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Foreign-based players predominate American 0-0 draw with Ecuador.

COLUMBUS, Ohio. (Thursday, June 7, 2001) -- The United States men battled a strong Ecuador to a spirited 0-0 draw at Columbus Crew Stadium this evening in the team’s last preparation match prior to three World Cup qualifying games between June 16 and July 1.

The U.S. fielded a roster made up predominantly of foreign-based U.S. stars, including forwards Jovan Kirovski and Joe-Max Moore, who were making their first and second U.S. appearances of the year, respectively. The line-up also featured four players earning their first caps for the U.S., including Major League Soccer defenders in starter Mike Petke of the MetroStars and Pablo Mastroeni (Miami Fusion), as well as European-based midfielders Joe Enochs (VfL Osnabruck, Germany) and John Thorrington (Huddersfield Town, England).

"It was good to see some of the new young faces and to get a cap for guys like Petke and Mastroeni, who I thought played well," U.S. coach Bruce Arena said. "Thorrington and Enochs made it four newcomers out there, so that was good to see. What we were really pleased with was that we got Moore, (John) O’Brien, Kirovski and our European players some fitness before the match next weekend. I think it was a good game for us to have in preparation for the matches later this month. It was a good game for a friendly, and I thought Ecuador was a great opponent out there."

Kirovski looked exceedingly dangerous up front for the United States, unleashing a game-high six shots, including four in the first half. His Ecuadorian counterpart, Agustin Delgado (who scored the 90th minute game-winner for Ecuador in its World Cup qualifying win over Peru last Saturday) was also an offensive threat, leading Ecuador with five shots and earning a number of breakaways as the South American visitors consistently attacked through the middle of the pitch. Ecuador started eight of 11 players who participated against Peru.

"I thought I was a little unlucky," Kirovski said. "We made a few good chances, the goalkeeper made a couple very good saves. I was getting good balls played into me. I thought we defended really well. We did OK keeping the ball. Overall a pretty good game. We gave them a few chances. They put a lot of pressure on us. I think we had most of the chances and the better of the play."

Employing a 3-5-2 line-up which included Tony Sanneh and John O’Brien playing in the defensive midfield and Steve Cherundolo on the right flank, the U.S. created a number of opportunities in the first half including a 10-yard attempt from Kirovski in the 20th minute which challenged Ecuador goalkeeper Geovanny Ibarra to tip the ball over the crossbar.

"A lot of us hadn’t played in a lot of weeks (since the end of the European season), and we had some young players getting their first caps tonight, so there were a lot of positives in putting together such a strong effort against a side like Ecuador," said U.S. goalkeeper and Ohio native Brad Friedel, one of nine foreign-based players in the U.S. starting lineup.

The match marked the third consecutive shutout for the U.S. men at Crew Stadium, where they first battled Costa Rica to a scoreless World Cup qualifying draw last October and then defeated Mexico 2-0 earlier this year to begin their current 3-0 run in the final round of qualifying. The U.S. currently leads their six-team, 10-game CONCACAF World Cup final round qualifying group by five points over Costa Rica, Mexico and Jamaica.

"The result or the game is satisfactory, especially against an excellent rival like the U.S. I was very impressed with the U.S.'s team ability in this game," said Ecuador coach Hernan Dario Gomez. "They have improved a lot. I congratulated our team in the locker room. I liked the game very much, and they did put one great effort in this match. Basically this game is preparation for us. It is the type of different opponent and style that we might face in Copa America. That's why I liked this game so much. Both teams played as a unit without the need to compare individual players."

Notes: Fans and players in attendance observed a moment of silence just before kickoff in honor of former U.S. Soccer Federation president Werner Fricker, who passed away after a brief illness on May 30.

The U.S. is still winless against Ecuador, going 0-4-4, and is 4-2-1 in 2001.

United States 0, Ecuador 0

Lineups: United States - Brad Friedel, Mike Petke, Robin Fraser, Gregg Berhalter (Pablo Mastroeni 46), Steve Cherundolo (John Thorrington 71), John O’Brien, Tony Sanneh (Joe Enochs 62, Richie Williams 91+), Eddie Lewis, Claudio Reyna, Jovan Kirovski, Joe-Max Moore. Ecuador - Geovanny Ibarra, Ulises de la Cruz, Ivan Hurtado, Geovanny Espinosa;, Raul Guerron, Kleber Chala, Edison Mendez, Edwin Tenorio, Wellington Sanchez (Walter Ayovi 63), Juan Francisco Aguinaga, Agustin Delgado

Scoring: none.

Shots: United States 14, Ecuador 11. Saves: United States 1, Ecuador 3. Corner kicks: United States 7, Ecuador 4. Fouls: United States 14, Ecuador 18. Offside: United States 5, Ecuador 7. Yellow card cautions: United States - Sanneh 54, Kirovski 83; Ecuador - Tenorio 64, Guerron 84.

Referee: Jose Farias (Canada). Assistant referees: Eric Roy (Canada), Neil Schofield (Canada). Attendance: 12,572 at Columbus (Ohio) Crew Stadium. Weather: 71 degrees, clear.

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