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U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM

November 19, 2008
FINISHING TOUCHES
Cooper, Adu score for US against Guatemala


Freddy Adu scored his first goal for the US senior national team against Guatemala on Wednesday night.
Freddy Adu scored his first goal for the US senior national team against Guatemala on Wednesday night.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
COMMERCE CITY, Colo.--Wednesday night’s match against Guatemala at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park might have been meaningless to a US team that had already qualified for the next round of World Cup Qualifying and wrapped up first place in Group 1, but it was a milestone for youngsters Kenny Cooper and Freddy Adu, who scored their first senior international goals in the 2-0 United States victory.

Cooper, who cracked a header off the crossbar in the 31st minute, scored the game-winner in the 54th minute, sliding in toward the far post to poke home a low 18-yard service from Jozy Altidore. Adu, who has hat tricks for the U.S. at both the U-17 and U-20 levels, put his name in the senior team record book in the 69th minute, with a wicked 19-yard free kick to the upper corner.

Although Guatemala desperately needed a win to keep their own World Cup hopes alive, they ended up on the short end of a lopsided contest, managing only five shots to the USA’s 12, and putting two of their three shots on goal within the final four minutes. US netminder Brad Guzan made short work of both attempts, picking off a point-blank attempt from Pando Ramirez in the 86th minute and falling to block an 18-yarder from Marvin Avila in the 89th.

Altidore gave the Guatemalan defense fits from the early minutes of the game, including breakaways into the box in the seventh and 13th minutes. His first opportunity resulted in a shot that, while apparently blocked out of bounds by Guatemala ‘keeper Ricardo Jerez, resulted in a goal kick. Six minutes later, Altidore passed on the shot in favor of a cross to Cooper that was picked off by a defender before reaching its target.

Adu also had several solid looks at goal, including a hard shot saved by the diving Jerez in the 19th minute. The ‘keeper recovered to also pick off Sacha Kljestan’s rebound attempt. In the closing minutes of the first half, Adu sent a 30-yard free kick dipping over the defensive wall, but Jerez made the save.

Even defensive midfielder Pablo Mastroeni – who will miss the first game in the next qualifying round after picking up a yellow card in the 78th minute – almost got onto the scoresheet, sending Jerez scrambling for a 20-yard shot that was curling toward the far post.

The US will resume World Cup qualifying on February 11, against an opponent to be determined in Saturday’s (Nov. 22) Final round draw in Johannesburg, South Africa.



   
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