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Men's U.S. Cup

McBride, Hejduk, Razov score; Americans take own title 3-0 over makeshift Mexico.

By Robert Wagman

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (Sunday, June 11, 2000) -- It has been five years since the United States could say it has dominated Mexico. But it did so today in Giants Stadium, capturing the Nike U.S. Cup with an easy 3-0 victory over a makeshift Mexican national team before 45,008 fans.

Brian McBride
Brian McBride
The U.S. got goals from Brian McBride, and second-half substitutes Frankie Hejduk and Ante Razov, plus solid play both in the midfield and on defense, easily defeating an overmatched Mexican team made up primarily of players from the Pumas UNAM club team.

"I thought we did well today," said U.S. coach Bruce Arena. "Our defense was very strong. We got very good play from our back line. (Carlos) Llamosa and (Jeff) Agoos played very well. We had good ball movement and we came at them. I was very leased with the effort and the result."

The U.S., which needed a victory or a tie to win the Cup, finished 2-0-1. Mexico, which would have taken the trophy with a victory, was 1-1-1. Ireland (1-1-1) claimed second place with a 2-1 victory over South Africa (0-3) behind goals from Steven McPhail and Niall Quinn, whose 20th international goal tied Ireland's Frank Stapleton for the country's all-time scoring mark.

The U.S. victory ended a three-match winning streak for Mexico over the Americans in this competition. After losing to the U.S. in 1995, Mexico won in 1996, 1997 and 1999.

"I give a yellow card to the Mexican federation for not planning the national team's schedule adequately," Mexicoís coach Hugo Sanchez said. "I hope in the future this does not repeat itself again. This was an accidental national team. We just didn't have the right weapons to win."

This match essentially ended in the 69th minute with the U.S. leading 1-0. Cobi Jones pounced on an open ball deep in the Mexican half of midfield where defender Christian Ramirez reached out and pulled him down. Jamacian referee Peter Prendergast awarded him his second yellow card of the afternoon, and Mexico was reduced to 10 players. From that point on it was all U.S.

"Actually, I thought both teams hit a wall with the heat in about the 65th minute," Arena said. "Then they went a player down and we got the second goal and essentially it was all over."

After Ramirez left, the U.S. swarmed around the Mexican goal. In the 75th minute, midfielder Claudio Reyna found himself alone in the center of the box facing an open goal. His shot was cleared off the line by defender Raul Alpizon.

Then, in the 79th minute, Hejduk, who had entered the match three minutes earlier, took advantage of his fresh legs. He broke free from a tired defense and pushed the ball to an open sriker Cobi Jones. Jonesí rather soft shot was pushed aside into the right post by Mexican keeper Sergio Bernal. Hedjuk had continued his run and was there for the rebound, which he pushed into the open net to make it 2-0.

"Hey, I got to do my dance," Hedjuk said. "I'm glad I got in and that I could finally contribute. I just wanted the chance to play. I'm happy."

The U.S. increased its advantage to 3-0 in the 85th minute. Forward Ante Razov, who came in only four minutes earlier, pounced on an errant back pass, dribbled in alone on Bernal and pushed a shot under him.

The U.S. came out of the first half leading 1-0. In the early going, both sides expended a great deal of energy in the midfield. In the first 20 minutes, the U.S. had a couple of looks at the Mexican goal, but nothing serious materialized. Mexico had its first shot on goal in the 27th minute, but it was easily saved by Keller.

A minute later, Claudio Reyna made a long weaving run into the penalty area but shot wide.

The U.S. finally broke through in the 33rd minute with a picture goal. Defender Tony Sanneh headed a ball clear to Earnie Stewart in the midfield. Stewart fed it ahead to Jones, then overlapped to take a return pass and carried it deep into the box on the right side. Stewart beat two defenders to the end line and then pulled the ball back to McBride who was running diagonally across the box. McBride scored off his first touch.

Mexico had several decent first-half chances, the best in the dying minutes. Isreal Lopez, got free from defender David Regis in the U.S. penalty area and sent the ball back sharply across the middle. No Mexican, however, was there to convert and the ball rolled harmlessly wide.

The U.S. line-up was the same as started in June 3ís opening 4-0 victory over South Africa with the exception that John O'Brien played left midfield in place of Eddie Lewis who is slowed by a shoulder injury.

"The pressure was on us today," Arena said. "Given the problems Mexico had in choosing a team, we would have been ridiculed if we had lost. They were not a bad side. They have good talent and they play well together. We are the ones who had everything to lose."

United States 3, Mexico 0

Lineups: United States - Kasey Keller, Tony Sanneh, Carlos Llamosa (Gregg Berhalter 71), Jeff Agoos, David Regis, Earnie Stewart (Frankie Hejduk 76), Chris Armas, Claudio Reyna (captain), John O'Brien (Ben Olsen 64), Brian McBride (Ante Razov 81), Cobi Jones (Jovan Kirovski. 89). Mexico - Sergio Bernal, Joaquin Beltran, Isreal Lopez (captain), Gerrado Torrado, Luis Perez (Luis Ignacio Gonzalez 66), Paulo Cesar Chavez (Carlos Carino 85), Horacio Sanchez (Jaime Lozano 46), Jesus Olalde, Christian Ramirez Raul Lapizar, Daniel Orsono (Ignacio Flores 77).

United States - McBride (Stewart) 33.
United States - Hejduk (Jones) 79.
United States - Razov (unassisted) 85.

Shots: United States 17, Mexico 9. Saves: United States 4, Mexico 3. Corner kicks: United States 2, Mexico 6. Fouls: United States 14, Mexico 15. Offside: United States 3, Mexico 7. Yellow card cautions: United States - Regis 39, Hejduk 86; Mexico - Lopez 39, Ramirez 41. Red card ejection: Mexico - Ramirez (second yellow card) 70.

Referee: Peter Prendergast (Jamaica). Assistant referees: Ricardo Morgan (Jamaica), Pernell LaTouche (Jamaica). Attendance: 45,008 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Weather: 90 degrees, hazy, 50 percent humidity.

Ireland 2, South Africa 1

Lineups: South Africa - Andre Arendse, Cyril Nzama, Andrew Rabutla, Jacob Lekgetho, Aaron Mokoena, Quinton Fortune (Arthur Zwane 75), Dumisi Ngobe (Patrick Mayo 46), Helman Mkhalele (Thabo Mngomeni 75), Benni McCarthy (Dillon Sheppard 46), Delron Buckley (Godfrey Sapula 46), Shaun Barlett (captain). Ireland - Shay Given, Stephen Carr, Terry Phelan, Phil Babb, Gary Breen, Jason McAteer (Mark Kennedy 45), Matt Holland, Stephen McPhail (Barry Quinn 86), Alan Mahon (Kevin Kilbane 42), Dominic Foley (Robbie Keane 46), Niall Quinn (captain).

South Africa - McCarthy (Bartlett) 14.
Ireland - McPhail (unassisted) 43.
Ireland - Quinn (Kennedy) 69.

Shots: Mexico 21, Ireland 10. Saves: Mexico 2, Ireland 2. Corner kicks: Mexico 7, Ireland 7. Fouls: Mexico 16, Ireland 10. Offside: Mexico 4, Ireland 0. Yellow card cautions: Ireland - Quinn 11, McAteer 88; Mexico - Sancho 15, Perez 40.

Referee: n/a. Assistant referees: n/a. Attendance: 45,008 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Weather: 90 degrees, hot, hazy.

Senior correspondent Robert Wagman can be e-mailed at bobwagman@soccertimes.com.

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