U.S. Advances To World Cup Quarterfinals
June 17, 2002
Jeonju, Korea - The U.S. Soccer Team earned a berth in the World Cup quarterfinals after a historic 2-0 shutout victory over CONCACAF rival Mexico. Goalkeeper Brad Friedel (1990-92) made six saves to earn the first U.S. World Cup shutout in 52 years. Midfielder Eddie Lewis (1992-95) contributed an assist in his first career World Cup start.
The U.S. struck early, with Claudio Reyna and Josh Wolff combining to set up a Brian McBride shot in the middle of the box in the eighth minute. Mexico pushed hard to equalize and had a good chance to do so in the 35th minute, when a cross from Jared Borgetti deflected high off a U.S. defender and floated in toward the goal. Friedel punched the ball away, as well as the subsequent rebound shot by Cuauhtemoc Blanco. Friedel made another big save in the 52nd minute, when Braulio Luna sent a swerving free kick from the right side that Friedel got a hand on and pushed off the crossbar and out for a corner kick.
With Mexico maintaining possession most of the game, the U.S. had to capitalize on a counter-attack to increase the lead to 2-0. Reyna started the play in the U.S. half, sending a ball to the left flank for Lewis. The former Bruin midfielder sped down the field and sent a perfect cross to the far post, where Landon Donovan headed in the insurance goal past Mexican goalkeeper Oscar Perez.
Lewis set up another goal-scoring opportunity in the 71st minute, sending a free kick to the right side of the far post, but Earnie Stewart volleyed the ball off the post and out over the endline. Lewis nearly connected with Cobi Jones (1988-91) and Donovan for another goal in the final minute of play, but Donovan's shot went high just before the final whistle.
'After the match against Poland (a 3-1 loss), the manager emphasized very strongly that if we lose we are going to go down swinging,' said Friedel.'We were going to do everything right today.I think the boys reacted absolutely brilliantly today and defended everything superbly.'
In the quarterfinals, the U.S. will face Group E winner Germany on Friday. The game will be televised live on ESPN2 and Univision at 4:25 am PT. The U.S. holds a 2-4-0 record all-time against Germany.