Olympic men's qualifying
Summer Games stand one win away for U.S. after 0-0 draw with Canada.HERSHEY, Pa. (Tuesday, April 25, 2000) -- The United States needed no more than a tie to win Group D of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament and that’s exactly what the American under-23s accomplished.
Despite losing team captain Brian Dunseth to a red card ejection and lacking scoring punch up front, the U.S. tied Canada 0-0 before, 5,798 at Hersheypark Stadium tonight and will play Group E runnerup Guatemala Friday at 8 p.m. (ET) with the victor qualifying for the Summer Games in Sydney in September.
The U.S., which has qualified for the last five Olympics, finished 1-0-1 in group play for four points followed by Honduras (1-1, 3 points) and Canada (0-2, 0 points)
"We came in here wanting to play in the semi-finals on Friday, and that's exactly where we are," U.S. coach Clive Charles said. "We've never been in a situation where, after one game, we're virtually already in the semifinals. It's quite possible the team let that affect their play. We weren't as pumped up as we were this past Friday, that's for sure."
The U.S. will play without defender and captain Brian Dunseth, who will be suspended for the remainder of the tournament after getting his second yellow card of the event -- which would have caused him to sit out Friday – and then later getting ejected with a red card.
With tonight's shutout, the U.S. is the only of six teams in he final round not to yield a goal in opening round. After their 3-0 victory over Honduras on Friday, the Americans came into tonight's game knowing that they could still lose by two goals and win their group.
The first good scoring chance of the game came when Canadian defender Jeff Clarke laid a ball back across the box to an unmarked Paul Stalteri, who blasted it inches outside the post into the side netting in the 19th minute.
The best U.S. chance came in the 41st minute when forward Chris Albright streaked past a defender in the right side of the box and shot for the far corner. Canada goalkeeper Mike Franks dove to his right and stretched to make the save, but he gave up a short rebound. Albright's running mate Conor Casey pounced on the loose ball at the far post, but knocked it in the side netting wide of the left post under pressure from two Canada defenders.
Controversy capped the first half, when Dunseth was fouled and then involved in a shoving match with Canada's Steve Kindel in the opening seconds of injury time. First Dunseth was given a red card for violent conduct, then Kindel received a delayed red card from El Salvador referee Neftali Recinos.
The severity of the ejection means that the U.S. team captain will miss both Friday's match versus Guatemala and the match on Sunday. He will be replaced by Friday by Dan Califf.
"I apologized to them, and everyone on the team said ‘Don't worry about it, we have Friday,’ " said Dunseth, who was issued a his second caution of the tournament in the 33rd minute and would have been suspended for Friday’s semifinal already. "They already knew I was out for the next game for the yellow card anyway."
Mexico, which beat Jamaica 3-0 in tonight’s opener, will face Honduras in Friday’s 5:30 p.m. semifinal with that winner also earning one of CONCACAF’s two berths in the Olympics. Sunday’s championship match is purely ceremonial with no consequences on qualification.
Even after what the officials undoubtedly hoped would be a 15-minute "cooling off" period at halftime, the rough, choppy play picked up where the first half left off and yellow cards continued to fly out of Recinos' chest pocket. Three yellow cards, all given to Canada, were given out in the first four minutes after intermission.
"As soon as we all got into the locker room, we just kept saying to ourselves ‘Friday night, let's get it right'," said defender Chad McCarty.
United States 0, Canada 0Lineups: United States - Tim Howard; Ramiro Corrales, Brian Dunseth (captain), Chad McCarty (Dan Califf 72), Steve Cherundolo, John Thorrington, John O'Brien, Ben Olsen, Peter Vagenas (Brian Winters 64); Conor Casey, Chris Albright (Josh Wolff 64). Canada - Mike Franks; Steve McCauley (Kevan Cameron 65), Richard Hastings, Kevin McKenna, Jeff Clarke, Robbie Aristodemo (Patrice Bernier 88), Jeff Skinner, Jason Bent, Paul Stalteri, Dwayne DeRosario, Steve Kindel.
Scoring: none. Shots: United States 11, Canada 7. Saves: United States 2, Canada 3. Corner kicks: United States 3, Canada 3. Fouls: United States 17, Canada 25. Offside: United States 3, Canada 4. Yellow card cautions: United States - Albright 25, Dunseth 33. Canada - Hastings 46, Clarke 47, Staltieri 49, Bernier 92+. Red card ejections: United States - Dunseth 46+; Canada - Kindel 46+.
Referee: Neftali Recinos. Referee assistants: Clemroy Francois, Peter Kelly. Attendance: 5,798 at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, Pa. Weather: 60 degrees; cool, crisp.