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Ching gains repemption, his goal in 89th minute earning 1-1 qualifying draw in Jamaica.

Reserves spark late rally that allows U.S. to steal important road point in Jamaica.

Bocanegra header is enough for 1-1 draw with Poland.

Mission accomplished for Americans in disposing of Grenada.

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

Lackadaisical Americans are lucky to tie Poland.

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.

  • U.S. dominates El Salvador, but could have done better

    U.S. men

    Ching, Donovan provide the goals in 2-0 win over El Salvador to take Group 1 qualifying lead.

    FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Saturday, September 4, 2004) -- Powered by goals from striker Brian Ching and midfielder Landon Donovan, the United States men recorded a solid, if uneven 2-0 victory over El Salvador this afternoon in a CONCACAF World Cup qualifying semifinal-round match before 25,266 at Gillette Stadium.

    With visiting Panama stunning Jamaica (0-1-1, 1 point) by a 2-1 count today at National Stadium in Kingston, the U.S. (1-0-1, 4 points) is alone in first place in the four-nation Group 1 after two games. The U.S. travels to Panama (1-1, 3 ) for a Wednesday night qualifier at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City, a 9 p.m. (ET) match to be broadcast by Fox Sports World. The top two teams from Group 1 advance to the final six-nation round robin from which the top three are invited to the World Cup and the fourth-place finisher enters a playoff against an Asian country for an additional berth.

    El Salvador fell to 1-1 with three points after being reduced to 10 players when midfielder Dennis Alas was ejected with his second yellow card in the 26th minute. Before play resumed, his coach Juan Paredes followed Alas to the showers after a bitter protest of the ruling.

    U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, playing in his first qualifier, registered the shutout without making a save. The Americans posted a 19-1 shots advantage though only six were on frame.

    "We could have scored more goals. I think we are a little guilty of that," U.S. coach Bruce Arena said. "Give El Salvador credit. They played with a lot of heart and did a decent job defensively. We missed the target too much today, as well. We had a few good looks at the goal and we didn't bury some of our chances."

    Ching, making his first start and representing the U.S. for only the fourth time, was an American hero for a second straight outing. His tally in the 89th minute salvaged a 1-1 draw for the U.S. August 18 at Jamaica. Today, Ching headed home a perfect cross from left defender Bobby Convey to put the Americans ahead 1-0 in the fifth minute.

    After taking a pass from right defender Steve Cherundolo atop the penalty arc, Ching retreated five yards and fed Convey, who was waving for the ball 12 yards above the top left corner of the box. Facing no defensive pressure, Convey touched the ball forward once as he spotted Ching racing up the middle before curling a left-footed cross directly to Ching's head. With El Salvador defender and captain Victor Velasquez beaten, Ching nodded his shot off the right post and in from eight yards out.

    "I'm just trying to do my job and play my role, post up and get in the box and get on the end of things," Ching said. "Things have been going well right now. I'm getting on the end of balls and getting on the edge of the box and setting up a couple of opportunities. I don't think it is beginner's luck, because I've been doing it all season with the San Jose Earthquakes, so I basically try to play the same role when I get to the national team. I play to my strengths. You don't see me try and take on four or five guys at once. I rarely take more than one or two touches, so I just, like I said, play the ball off and get in the box."

    Alas, who was shown his first caution for a harsh foul on Convey in the eighth minute, saw his second yellow card 18 minutes later. During a two-minute stoppage of play because U.S. midfielder DaMarcus Beasley was writhing on the ground after taking Salvadoran midfielder Jorge Rodriguez's right boot in the midsection, referee Neal Brizan noticed Alas' necklace. Wearing jewelry in a game calls for an automatic yellow card, a rule that was reinforced in the match commissioner's meeting yesterday.

    After Alas was disqualified, Paredes vehemently argued and had to be restrained by his players and assistant coach, leading to his ejection.

    "When you are expecting a lot from the game and a young player like Alas -- he is only 19-years-old -- is playing very, very hard and the ref on the bench tells him to take off the chain, then no one expected him to have a red card for that," Paredes said. "Everybody wants to win, nobody wants to lose. We were losing 1-0 and to have one less man was very hard for me to accept that. I recognize that I made a mistake, but it was the moment. That was the way I felt during the game. That is the first time a ref has ever put me out of a game."

