U.S. Finishes Second in the Group with Six Points Behind PanamaJozy Altidore Scores the Game-Winner in the Ninth Minu U.S. Will Face Jamaica in Quarterfinal Match on Sunday, June 19 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., Live at 3 p.m. ET on Fox Soccer and Univision
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (June 14, 2011) – The U.S. Men’s National Team advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup this evening with a dominating 1-0 victory against Guadeloupe at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in their third and final Group C match.
The U.S. controlled the entire match against Guadeloupe and created 21 shots but Jozy Altidore’s impressive strike from distance in the ninth minute was their only goal on the night.
The U.S. will face Jamaica in the quarterfinals at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, June 19 at 3 p.m. ET. The match can be seen live on FOX Soccer and Univision. FOX Soccer will also have a 30-minute pre-game show beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET. (tickets).
“Overall, it was a good performance,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. “It’s certainly a game at the end where we still feel we should have finished the game earlier. We had good chances to get the second goal. There were a lot of positives, and now we get ready to move forward.
“Our goal has always been to get to the final. We understand from experience what it means in group play. You have to deal with each game and find a way to advance. I think there are things there that bring the group together, and now we get ready for the knockout phase and approach it one game at a time.” [More Quotes]
With Canada and Panama drawing 1-1 earlier in the evening, the U.S. could only finish as high as second, making this the first time ever they didn’t win their group in Gold Cup history.
In their first-ever match against Guadeloupe, Bradley made two changes to the starting lineup from the first two group games. Eric Lichaj earned his first Gold Cup appearance in place of Tim Ream, and Chris Wondolowski replaced Juan Agudelo up front. With the changes, Carlos Bocanegra moved inside to play in the center of the defense alongside Clarence Goodson.
Despite the dominating performance, it was Guadeloupe that had the first dangerous opportunity off a corner kick in the third minute. A near post service wasn’t cleared by a number of capable U.S. players, allowing the ball to skip towards the back post. Goalkeeper Tim Howard only got a slight touch to it and Landon Donovan’s clearance hit Clint Dempsey before Stephane Zubar pounced on the loose ball but his strike from 12 yards out struck the crossbar.
After that initial scare, the U.S. began their overwhelming dominance but were continually thwarted either due to poor finishing or remarkable saves by Guadeloupe goalkeeper Franck Grandel.
Clint Dempsey was active all evening and created numerous chances on goal, but wasn’t able to find the back of the net. He provided the USA’s first chance of the night in the sixth minute when he unleashed a free kick from 28 yards out, but Grandel was able to make the diving save.
While Grandel would come up with a number of saves during the rest of the half, he had no chance on Altidore’s goal, the 12th of his national team career. After a poor clearance by Guadeloupe, the U.S. put together a string of 13 consecutive passes inside their attacking half before Bradley found Altidore to his right. The forward dribbled to create some space before unleashing a 25-yard blast into upper right corner.
Jermaine Jones initiated the next goal-scoring opportunity in the 24th minute when he hit a driven ball from just inside the center circle to the far right corner for Steve Cherundolo. After a settling touch near the endline, Cherundolo sent in a perfectly-placed cross to wide-open Dempsey at the six-yard box, but the midfielder’s header went agonizingly wide left.
The U.S. continued the onslaught and Dempsey hit a well-struck shot from outside the penalty area in the 31st, but Grandel once again made the save.
Ten minutes later, even when Grandel made a gaffe with a poor pass off a free kick that allowed the U.S. to create a quick attack, he was able to make up for it with two fantastic saves. Off the turnover, Altidore slipped Wondolowski into the penalty area with a great through ball, but Grandel denied the San Jose striker with a foot save. The ball stayed in play and Wondolowski ended up with another chance, but his left-footed strike from 12 yards was gobbled up by Grandel with a low dive to his right.
The U.S. continued to have the better of the play in the second half and during a six-minute span had three chances just miss. The first came in the 54th minute when Jones served a long ball from midfield into the penalty area and Altidore showed his strength by holding off two defenders to get off a shot, but his attempt was deflected out for a corner. Donovan had his best chance of the game three minutes later on a nice passing sequence with Dempsey and Jones, but his final touch from six yards out missed the target. A couple minutes later, Dempsey’s 30-yard free kick was on target but hit the top of the cross bar.
Dempsey looked assured to score in the 76th minute when Bedoya’s square pass in front of the net provided him with a wide-open goal him six yards out, but he took a settling touch and before he could tap it home, Julien Ictoi raced back and cleared it off his foot.
Dempsey had one final chance to get his deserved goal on the night in the 92nd minute, but his spinning shot inside the penalty area went wide right.
The quarterfinals begin on Saturday, June 18 with two matches at New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. In the first match, Costa Rica will face Honduras, followed by Mexico and Guatemala. Following the U.S. match on Sunday at RFK, Panama will take on El Salvador.
The U.S. is seeking its fifth Gold Cup title and first since 2007 when the team defeated Mexico 2-1 in the final in Chicago. The winner of this year’s tournament earns a berth in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil.
– U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report –
Match: United States vs. Guadeloupe 1-0
Date: June 14, 2011
Competition: 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup; Group C
Venue: LIVESTRONG Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.
Kickoff: 8 p.m. CT
Attendance: 20,109 (sellout)
Weather: 85 degrees, fair
1-0 Jozy Altidore (Michael Bradley) 9th minute
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 21-Clarence Goodson, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 14-Eric Lichaj; 8-Clint Dempsey, 4-Michael Bradley (7-Maurice Edu, 85), 13-Jermaine Jones, 10-Landon Donovan; 17-Jozy Altidore (16-Sacha Kljestan, 78), 11-Chris Wondolowski (22-Alejandro Bedoya, 64)
Subs not used: 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 9-Juan Agudelo, 12-Jonathan Bornstein, 23-Marcus Hahnemann
Head Coach: Bob Bradley
GUADELOUPE: 1-Franck Grandel; 5-Eddy Viator, 3-Stephane Zubar, 15-Julien Ictoi, 22-Mickael Tacalfred; 12-Thomas Gamiette, 7-Loic Loval (Cedric Collet, 25), 19-Stephane Auvray (capt.), 10-Thery Racon (9-Ludovic Gotin, 73); 21-Richard Socrier, 11-Livio Nabab (8-Dimitri Fautrai, 60)
Subs not used: 2-Miguel Comminges, 6-David Fleurival, 14-Gregory Gendrey, 16-Fabrice Mercury
Head coach: Roger Salnot
Stats Summary: USA / GPE
Shots: 21 / 5
Shots on Goal: 5 / 0
Saves: 0 / 4
Corner Kicks: 4 / 2
Fouls: 10 / 16
Offside: 1 / 5
GPE – Eddy Viator (caution) 66th minute
GPE – Stephane Zubar (caution) 77
GPE – Stephane Auvray (caution) 89
Referee: Jeffrey Solis (CRC) Assistant Referee 1: Jose Luis Carmago (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Alberto Morin (MEX) Fourth Official: Marlon Mejia (SLV)
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