Nike U.S. Cup
U.S. defeats Guatemala 3-1, must beat or tie Mexico to take title; Moore lost to red card.By Robert Wagman
LOS ANGELES (Thursday, March 11, 1999) -- The United States recorded a solid team effort tonight, but the 3-1 victory over Guatemala in Nike U.S. Cup competition did not come without a loss.
Brian McBride had a goal and an assist, while Joe Max Moore and Frankie Hejduk each contributed a goal before 34,154 at Los Angeles Coliseum. But Moore was sent off with a red card in injury time, disqualifying him for Saturday’s much anticipated match with Mexico at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.
The U.S. needs a win or a tie over Mexico, which defeated Bolivia 2-1 tonight, to capture its national Cup for the third time in its sixth rendition. The Americans are without a win -- 0-3-3 -- against Mexico since a memorable 4-0 rout of their southern neighbors in the 1995 U.S. Cup.
Furthermore, playmaker Claudio Reyna, who was scheduled to arrive from Germany today, will not make the trip because of complications with his wife’s pregnancy.
After Moore’s significant contribution against Guatemala, first in the midfield and then up top, his absence against Mexico will be noticeable.
"It was an unnecessary card to show at that point in the match although clearly Moore reacted badly." U.S. coach Bruce Arena said. "We’re certainly going to miss him on Saturday."
Guatemala midfielder Erick Miranda was also expelled. Moore denied throwing an elbow, as accused.
"We cleared the ball and he kicked me in the back of the leg," Moore said. "I hit him with my shoulder and he made a meal of it. I only hit him with my shoulder, but I didn’t elbow him."
The U.S. won its third straight match and is undefeated (3-0-2) under Arena heading into Saturday’s meeting of intense rivals. Defender Eddie Pope and midfielder Cobi Jones, both World Cup starters, and goalkeeper were on hand, but not in uniform tonight. All three are expected to start Saturday. Defender Robin Fraser, who did not dress, and defender David Regis, a World Cup veteran who did not leave the bench, also should see action against Mexico.
"Right now we want to get as many of our players exposure at this level as we can," Arena said. "It was a good game by some of our younger players."
Moore gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead in the 22d minute. Midfielder Richie Williams intercepted a pass and fed D.C. United midfield mate Ben Olsen on the right flank. Olsen quickly sent a pass to the left side of the penalty area where striker Brian McBride went high above defender German Ruano to center a header. Moore slid in feet first to poke in a seven-yard shot into the left corner.
"The ball came right at me and I simply reacted," Moore said.
McBride made it 2-0 in the 37th minute. After the U.S. used a quick series of passes to switch its attack from the left wing to the right side, striker Ante Razov fed overlapping defender C.J. Brown deep in the corner. Brown fought off two defenders before returning a pass to Razov, who sent a swinging cross to McBride. McBride twisted his body, and as his defender fell on his face, directed a header deep into the far right corner.
"It’s important for everyone to play together," McBride said. "I thought we had a number of good combinations in the first half."
Guatemala narrowed its deficit to 2-1 in the 52d minute on a Jorge Perez penalty kick. U.S. goalkeeper Zach Thornton stumbled, then could not hold Martin Machon’s long entry pass. The ball rolled to the feet of Ramirez, who cut left toward the center of the box, but was clipped in the heels by Eddie Lewis for the foul before he could launch a shot into the unguarded net.
"It was a bad mistake by Zach that gave them a goal," Arena said. "It let Guatemala back in the match and it was a struggle after that."
McBride nearly netted his second goal in the 65th minute after hitting a strong header off an Eddie Lewis cross, but the keeper acrobatically parried the shot over the crossbar.
In the first minute of stoppage time, moments after Moore had exited to a shower of trash from the Guatemalan fans, Lewis sent a free kick from the left touchline straight to the head a charging Frankie Hejduk. The reserve midfielder drilled a seven-yard shot into the upper left of the goal.
The tally could carry great importance because of the distinct possibility the Cup will be decided by goal differential.
"I guess you could call that a rommmates goal," said Hejduk, who shared accommodations with Lewis when they were students at UCLA. "Eddie put it right on my head and all I needed to do was head it. I made a good run to get there, but it was funny because I never score with my head."
United States 3, Guatemala 1Lineups: United States - Zach Thornton, Jeff Agoos, Carlos Llamosa, C.J. Brown, Eddie Lewis, Richie Williams, Joe-Max Moore, Ben Olsen (Frankie Hejduk 63), Jovan Kirovski, Ante Razov (Chris Armas 60), Brian McBride; Guatemala - Edgar Estrada, Julio Giron, German Ruano, Ivan Leon (Catolino Molina 51) Edgar Valencia, Martin Machon, Jorge Perez, Guillermo Ortega, Erick Miranda, Claudio Rojas, Carlos Ruiz (Julio Rodas 46).
Shots: United States 14, Guatemala 9. Saves: United States 2, Guatemala 6. Corner kicks: United States 9, Guatemala 2. Fouls: United States 17, Guatemala 25. Offside: United States 3, Guatemala 3. Yellow card cautions: United States - Agoos 56; Guatemala - Perez 25, Ruano 68, Giron 75. Red card ejections: United States - Moore 91; Guatemala - Miranda 91.
Referee: Jose Robles (Mexico). Assistant referees: Alfonso Alcala (Mexico), Hector Degadilla (Mexico). Attendance: 34,154 for doubleheader at Los Angeles Coliseum. Weather: 65 degrees, cloudy.