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Keller’s sprawling stops in penalty-kicks tiebreaker defeats Canada after 0-0 draw, sets up Gold Cup championship date with Costa Rica.

McBride's offensive display answers many questions about his World Cup worthiness.

Process has started for Arena to select 23 good men for World Cup.

McBride's offensive display answers many questions about his World Cup worthiness.

McBride’s penalty kick drops outclassed Cuba 1-0, earns berth in Gold Cup quarterfinals.

Americans accomplished their Gold Cup quarterfinal destination, but their trip was hardly stylish.

Beasley's strike in extra time drops South Korea 2-1 in Gold Cup opener.

Beasley gives U.S. a Gold Cup win in match it easily could have easily lost.

Gold Cup standings, results

U.S. men

Wolff, Agoos goals, another clean sheet by Keller lead to 2-0 triumph over Costa Rica for Gold Cup crown.

PASADENA, Calif. (Saturday, February 2, 2002) -- Striker Josh Wolff and defender Jeff Agoos provided the goals, while a strong defensive performance helped goalkeeper Kasey Keller record his fourth straight shutout, leading the United States to a 2-0 decision over Costa Rica to capture the CONCACAF Gold Cup championship this afternoon at the Rose Bowl.

By outscoring the competition 9-1 in five games here, the U.S. captured its second Gold Cup title -- the first came in the inaugural event in 1991 -- appearing in the final for the fourth time in the sixth repetition of the tournament.

"I thought we had an outstanding performance today and certainly deserved to be the champions," U.S. coach Bruce Arena said. "We improved in every game in the tournament. This victory means a lot. We faced a lot of criticism last year, maybe some deserved, most unwarranted. Even in the beginning of this tournament, we took a lot of criticism. So for the guys to work hard and be deserving of this Cup is very special for both the players and the coaching staff. My evaluation of (the players) is that a number of them will be fighting for roster spots on the World Cup team."

The Americans had their finishing problems throughout this competition and they were evident throughout this contest despite the triumph. In the fifth minute, Wolff touched back to midfielder Cobi Jones for a perfect setup at the penalty spot. With Costa Rica’s goalkeeper Erick Lonnis well off his goal line having come out to play a cross, Jones tried to loft a shot over his head but missed his target a foot to the left.

Wolff put the U.S. ahead for good 1-0 in the 37th minute thanks to some lax defense by the Ticos and poor positioning by Lonnis. Having picked up a loose ball in the back, U.S. defender Frankie Hejduk carried for 10 yards before chipping a long ball in the path of Wolff who was a couple steps ahead of defender Luis Marin. With the inside position, Wolff was able to fight off the challenges of Marin. When Lonnis approached on a line too far to the keeper’s right, Wolff was facing a large target 12 yards away and he calmly used his left foot to roll a shot into the right side net.

The goal was the fourth of Wolff’s career, his last coming against Costa Rica back on April 25, 2001, in a 1-0 World Cup qualifying win for the U.S. in Kansas City, Mo. "I've had my difficulties in the tournament so far," said Wolff. "But that's life as a forward. You have to stick with it and know that if you're getting your chances you're doing something right. To be able to stick one in certainly gives me a lot of confidence."

Seconds into first-half stoppage time, Wolff set up midfielder Landon Donovan for what should have been a 2-0 advantage going into intermission. Lifting his right leg high, Wolff used the outside of his foot to slip a pass between two defenders to give Donovan a clear run on goal. With defender Gilberto Martinez on his back, Donovan carried into the box and had Lonnis go down early, but the American 19-year-old could not chip the ball into the open net, instead knocking it into the prone keeper

Agoos secured the result with a curling 25-yard free kick in the 63rd minute following Reynaldo Parks’ hard foul on Donovan at the penalty arc. With no deception, Agoos spun his left-footer into the right side netting six feet off the ground for the 2-0 advantage.

The tally was the fourth in international play for Agoos and first in six years, dating back to January 21, 1996 in a 3-0 victory over Guatemala.

Twelve minutes later, Donovan struck a volley from almost the same spot and rattled the crossbar.

Keller made four saves, including one sparkling dive to his right post to tip a away Wilmer Lopez's tricky attempt for the corner, for his 27th career shutout and 15th straight victory on U.S. soil.

"Personally it's been fantastic. We continued to build as team from the first game," Keller said. "As each game continued we got a little bit more secure in the back and continued to attack and cause the other team a lot of problems. If we can continue to build on that we're going to be a difficult team to beat. . . We only conceded one goal in the tournament. When you're that strong defensively, you're going to win games."

In the first game, Dwayne DeRosario's first goal of the Gold Cup came in the 35th minute and provided Canada's margin of victory in a 2-1 decision over South Korea for third place.

Notes: The U.S. is now 4-0 against Costa Rica in the Gold Cup, 9-9-4 all-time.

U.S. striker Brian McBride, who led the tournament with four goals, was awarded the Golden Boot as well as the Golden Ball as the competition’s "Most Valuable Player."

"I was really impressed by the way we came together," said McBride. "Winning definitely breeds confidence, but along with that we came together as a team on the field and off. Individual awards are great, but they are sort of a side bar. It's not something you really set out to do. To be honest, the only reason I won this is because of my teammates."

Wolff particularly enjoyed playing with McBride. "Brian is a great player, someone who is easy to play off of as far as being the other forward," Wolff said. "I think we did some good things tonight, as well as in the Canada game. We were able to read each other and play off each other pretty well. He's a big guy. He does a good job holding the ball. I have to be able to do the same thing for him."

Jones reached a milestone with his 150th cap for the U.S., moving him into a tie for fourth place on the all-time list with German legend Lothar Matthaeus.

"It's an awesome feeling. You can't ask for a better result for your 150th cap than to win a championship," Jones said. "It's definitely a benchmark for me. It makes you look back on all the years and all the things I've gone through. I've had a great time with the national team. Hopefully it continues for a little bit longer."

Next up for the U.S. is a trip to Sicily to play Italy on February 13.

United States 2, Costa Rica 0

Costa Rica - Erick Lonnis, Gilberto Martinez, Luis Marin (Walter Centeno 46), Reynaldo Parks, Carlos Castro, Mauricio Solis, Wilmer Lopez, Steven Bryce, Harold Wallace (Hernan Medford 59), Ronald Gomez, Paulo Wanchope. United States - Kasey Keller, Frankie Hejduk, Pablo Mastroeni, Jeff Agoos, Carlos Bocanegra, Cobi Jones - captain (Brian West 85), Chris Armas, Eddie Lewis, Landon Donovan, Brian McBride (Clint Mathis 89), Josh Wolff (Richie Williams 79).

Scoring:
United States - Wolff (Hejduk) 37.
United States - Agoos (unassisted) 63.

Sshots: Costa Rica 12, United States 16. Saves: Costa Rica 2, United States 4. Corner kicks: Costa Rica 5, United States 12. Fouls: Costa Rica 21, United States 12. Offside: Costa Rica 3, United States 6. Yellow card cautions: Costa Rica - Bryce 74; United States - Armas 17, Mathis 91+.

Referee: Carlos Batres (Guatemala). Assistant referees: Michael Ragoonath (Trinidad & Tobago), Curtis Charles (Antigua). Attendance: 14,432 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Weather: 69 degrees, warm, sunny.

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