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U.S. advance, but show defensive holes against Grenada
ST. GEORGE'S, Grenada - The U.S. Menís National Team defeated Grenada 3-2 and advanced to the semifinal round of World Cup qualifying, but it wasnít as easy as expected. The 9th ranked U.S. surrendered two goals to the 138th ranked Grenada in the away leg, despite playing a man up for much of the match. Taking a 3-0 aggregate goal lead into the match, however, the U.S. easily qualified 6-2 on aggregate goals. Heavy rain caused a very wet playing surface and both sides had some struggles passing the ball through puddles.

The U.S. got off to the start they wanted, taking the lead in the 6th minute, when Josh Wolff stole the ball away from a Grenada defender. Wolff sent a pass to Reyna, who dribbled to the end line before sending a pass back to Landon Donovan. The pass got stuck in a puddle, making it easy from Donovan to run onto the ball and score past Grenada goalkeeper Kellon Baptiste. The goal was Donovanís first ever in World Cup Qualifying.

Six minutes later, Grenada tied the match and ended the U.S.ís 393 minute shutout streak. Pablo Mastroeni threw down Jason Roberts as he was trying to get on the end of a cross and earned Grenada a penalty kick. Roberts himself took the penalty kick sending U.S. goalie Kasey Keller the wrong way. Keller only made one save in the game.

A misplay by the U.S. defense in the 14th minute nearly gave Grenada a breakaway, but Keller was quick off his line to prevent what couldíve been a dangerous opportunity.

After threatening to take back the lead on several good chances, the U.S. finally did in the 19th minute, when a Claudio Reyna corner was hit by DaMarcus Beasley to Brian McBride. McBrideís header came off the crossbar, but went to Donovan, who passed it to Josh Wolff. Wolff easily sent it past Baptiste from close range.

The New England Revolutionís Shalrie Joseph almost scored for Grenada in the 40th minute. Joseph headed a Ricky Charles cross just wide of the net from close range. Joseph left the field on a stretcher in the 59th minute, after he went down following a challenge with Claudio Reyna. He came back on in the 63rd minute, but was subbed out two minutes later as he was in obvious pain and still limping. Hopefully Joseph isnít hurt too badly and will be able to play in the Revolutionís upcoming match against the Metrostars.

The U.S. went up a man in the 55th minute, when Brian Benjamin received a second yellow card and subsequent ejection for taking down Donovan from behind.

Earnie Stewart came on for the U.S. in the 63rd minute, earning his 100th cap (international appearance). Stewart became the 8th U.S. player to earn 100 caps. The U.S. has more playerís with 100 caps than any other country.

DaMarcus Beasley extended the U.S. lead in the 77th minute when a lob by Earnie Stewart found Beasley unmarked on the left side of the box. Beasley sent a left footed shot just past the reach of Baptiste.

Grenada pulled back within one less than a minute later, when Ricky Charles kicked in an Anthony Modeste cross from very close range.

The U.S. next face Poland on July 11th at Soldier Field in Chicago in the U.S. final tune-up match before the semifinal round. The match can be seen live on ESPN2 at 7PM ET. The semifinal round starts August 18th.
June 20, 2004 Sean Donahue


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