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American offensive explosion in 4-0 romp over Honduras mitigated by weakness of opponent.

Italians are fortunate to come away with 1-0 victory over U.S. on Del Piero goal.

U.S. generated no real attack in setback to Italy, but scrappy defense was impressive.

U.S. men

Mathis, Donovan each net pair in 4-0 rout of overmatched Honduras.

SEATTLE (Saturday, March 2, 2002) -- Clint Mathis and Landon Donovan each found net twice as the United States romped 4-0 past an overmatched Honduras this afternoon in a friendly before 38,534 at SAFECO Field.

"I thought it was a good effort. We had a good afternoon," said U.S. coach Bruce Arena. "We're playing well, and when we get everybody healthy and on the field at the same time, and together for an extended period of time, we can be a dangerous team."

Honduras started only two of the players who were in the opening 11 for the 3-2 upset of the U.S in World Cup qualifying September 1 at RFK stadium in Washington, D.C. Having failed to qualify for the Cup, the Hondurans resembled a side just going through the motions.

"We did well after the first 15 minutes," Arena said. "The first 15, we were slow and hesitant and dealing with Honduras going forward. We got that sorted out. It was disappointing in the first 43 minutes to only be up 1-0, we didnít have enough to show for it. We got the second goal in the 44th minute."

With Mathis, starting his first game for the U.S. in almost a year, and Donovan, two days from his 20th birthday, both scoring twice, the Americans had multiple-goal scorers in the same game for the first time since defeating El Salvador 7-0 on December 5, 1993, a span of 144 games.

"Iím coming out of rehab and getting more in shape," Mathis said. "This game was good for my confidence. If you had to ask me for a percentage, Iím only at 90 percent. I just need to keep playing some games. Playing in games is different from being in practice. When it comes to playing in games, your timing is different."

The U.S. had its first great scoring chance in the fifth minute when Mathis fought off a defender on the left flank to send a cross into the box. Fellow striker Brian McBride flicked the ball into the face of the goal for midfielder Brian Maisonneuve whose sliding shot was turned away by goalkeeper Victor Coello.

Nine minutes later, the U.S. did take a 1-0 advantage. Defender Jeff Agoos send a free kick from near the center stripe into the right side of the box to McBride who elevated to head the ball to Mathis in the middle. From a step in front of the penalty spot, Mathis snapped a header just inside the left post past Coello who was slow to react.

American keeper Kasey Keller made only one save on the day, but it was a beauty in the 28th minute to preserve the lead. Honduras defender Rony Morales split American backs Eddie Pope and Pablo Mastroeni with a pass that sent forward Saul Martinez in alone on goal. From 14 yards out, Martinez triggered a low shot, but Keller, who come seven yards off his line, got down quickly. As the ball traveled below him, he stopped it with his right arm, then quickly scrambled to collect the rebound.

"That was one of the few times the defense got out of shape," Keller said. "Martinez was slipped a good ball but the key is that the defense didnít give up and the player only had one area to shoot. The defensive pressure makes it easier for me to make the save. It was great to pick up like this after (winning) the Gold Cup."

Midfielder Chris Armas made the second U.S. goal happen, collecting a loose ball at the center line and making a solo run to the top of the Honduras box before touching to Donovan who had slipped behind the lax Honduras back line. Donovan carried on an angle to his left, waiting for Coello to make his dive before taking an extra couple steps and sending a left-footer into the unattended net to make it 2-0 in the 44th minute.

"We don't give up too many goals. If we get two goals in the first half, like we did, we are very comfortable going forward," said Donovan who played in the midfield rather than up top. "If you had asked me before the Gold Cup, I would have said I feel more comfortable up front, but now maybe in the midfield.Ē

The U.S. made it 3-0 in the 59th minute with a great passing combination. Midfielder Eddie Lewis, who had come in on the left flank to start the second half, played give-and-go with DaMarcus Beasley whose return pass sent Lewis free into the corner for a cross. McBride went flat on the ground to flick a header into the goal moth where a charging Mathis drilled it home from five yards.

"I donít think we could ask for a better result coming off a Gold Cup win. Weíre really progressing on to the World Cup," Mathis said.

Eight minutes later, McBride saved a ball on the touch line, starting a sequence in which reserve midfielder Brian West set up Donovan for a breakaway past two defenders who chose to pull up rather than take the American down. Coello was equally feeble with Donovan just stepping past him and touching his shot home from six yards for a 4-0 margin.

Keller, a native of Lacey, Wash., who provided 69 tickets for family and friends, improved his unbeaten record on U.S. soil to 12-0-4 since 1998. The U.S. is 5-1-1 in 2002 with five shutouts.

"The support here was great. To get 38,000 fans for a friendly was great," Keller said. "I had a tremendous week, and to finish it out with a 4-0 win was spectacular. There should be more games scheduled here in the Northwest."

The U.S. moves on to Birmingham, Ala., where it will train this week before a match against Ecuador Sunday, March 10, at Legion Field at 4 p.m. (ET). ABC and Telemundo will televise the game.

Keller is one American who will not be with the team, having to rejoin his club, Tottenham Hotspur in Englandís Premier League.

"I want to play in as many games as possible and obviously it's disappointing to not be able to play next week," Keller said. "My mom had moved to Birmingham and I was hopeful of possibly being able to play in two games. Next week is another big game that is disappointing to have to miss. Hopefully I will be released for another game in the future."

United States 4, Honduras 0

Lineups: United States - Kasey Keller (captain), Jeff Agoos (Eddie Lewis 46), Eddie Pope, Pablo Mastroeni, Richard Mulrooney, Chris Armas (Bobby Convey 62), DaMarcus Beasley (Richie Williams 62), Brian Maisonneuve (Brian West 46), Landon Donovan, Clint Mathis (Jeff Cunningham 67), Brian McBride. Honduras - Victor Coello, David Carcamo, Sergio Mendoza, Jaime Rosales, Rony Morales, Robel Bernardez (Oscar Bonilla 81), Jose Luis Pineda (captain), Edgar Alvarez, Daniel Turcios (Junior Izaguirre 89), Saul Martinez (Jerry Palacios 80), Limberth Perez (Cesar Obando 61).

Scoring:
United States - Mathis (McBride) 14.
United States - Donovan (Armas) 44.
United States - Mathis (Brian McBride) 59.
United States - Donovan (Brian West) 67.

Shots: United States 11, Honduras 3. Saves: United States 1, Honduras 4. Corner kicks: United States3, Honduras 3. Fouls: United States 14, Honduras 16. Offside: United States 3, Honduras 2. Yellow card cautions: United States - Donovan 45; Honduras - Pineda 57, Martinez 78.

Referee: Jerry Proctor (Canada). Assistant referees: Simon Fearn (Canada), Martin Reed (Canada). Attendance: 38,534 at SAFECO Field in Seattle. Weather: 52 degrees; sunny, cold.

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