Men's U.S. Cup
Two goals, two assists, from Jones too much for 4-0 rout of South Africa.By Gary Davidson
Scoreless in his last 10 matches for the Los Angeles Galaxy, Jones found net twice in the first half and assisted two more tallies after intermission as the United States rolled over South Africa in the opener of the Nike U.S. Cup before 16,570 at RFK Stadium.
Jones became the first U.S. player to score twice in one half since forward Brian McBride accomplished it against El Salvador in a World Cup qualifier on November 16, 1997. In eight appearances for the national side in 2000, Jones has five goals and four assists for 14 points, leading the team in each category.
"Obviously, they are two different teams, MLS and he national team," said Jones, who had four goals in his first three MLS games, but last scored in league play April 1. "As far as myself, I’ve been the same thing: just trying to work hard up front and see what opportunities come. A player always looks at it differently, the things that he does. The fact that two goals came out of it makes me happy of course, but I find a variety of things that could make it a good game."
The match was also momentous for defender Jeff Agoos, who not only became the fifth U.S. player to record 100 caps, but turned in an exceptional effort in center of the back line on the field he calls home in MLS. Agoos joined Marcelo Balboa (128), Jones (127), Paul Caligiuri (110), and Eric Wynalda (106).
"This isn’t just my accomplishment alone," Agoos said. "It’s taken a lot of people to get here,"
What was remarkable about Jones’ two tallies were they both with his left foot and also from outside of the penalty area. "Well, it was my left foot, very similar to my right foot," he said. "What do you want to know about it? Everyone here know I’m right-footed, but I think over the years of playing, you become a player who can use both feet. If you’re a forward, you need to be able to get a shot off with both feet."
In the 36th minute, defender Tony Sanneh played a ball from the center stripe down the right flank to midfielder Chris Armas who touched it backward to Jones. He carried horizontally toward the center, marked loosely by David Kannemeyer and from just above the arc rocketed a 25-yarder into the top left corner past the extended, but helpless goalkeeper Andre Arendse to make it 1-0.
"As I was dribbling across the box, the player who was marking me said, ‘Shoot it! Shoot it!’ So I said, ‘OK, I’ll shoot it.’ " Jones said. "I think he was a little bit surprised after the fact."
In the 43rd minute, Jones made it 2-0 on a play started when midfielder Eddie Lewis lofted a left-side corner kick that Arendse punched out of the box. Midfielder Claudio Reyna passed quickly to his left, teeing up Jones for a 22-yard blast that hit a diving keeper’s right arm before settling in the net.
"The first goal was important, but the second goal brought us into the lockerroom with confidence," said U.S. coach Bruce Arena. "We had to weather their pressure in he first 15 minutes of the second half, but with the third goal, Reyna’s goal, the game was over."
In he 65th minute, Reyna made it 3-0 on a play he started in the defensive end with a pass to Brian McBride, who carried down the right side before feeding Jones on the right perimeter of the box. Jones lifted a pass over charging teammates Lewis and McBride to the far post where Reyna calmly sidefooted his shot from seven yards out back into the right corner.
Three minutes later, reserve midfielder Ben Olsen sent a left-side cross into the box where it caromed off McBride’s heel to Jones. In the left-side of the box, Jones tapped it to his right to Earnie Stewart who drilled a 12-yarder into the near corner.
"I struck that ball really well, so I was very pleased with that," Stewart said.
The U.S. next faces Ireland in each team's second U.S. Cup game Tuesday at Foxboro Stadium near Boston at 8 p.m. in a match televised by ESPN. The Americans close with a June 11 meeting with Mexico at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. at 1 p.m., a game to be aired by ABC.
United States 4, South Africa 0Lineups: United States: - Kasey Keller; Tony Sanneh, Carlos Llamosa, Jeff Agoos, David Regis; Earnie Stewart (Steve Ralston 82), Chris Armas, Claudio Reyna (captain), Eddie Lewis (Ben Olsen 66); Brian McBride (Ante Razov 70), Cobi Jones (Jason Kreis 84). South Africa - Andre Arendse; Cyril Nzama, Pierre Issa, Andrew Rabutla, David Kannemeyer (Jacob Lekgetho 73); Helman Mkhalele, Dumisi Ngobe, Thabo Mngomeni, Ivan McKinley (Delron Buckley 33); Benedict McCarthy (George Koumantarakis 73), Shaun Bartlett (captain).
Shots: United States 13, South Africa 12. Saves: United States 3, South Africa 1. Corner kicks: United States 6, South Africa 6. Fouls: United States 9, South Africa 14. Offside: United States 1, South Africa 2. Yellow card cautions: United States - Stewart 77; South Africa - Rebula 14, Issa 77.
Referee: Antonio Marrufo (Mexico). Assistant referees: Jose Martinez (Mexico), Jose Ramos Rizo (Mexico) Attendance: 16,570 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Weather: 78 degrees, clear, breezy.
Gary Davidson is managing editor of SoccerTimes and can be e-mailed at email@example.com.