| Sunday, May 12, 2002 19:35 EST
Americans shaky in 2-1 victory
WASHINGTON -- The United States began its final run of World
Cup warmups Sunday with a shaky 2-1 victory over Uruguay that
showed hope for the Americans' offense but exposed weaknesses on
Tony Sanneh and DaMarcus Beasley scored first-half goals for the
Americans, who won't have their full World Cup roster together
until later this week.
Brad Friedel, starting in goal while Kasey Keller traveled back
to the United States following the English Premier League season,
made his case to be the World Cup starter with several outstanding
saves and couldn't be faulted on Sebastian Abreu's goal in the 60th
But the defense in front of him, shaky in recent months during
losses at Germany and Ireland, showed little sign of improvement,
with outside backs David Regis and Sanneh struggling to contain
Uruguay, the final team to qualify for the World Cup's 32-nation
field, gave the United States plenty of room to work with, and the
Americans took advantage before a mostly pro-Uruguay crowd 30,413
at RFK Stadium.
Clint Mathis and Earnie Stewart both had breakaway chances, and
it took a great diving save by goalkeeper Gustavo Munua to punch
away a shot by Mathis in the 72nd minute. Cobi Jones nearly thread
a shot inside the outside post in the 86th and Beasley nearly
scored three minutes later from a sharp angle.
The U.S. team caught a break in the 73rd minute when an apparent
tying goal by Abreu was disallowed on a questionable offsides.
It was the first of three exhibition games in an eight-day span
for the Americans. After warmups Thursday against Jamaica at East
Rutherford, N.J., and the Netherlands on May 19 at Foxboro, Mass.,
they head to the World Cup for first-round games against Portugal
on June 5, co-host South Korea on June 10 and Poland on June 14.
Sanneh's goal came after Beasley stole the ball from an Uruguay
player and Dario Rodriguez kicked it out. Jeff Agoos took the
corner kick and Sanneh slanted back across the top of the 6-yard
box and redirected the ball inside the near post with a glancing
Beasley created his own goal, speeding past defender Gonzalo
Sorondo, cutting toward Munua, who saved his initial shot, which
bounded toward the far side. Beasley kept running across and tucked
the rebound into the net from a sharp angle.
Friedel, meanwhile, jumped high to make a right-handed punch
save on Fabien O'Neill in the 10th, then dived to his right in the
31st to save a 30-yard free kick by Alvaro Recoba. Two minutes
later, after Gustavo Mendez went around Davis Regis, Friedel
parried his hard shot over the crossbar.
When Uruguay scored, it was only after two big saves on Recoba.
Friedel kicked away his tough shot from about 8 yards, then punched
away the rebound to the opposite side -- where Abreu put it into the
Abreu had a breakaway in the 66th and Friedel stood his ground,
blocking the shot with a shoulder.
Game notes: Midfielder Chris Armas twisted his right knee in the 16th minute
and came out eight minutes later. ... Sanneh left in the 68th
because of a muscle cramp. His only previous goal was against
Germany on a breakaway in February 1999. ... Beasley's only
previous goal was a game-winner against South Korea in the first
round on this year's CONCACAF Gold Cup. ... The Americans were
without MFs Claudio Reyna, John O'Brien and Eddie Lewis. ... Agoos
made his record 119th start for the United States, one more than
Marcelo Balboa. With 128 appearances, Agoos is second behind Cobi
Jones, who made his 154th Sunday.
Uruguay's Gonzalo Sorondo, right, heads the ball over United States' Clint Mathis in the first half.