who blasted his 19th international goal 17 yards into the top left corner.

"Ernie played a great ball," said Moore, now the third all-time U.S. goal-scorer. "He played it right into my stride, right on my left foot. I just struck it hard and on goal. I as going to make a run on the outside of him. Then I saw him cutting wide and I yelled at him, 'Ernie, back-heel it.' It was perfect."

Moore might not have been called on at all if it weren't for his versatility. "We had talked about playing the middle of midfield, up front and on the right side," Moore said. "Those three positions I can come in and play well. Fortunately I did that today . . . I'm happy for the guys starting. I'm there to root them on on the bench. I'm glad I was able to come on and make an impact on the game. Hopefully we can continue this in the Confederations Cup."

The match seemed to turn in Argentina's favor in the 40th minute when U.S. defender C.J. Brown was called for tripping Lopez in the box though the foul seemed to be initiated outside the 18-yard-line. Lopez drove his penalty kick low, but straight on and Keller quickly dropped to his left to control it.

"There really wasn't much to it," said Keller, making his first appearance for Arena. "Lopez stepped up. He really didn't look at me too much. He was concentrating. I was doing a little movement there hopefully trying to keep him off his guard which I don't know if it did or didn't. But when he stepped up the ball, I had a feeling he was going to try to drive it and he was going to try to drive it to my left. I made a guess, I went to my left and I got a hand to it. The ball could have gone anywhere, but it kind of came back up my body and I was able to smother it. It was great to have it in my hands."

In the 63d minute, the U.S. nearly took a 1-0 lead when Claudio Reyna, who played an exceptional game as the controlling midfielder, sent a ball into the left side of the box. Tony Sanneh made a twisting, diving header that hit off the top right corner of the goal frame.

Four minutes later, Sanneh fell allowing Argentina a break, but Keller slid out for a point blank save on an open Christian Gonzalez in the right side of the box, with the ball spinning wide of the left post.

"That was probably more difficult than the penalty save," Keller said. "A lot of luck. I narrowed the angle well, I stepped up and was able to make the reaction. That's the save I was really happy about."

Keller was playing behind a make-shift defense with probable starters Eddie Pope, David Regis and Carlos Llamosa all absent because of injuries. Robin Fraser centered Jeff Agoos (on the left) and Brown, who were caught disorganized several times in the first half, but played better after intermission. Gregg Berhalter replaced Fraser in the 69th minute and was strong down the stretch.

"What's nice is the depth now," Keller said. "If you had asked me six months or a year ago if we had the depth to miss those players and say that we could beat a team like Argentina, I would have probably said, 'Well, probably, I don't think so.' It just shows MLS is really beginning to help the development of a lot of young players in America.

After losing the first four games of its all-time series with Argentina, the United States has now won two in a row against the two-time World Cup champions. Prior to today, the U.S. handed Argentina a 3-0 loss during Copa America 95 in Paysandu, Uruguay.

United States 1, Argentina 0

Lineups: United States - Kasey Keller, Robin Fraser (Gregg Berhalter 69), Jeff Agoos, C.J. Brown, Eddie Lewis (Joe-Max Moore 60) , Chris Armas, Claudio Reyna (captain), Tony Sanneh, Jovan Kirovski, Cobi Jones (Roy Lassiter 77), Ernie Stewart; Argentina - German Burgos, Javier Zanetti, Roberto Ayala (captain), Mauricio Ponchettino, Hugo Ibarra, Claudio Husain, Diego Simeone, Anders Guglielminpietro, Pablo Aimar (Christian Gonzalez 60), Gustavo Lopez, Julio Cruz (Fernando Pandolfi 78).

Scoring:
United States - Moore (Stewart) 88.

Shots: United States 14, Argentina 17. Saves: United States 7, Argentina 4. Corner kicks: United States 9, Argentina 4. Fouls: United States 10, Argentina 9. Offside: United States 6, Argentina 0. Yellow card caution: United States - Moore 66. Argentina Ponchettino 62, Pandolfi 82.

Referee: Rodrigo Badilla (Costa Rica). Assistant referees: Luis Torres (Costa Rica), Erick Mora (Costa Rica). Attendance: 40,119 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Weather: 79 degrees, sunny, occasional drizzle.

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