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U.S. escapes with 1-1 draw against Poland
Chicago, IL. The U.S. National Team wasted a penalty kick in the 11th minute that could have earned head coach Bruce Arena his 50th win, but still managed to keep their 6 game unbeaten streak alive with an equalizing goal in the 88th minute. Despite outshooting Poland 15 to 7, the U.S. found themselves trailing late in the game thanks to some poor shooting and it took defender Carlos Bocanegra to finally put the U.S. on the scoreboard.

The U.S. had a great chance to take an early lead in the 11th minute, when Josh Wolff was judged to have been taken down in the box by Poland goalie Artur Boruc, who earned a yellow card for the incident. Replies hinted that, although there may have been contact, Wolff dived to earn the penalty kick. Landon Donovan, who has taken most of the U.S. penalty kicks this past year, did not take this one, possibly because of his penalty kick that was saved earlier in the week while playing for the San Jose Earthquakes. Brian McBride stepped up to take the penalty kick and sent it to the lower right corner of the net. Goalie Artur Boruc managed to make a diving save on the softly hit penalty kick, denying the U.S. a golden opportunity to take the lead.

The U.S. had several more chances to take the lead in the first half including a low cross through the box that was just out of the reach of the U.S. forwards. Several more chances were wasted by poor finishing in the first half.

Landon Donovan created a chance on a solo effort in the 58th minute when he dribbled to just outside the box before sending a left footed shot that forced Artur Boruc to make a diving save.

Brian Ching came on as a substitute in the 65th minute for Brian McBride. Eddie Gaven and Brian Mullan also saw time as substitutes in the match, coming on in the 82nd and 72nd minutes, respectively, and earning their first caps (international appearances). At 17 years and 260 days old, Gaven became the fourth youngest player in U.S. Men's National Team history to earn a cap.

Poland took the lead in the 76th minute against the run of play, when U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard failed to get a hold of a low cross from Marcin Burkhardt, but instead deflected it right to Piotr Wlodarczyk, who easily sent it into the open net.

The U.S. pushed for an equalizer and in the 88th minute finally tied the match when Carlos Bocanegra got free from his marker to head home a Landon Donovan corner kick.

The U.S. continued to press for an equalizer, but were unable to get one. The 1-1 tie left head coach Bruce Arena still looking for his 50th victory. The U.S. start the semifinal round of World Cup Qualifying on August 18 in Jamaica. They then come to Foxboro for a double-header with the New England Revolution on September 4th against EL Salvador.
July 13, 2004 Sean Donahue


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