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  • World Cup-bound U.S. outclasses young Norway, building for future.

    U.S. men

    Twellman breaks out with three goals in 5-0 romp over Norway.

    CARSON, Calif. (January 29, 2006) -- Striker Taylor Twellman has been Major League Soccer's most prolific goal scorer the last four years, leading the league with 17 in 2005, tying for first with 15 in 2003 and finishing second with 23 in his 2002 rookie season.

    Despite scoring 64 goals in 98 games with the New England Revolution and adding four tallies in the playoffs, Twellman has not been able to translate his nose for the net to his time with the United States men.

    Until this afternoon.

    Twellman exploded for three goals as the U.S. drubbed an overmatched Norway 5-0 before 16,366 at The Home Depot Center,

    The Americans had never defeated a European opponent by five goals before and tied the largest margin over an opponent outside of its region, CONCACAF, which includes North America, Central America and the Caribbean. The U.S. downed China 5-0 on April 4, 1992.

    All-time, it was 11th time the Americans had won a game by at least five goals.

    "Obviously, it was a good performance on our part," U.S. manager Bruce Arena said. "We certainly improved over last week (a 0-0 draw with Canada last Sunday). It was a good effort by our team. We played quite well for 90 minutes. I was very pleased."

    After struggling offensively against Canada, the U.S. overwhelmed Norway, holding a 24-2 shots advantage, 13-1 on frame. Norway never established a rhythm in the match.

    That Norway was overmatched was not surprising. After failing to qualify for the World Cup, Norway coach Åge Hareide decided to use a young team for this friendly with only one player in his lineup from the qualifying series in which the Czech Republic eliminated the Norwegians with a pair of 1-0 decisions.

    Meanwhile, most on the of the U.S. squad were trying to convince Arena they deserved a spot on the roster for the World Cup that kicks off June 9 in Germany.

    Twellman scored with his left foot from close range in the fifth minute before burying headers in the 17th and 76th minutes. Along with Twellman's hat trick, defender Eddie Pope and midfielder Chris Klein got in on the action with goals in the second half.

    Twellman turned in the ninth effort of three goals or more in U.S. history and the first since Eddie Johnson found net three times after coming off the bench in a 6-0 defeat of Panama October 12, 2004, in the World Cup qualifying semifinal round.

    "I've always said it with the Revs (his club team, Major League Soccer's New England Revolution), that when you are surrounded by a lot of good players like you are with the U.S. team, it's pretty much getting the final ball and getting on the end of things," Twellman said. "I was blessed with some great service today, and just did my job."

    After not scoring in his first 11 international appearances, Twellman now has four goals in his last three outings as he tries to secure a spot on the 23-player World Cup squad.

    Twellman "scored three goals. That's sometimes how you are graded as a striker," Arena said. "If that's the case, he gets an 'A' for today. All three goals were great. He also, at one point in the first half, made a great play defensively. Taylor is getting used to what we ask out of our forwards and I think he played well."

    Midfielder Clint Dempsey, who hit the crossbar in the 27th minute, had an overall strong afternoon and had a part in Twellman's first two goals, assisting his New England teammate on his first strike.

    Defender Frankie Hejduk carried up the right sideline before dropping a heel pass to Dempsey, who served the ball into the penalty area for Twellman. The forward used his first touch to push the ball ahead and then drilled a left-footed volley from six yards into the right corner for a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute.

    Continuing to work down the right flank, Dempsey was fouled after a nice step-over move, giving the U.S. a free kick. Todd Dunivant, who collected his first cap ever at left back, curled the ball to the back post where Twellman headed it home from six yards to make it 2-0 after 17 minutes.

    On the other end of the field, U.S. goalkeeper Kevin Hartman was hardly tested in his first international start. Norway created only one good opportunity off a free kick in the 13th minute.

    Midfielder Stian Ohr served the ball to Frode Kippe, who was able to extend his foot at the corner of the six yard box to get a touch on the ball and direct it on goal. Hartman stretched out to make the save, pushing the ball out for a corner kick

    Norway's only other shot came with a blast wide left in the 43rd minute. Hartman, whose first three international appearances came as a second-half substitute, earned the clean sheet on the field where he plays for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

    The Americans kept the tempo up in the second half. After an attempt by Wolff went just wide right and a goal by Dempsey was waved off on an offside call, Pope made it 3-0 with his seventhy international goal in the 67th minute.

    Dunivant did well to win a 50-50 ball off a deflected U.S. corner kick inside the left side of the box and slipped the ball in front of the goal where Pope finished from close range.

    Nine minutes later, Twellman secured his hat trick when he headed home a left-side cross from another Revolution teammate, midfielder Pat Noonan. Noonan found Twellman at the back post and the St. Louis native smoothly placed his header back across into the left side of the net.

    Along with Dunivant, forward Nate Jaqua and defender Ugo Ihemelu earned their first caps with the U.S. men. Jaqua was active up front and though he missed on one attempt he should have put away, he also unleashed a shot that Norway goalkeeper Espen Johnsen stopped with a kick save. The rebound fell to midfielder Landon Donovan who calmly laid the ball off to his right. An advancing Klein nailed his shot into the top right corner of the net.

    Four Americans have recorded tricks for the U.S. in the since January 27, 2002, but only Joe-Max Moore (with four tallies in a 1993 game) had one in the previous 33 years.

    United States 5, Norway 0

    Lineups: United States: Kevin Hartman, Todd Dunivant, Jimmy Conrad, Eddie Pope (Ugo Ihemelu 83), Frankie Hejduk, Kerry Zavagnin (Ben Olsen 79), Pat Noonan (Chris Klein 77), Clint Dempsey (Santino Quaranta, 70), Landon Donovan (captain), Josh Wolff (Nate Jaqua 67), Taylor Twellman (Brian Ching 83). Norway - Espen Johnsen, Steinar Pedersen (captain), Frode Kippe, Brede Hangeland, Erlend Hanstveit (Trond Erik Bertelsen 46), Henning Hauger (Alex Valencia 46), Petter Rudi (Magne Hoset 64), Stian Ohr (Epsen Olsen 46), Tomasz Sokolowski (Raymond Kvisvik 46), Ole Martin Arst, Petter Vaagan Moen.

    United States - Twellman (Dempsey) 5.
    United States - Twellman (Dunivant) 17.
    United States - Pope (Dunivant) 67.
    United States - Twellman (Noonan) 76.
    United States - Klein (Donovan) 87.

    Shots: United States 24, Norway 2.
    Shots on goal: United States 13, Norway 1. Saves: United States 1, Norway 8. Fouls: United States 11, Norway 15. Offside: United States 2, Norway 5. Yellow cards cautions: United States - Donovan 70, Quaranta 82; Norway - Hanstveit 17, Hoset 70.

    Referee: Oscar Ruiz Acosta (Colombia). Assistant referees: Eduardo Botero Walker (Colombia), Jose Naviaci Fuentes (Colombia). Fourth official: Kevin Stott (United States). Attendance: 16,366 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Weather: 64 degrees, partly cloudy, light breeze.

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