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U.S. men's schedule, results

U.S. men's roster

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.

  • Ching, Donovan provide the goals as U.S. defeats El Salvador 2-0 to take Group 1 qualifying lead.

    Analysis

    U.S. was dominant, but could have done better in beating El Salvador.

    By Robert Wagman
    SoccerTimes

    FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Saturday, September 4, 2004) -- It was a rumble at the Big Razor (as Gillette Stadium is widely known). Historically, El Salavador and the United States men don't much like each other and this long festering animosity threatened to boil over in a physical, disjointed match marked by a bizarre ejection, several near brawls, and close to complete domination by the U.S. that was not really reflected in the final 2-0 score line.

    "This was a very uneven match," U.S. coach Bruce Arena said of the CONCACAF semifinal-round qualifier. "There was not a whole lot of rhythm. There we a variety of incidents on the field. Whenever things started to get going, it was stopped. But that's what these qualifying matches are."

    Combined with visiting Panama's upset victory over Jamaica at National Stadium in Kingston, the U.S. is alone in first place of Group 1, one of three four-nation groups of which the top two teams advance to the final, six-team round robin. The U.S. is 1-0-1 with four points, followed by El Salvador and Panama at 1-1 with three points and Jamaica, which is 0-1-1 with one point.

    A measure of how dominant the Americans were was fact that U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard did not make a single save. The only time he touched the ball was on back-passes from teammates and when he controlled a cross in the 66th minute.

    Somewhat surprisingly, Arena made seven changes in his lineup from the side that started in the 1-1 draw August 18 against host Jamaica in Kingston. One change was central defender Cory Gibbs replacing Eddie Pope, who had a stiff hip and was held out as a precaution. Some of the alterations were made in order to have fresh players available for Wednesday in Panama. The starting lineup in Panama City is likely to be significantly different from today's.

    "We started a very young team, probably the youngest ever to play for us in a qualifier," Arena explained. "We felt it was a good game for them to get some experience, to get their feet wet, playing at home. We can play our veterans on the road where we need experience."

    With the first time pairing of Brian Ching and Conor Casey at forward, Arena hoped for a pair of mobile physical strikers who can finish and when called upon can control the ball or distribute.

    In the fifth minute, Ching laid the ball back to defender Bobby Convey who was not facing any pressure. Convey returned a perfect pass which Ching headed off the right post and in for a 1-0 lead. Soon after, Casey wiped out Salvadoran keeper Santos Rivera who three times caused considerable delays to the game as he rolled on the ground with apparent injuries.

    That seemed to set the tone for the match and the Salvadorans regularly knocked down or kicked U.S. players.

    If the U.S. can be faulted for anything, it would be for not having scored more goals with the numerous chances it created against the El Salvador defense, which packed it in after being reduced to 10 players with midfielder Denis Alas in the 26th minute.

    Defender Steve Cherundolo was the worst offender, running onto a poor El Salvador defensive clearance in the 63rd minute, but sending his 15-yard blast well over the crossbar. Cheundolo, however, made passes that started the sequence that led to both American goals.

    He fed Ching for the give-and-go with Convey that led to Ching's early tally. In the 69th minute, he passed the ball to midfielder Landon Donovan who did the hard work. Thirty yards up the right sideline, Donovan moved to the top right corner of the penalty area, then carried horizontally across the top of the box. Inside the penalty arc, he unleashed a left-footer from 19 yards out that left Rivera frozen as the ball squirted inside the left post.

    "Was this a perfect game, no?" Arena admitted. "We could have scored more goals, given the chances we were getting. We didn't bury some of our chances."

    Perhaps Salvadoran midfielder Jorge Rodriguez put it best. "We understand we are now playing Jamaica and Panama for second place," he said. "The U.S. is the best team. We could have done better tonight and we will do better at home. But we are playing for second place."


    U.S. player ratings

    Starters

    Goalkeeper Tim Howard - 6: Not asked to do anything but stay awake. Made no mistakes.

    Defender Steve Cherundolo - 6: Not put under much pressure defensively, was able to move forward with ease and helped create chances down the right side. His passes helped set up both goals.

    Defender Carlos Bocanegra - 6: A fine match, cutting off what few chances El Salvador created.

    Defender Cory Gibbs - 6: As with Bocanegra, played solidly and was ready when called upon.

    Defender Bobby Convey - 6: The left back moved forward and spent most of the match attacking from the midfield. On a give-and-go, led Brian Ching perfectly for his header, putting the U.S. ahead 1-0 early.

    Midfielder Kerry Zavagnin - 5: In a defensive role, not pressured much and pushed forward with mixed results. Some good touches, but at times did not combine well with his teammates.

    Midfielder Landon Donovan - 6: Worked hard in what was an up-and-down afternoon until his a wonderful goal secured the U.S. advantage.

    Midfielder Claudio Reyna - 5.5: Often came deep into the U.S. defensive end to control the ball. Passed well, but only occasionally got directly involved in scoring chances.

    Midfielder DaMarcus Beasley - 6: Kicked, pushed down and pounded almost every time he touched the ball, he continued to take on players for the entire 90 minutes. Showed again he might be the toughest player on the U.S. team.

    Forward Brian Ching - 6.5: In his first national-team start, he did very well. Scored a good early goal and held up well to the pounding he took.

    Forward Conor Casey - 5.5: Fared well in the physical battles, but did not make the most of his scoring opportunities.

    Reserves

    Midfielder Cobi Jones (69th minute for Cherundolo) - 5.5: Came in as an attacking right midfielder. Created some chances and, with a bit of luck, could have forced a third goal.

    Forward Brian McBride (76th minute for Casey) - 5.5: Did not have much of an impact om his short tenure.

    Midfielder Clint Mathis (81st minute for Zavagnin) - 5: After a long injury layoff, needs to settle in.

    Robert Wagman is a SoccerTimes senior correspondent. E-mail Robert Wagman.

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