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Beasley's pair sparks 3-0 victory over Grenada to open qualifing series.

Second-half goals relieve pressure on U.S. for Grenada return leg.

McBride's two goals spark 4-0 romp over Honduras as Reyna reaches 100-cap milestone.

U.S. heads into qualifying on positive note after drubbing Honduras.

Pope knocks home rebound in stoppage time to defeat Mexico 1-0.

U.S. put in impressive effort against Mexico, even before Pope won it.

Beasley goal defeats Poland 1-0, hands Arena first win over host Europeans.

Gritty American effort defeats Poland for first win of 2004.

Califf's tally late in stoppage time salvages 1-1 draw with Haiti.

Outplayed by Haiti, Americans are fortunate to gain 1-1 draw.

Goal by teen Robben sends Netherlands past U.S. 1-0.

Netherlands was clearly superior in victory over Americans.

  • Mission accomplished for Americans against Grenada.

    U.S. men

    Americans take it to next round with 3-2 defeat of Grenada.

    ST. GEORGE'S, Grenada (Sunday, June 20, 2004) -- Everybody seemed to leave happy.

    The United States men earned advancement to the CONCACAF semifinal qualifying round, using this afternoon's 3-2 decision to complete an aggregate 6-2 second-round victory over Grenada. The Grenadians seemed thrilled to have given the mighty Americans a test and to have scored in their home leg.

    The capacity 15,267 at the National Cricket Stadium, braving a steady and, at times, torrential rain, cheered throughout. The crowd even gave the Americans an ovation as they entered the stadium. The normal greeting on the road in qualifying for U.S. players is boos, and the tossing of bottles, garbage, and as goalkeeper Kasey Keller put it, "the occasional half-eaten hot dog."

    The field, soaked with large puddles even before play began, made creative play an impossibility. Passes and clearances frequently stopped dead in large pools of water. Players head tremendous difficulty keeping their footing.

    "It was a good game," U.S. manager Bruce Arena said. "I thought the field conditions made it difficult for both teams. These games tend to be games of mistakes. You need to be alert for 90 minutes. I give the team from Grenada a lot of credit. They fought hard and did a terrific job. At the same time I congratulate our team for winning both games. It was a good experience for our young players. We're pleased. It's the type of game that helps us get ready for the next round.

    "I think we may have scored more goals. (The field) was in great shape yesterday, but then the rains came. They did a terrific job of getting the field ready, but the showers came before the kickoff and made it difficult."

    The U.S. will face Jamaica, Panama and El Salvador in the semifinal qualifying round robin with the six games to be played between August and November.

    It didn't take long for the U.S. to take a 1-0 lead. In the sixth minute, striker Josh Wolff chased down a ball on the right sideline and quickly found Claudio Reyna at the top right of the penalty area. Reyna pushed forward almost to the end line and crossed into the middle. The ball stopped dead eight yards from the center of the goal and fellow midfielder Landon Donovan approached and blasted it between two defenders and past goalkeeper Kellon Baptiste into the right corner of the net for his 16th international and first in World Cup qualifying.

    "The first goal is always important," Donovan said. "You don't want to give them a chance and scoring early makes them open up a lot. On my goal, Claudio got it wide and Brian (McBride) crashed the net, so Claudio is smart enough to see that and dropped it back to me, and it was basically an open net."

    Six minutes later, Grenada snapped the U.S.'s shutout streak at 393 minutes when striker Jason Roberts drilled a penalty kick low into the net's left corner for a 1-1 tie. U.S. defender Pablo Mastroeni had been called for elbowing Grenada defender Anthony Modeste as he elevated to head a lofted ball in the U.S. box.

    The U.S. regained the lead for good in the 19th minute. With the rain at its heaviest, Reyna's left-side corner kicked was flicked on by Donovan past the far post. Midfielder DaMarcus Beasley knocked back in front of goal where McBride hit a header off the underside of the crossbar. The ball spun wide left of the goal where Donovan fed a low pass to Woff, who approached the center of the goal for a finish from four yards out to make it 2-1.

