July 4, 2009
USA dominates Grenada in Gold Cup opener
SEATTLE, Wash. – There’s only one way that a two-time defending champion can start out a tournament – and that’s to dominate. The U.S. Men’s National Team did just that Saturday night, with four different players tallying in a 4-0 trouncing of Grenada in the first match of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. While the roster wasn’t the same one that led the U.S. Men to the Confederations Cup final, it was still an impressive performance.
|Freddy Adu tallied the game winner in just the seventh minute, leading the U.S. to a 4-0 win.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
“This is a different group now. We only had a few days to establish ourselves,” U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley said. “It's important to start the Gold Cup the right way. There were a lot of good things – a good team effort and four different guys scoring goals. All those things are important as we start the tournament.”
It didn’t take long for the USA to tally. In just the seventh minute, Robbie Rogers jump-started the Americans. Rogers picked up a loose ball and sent it toward goal. Freddy Adu beat his defender and rushed toward goal. He snuck in behind the defenders in the box and shot the ball into the right side for a 1-0 lead.
Grenada had its best chance of the match in the 23rd minute. Kithson Bain headed the ball toward goal. U.S. goalkeeper Troy Perkins smothered the attempt for the lone save of the night.
In the 32nd minute, the USA jumped out to a 2-0 lead courtesy of Rogers once again. Rogers sent the ball into the box. Stuart Holden bounced a header into the net, becoming the 45th player in U.S. soccer history to score in his National Team debut.
“I was kind of overwhelmed when I scored in my first appearance,” Holden said.” To get the win is important. I’m glad we can build on that.”
The Americans headed into the locker room with a comfortable 2-0 lead at the half. And it didn’t take long after the intermission for them to pick up where they left off. In the 59th minute, Charlie Davies sent a perfect ball toward an empty net. Grenada defender Anthony Modeste made up for goalkeeper Desmond Noel by blocking the attempt. Modeste stopped the corner kick as well.
But a minute later, U.S. and Chicago Fire midfielder Logan Pause forwarded the ball to Rogers from midfield. Rogers ran toward goal and rocketed a shot into the net for a 3-0 lead.
“It was my first opportunity with this team,” Pause said. “I just wanted to help in any way I could. I was obviously a little nervous. But once the game started, I calmed down.”
Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Brad Evans made his U.S. soccer debut as a substitute for U.S. captain Steve Cherundolo in the 63rd minute to a standing ovation from the home crowd. He entered the pitch too soon, receiving a yellow card.
Five minutes later Chad Marshall sent a long ball to Heath Pearce, who was making a run toward goal. He flicked the ball to Davies in the box. Davies volleyed the ball from his left foot to his right foot and one-timed it into the net for a 4-0 advantage and U.S. win.
“We accomplished a lot for the first game,” Bradley said. “We’ll take this game for what it was. Honduras will be waiting for us.”
The USA improved to 22-0-1 in group play and 6-2-1 all-time in matches held in Seattle. The Americans now have a record of 35-4-5 in Gold Cup play, where they’ve outscored opponents 85-26. The Americans are looking for their third straight Gold Cup Championship. Mexico is the only other CONCACAF team to accomplish that feat, winning three straight from 1993 to 1998.
EARLIER IN THE EVENING…
In the first match of the evening, Honduras topped Haiti 1-0. Carlo Costly tallied the lone goal, heading the ball into the right side of the net in the 76th minute.
“The match was very tight,” Honduras head coach Reinaldo Rueda said. “There were chances for both sides. When we want to win, we can win. It’s a matter of us working together.”
Honduras is making its ninth Gold Cup appearance. The highest they’ve ever finished was in the 1991 final, when the Americans topped them 4-3 on penalty kicks. The USA and Honduras will face off Wednesday at RFK Stadium at 8:00 p.m. CT in the second match of Group B play.