    Now a man down, El Salvador put eight players behind the ball, trying to reinforce its defense and hope for an occasional counterattack opportunity. The U.S. continued to control possession, but could not break through again in the first half which ended with eight minutes of stoppage time because of the ejections and multiple injuries.

    "It is difficult to break teams down that have that many players behind the ball," Arena said. "You've got to follow passes. That is all part of it. It is just about patience and composure and understanding the movement and the tactical things that need to be executed on the field to give yourself a chance and create chances. I think we did that. Was it perfect? No. But it wasn't bad."

    In the 57th minute, the match got ugly again with El Salvador defender Alfredo Pacheco fouling Donovan viciously from behind, resulting in another yellow card. On the subsequent free kick, Beasley dove, but missed a header at the far left post and was rewarded by goalkeeper Santos Rivera who stuck the cleats from his left shoe in the U.S. midfielder's face. An action that should have led to Rivera's ejection drew no penalty.

    The U.S. had a great opportunity to increase its lead in the 63rd minute when Cherundolo intercepted a Salvadoran clearance 25 yards out. He pushed into the right side of the box, but his blast from 15 yards went well over the crossbar.

    Five minutes later, Donovan's determination did lead to a 2-0 advantage. With the U.S. completely dominating possession, Cherundolo carried forward before feeding Donovan 30 yards up the right sideline. Donovan moved toward the top corner of the box, before cutting laterally to his left to avoid the light pressure of first defender Erick Prado and then Rodriguez. Entering the arc from the side, Donovan took a quick step forward and fired a low shot from 19 yards out just inside the left post. Rivera never moved to stop the shot.

    "I had a little bit of space there on the field and I went toward the goal," Donovan said. "Everyone moved and I knew I should shoot. And it was a goal."

    The U.S. used its three substitutions to add offensive players, starting by putting midfielder Cobi Jones in for Cherundolo to switch from a 4-4-2 to a 3-5-2 formation in the 69th minute. Brian McBride replaced Conor Casey on the front line seven minutes later with Mathis, an attacking presence replacing defensive midfielder Kerry Zavagnin in the 82nd minute.

    McBride had a good look at goal in the 84th minute, set up when Ching used a chest pass to put a ball in his path. McBride crushed his shot wide left. Mathis had a similar look at goal a minute later but drilled his shot over the bar.

    Arena made seven changes in his starting lineup, including using three new defenders and a different strike pair, from the 1-1 draw with Jamaica. Three Americans -- Howard, Zavagnin and Ching -- made their first World Cup qualifying starts.

    Jones earned his 162nd cap, extending his team record, and also made his 28th qualifying appearance, second only to Earnie Stewart's 30.

    The U.S. team will remain in Boston until Tuesday when it travels to Panama.

    After Panama, the U.S. concludes Group 1 play with a road game October 9 in El Salvador, followed by home games October 13 against Panama at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., and November 17 against Jamaica at Columbus (Ohio) Crew Stadium.

    United States 2, El Salvador 0

    Lineups: United States - Tim Howard, Steve Cherundolo (Cobi Jones 69), Carlos Bocanegra, Cory Gibbs, Bobby Convey, Claudio Reyna (captain), Kerry Zavagnin (Clint Mathis 82), Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley, Brian Ching, Conor Casey (Brian McBride 76). El Salvador - Santos Rivera, Mario Guevara, Victor Velasquez (captain), Erick Prado, Alfredo Pacheco, Denis Alas, Jorge Rodriguez, Gilberto Murgas, Edwin Gonzalez (Victor Merino 46), Josue Galdamez (Diego Mejia 46), Ronald Cerritos.

    United States - Ching (Convey) 5.
    United States - Donovan (Cherundolo) 69.

    Shots: United States 19, El Salvador 1. Saves: United States 0, El Salvador 4. Corner kicks: United States 8, El Salvador 2. Fouls: United States 16, El Salvador 19. Offside: United States 0, El Salvador 3. Yellow card cautions: United States - Convey 18, Casey 49; El Salvador - Alas 8, Pacheco 57. Red card ejection: El Salvador - Alas (second yellow card) 26.

    Referee: Neal Brizan (Trinidad & Tobago). Assistant referees: Solomon Brewster (Trinidad & Tobago), Merere Louis Gonzales (Trinidad & Tobago. Attendance: 25,266 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Weather: 78 degrees, sunny, breezy.

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