    In the 77th minute, Reyna's pass from the center stripe was flicked on to reserve forward Earnie Stewart inside the top right of the penalty area. He held while Beasley approached, then fed his teammate across the box for a hard left-footed strike through the legs of Baptiste for his third goal in this two-game set and a 3-1 advantage.

    A minute later, Grenada midfielder Ricky Charles put away a low cross from Modeste to close the gap to 3-2. Charles' celebration indicated the Grenadian satisfaction with the series result, a far closer competition than many expected.

    "I've said many times, small countries today are no longer small," Arena said. "Unlike 10 or 15 years ago, they have players with experience. A guy like Jason Roberts brings a lot to the Grenada team. It tends to help shrink the world.. We entered this series believing Grenada would be a tough opponent and they proved it over two games."

    Stewart, who replaced Wolff in the 63rd minute, made the 100th international appearance of his 14-year career with the U.S., making him the eighth American player to cross that milestone. No other nation has had as many men reach the century mark.

    A veteran of three previous World Cups, Stewart extended his U.S. record for appearances in qualifiers to 29. Four other players pick up their first-ever World Cup qualifying appearances: starting defenders Bobby Convey, Cory Gibbs and Mastroeni, and second-half reserve midfielder Kerry Zavagnin.

    "This is one of the numbers that I do care about," said Stewart after the game in response to a question about the fact he has never compiled "big numbers" in goals and assists. "It's a great honor to be part of an elite group that reaches 100 caps. Not many people have that opportunity and I'm glad I did. I thought I was too far off and I was getting older. I felt pretty much that after the (2002) World Cup, it would be over, but I got closer again. And once you get closer, it becomes something you would like to accomplish. We don't have much say in it because the coach has the final say, but in the end, it is a fantastic honor for me."

    The U.S. outshot Grenada 22-6, 10-3 on frame. Keller made just one save, extending his record win total for the U.S. to 39 in 70 overall appearances.

    The U.S. Wwll start the semifinal round at Jamaica August 18, then host El Salvador September 4 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Four days later, the Americans will visit Panama. The next game is also on the road, at El Salvador October 10 before playing at home against Panama October 13 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., and Jamaica November 17 at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

    Before returning to qualifying, the U.S. will play Poland July 11 in a friendly at Chicago's Soldier Field, a 7 p.m. game to be broadcast by ESPN2.


    United States 3, Grenada 2 (Aggregate: U.S. 6, Grenada 2)

    Lineups: Grenada - Kellon Baptiste, Anthony Modeste (captain), Franklin Baptiste, Brian Benjamin, Kennedy Phillip (Kitson Bain 59), Ricky Charles, Byron Bubb (Ricky Morris 89), Shalrie Joseph (Arkenson Neckles 65), Anthony Bedeau, Patrick Modeste, Jason Roberts. United States - Kasey Keller, Frankie Hejduk, Pablo Mastroeni, Cory Gibbs, Bobby Convey (Greg Vanney 88), Claudio Reyna - captain (Kerry Zavagnin 80), Chris Armas, Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley, Brian McBride, Josh Wolff (Earnie Stewart 63).

    Scoring:
    United States - Donovan (Reyna) 6.
    Grenada - Roberts (penalty kick) 12.
    United States - Wolff (Donovan) 19.
    United States - Beasley (Stewart) 77.
    Grenada - Charles (Modeste) 78.

    Shots: Grenada 6, United States 22. Saves: Grenada 7, United States 1. Corner kicks: Grenada 4, United States 10. Fouls: Grenada 18, United States 13. Offside: Grenada 2, United States 4. Yellow card cautions: Grenada - Benjamin 18, Bubb 68, Charles 68, Modeste 89; United States - Reyna 11, Gibbs 90. Red card ejection: Grenada - Benjamin (second yellow card) 55.

    Referee: Neil Brizan (Trinidad & Tobago). Attendance: 15,267 at National Cricket Stadium in St. George's, Grenada. Weather: 80 degrees, light, occasionally heavy rain.

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