Rapids' Pablo Mastroeni Named Man of the Match as USA Eliminate Jamaica

COLUMBUS Ohio (From USSoccer.com) — The U.S. Men’s National Team finished the semifinal round of World Cup qualifying with a spirited 1-1 draw with Jamaica tonight in front of fans that braved the rain and chill at Columbus Crew Stadium.

(To watch post-game comments from Bruce Arena Pablo Mastroeni and other players and see a replay of the USA's goal click here).

With the result the U.S. extended a pair of unbeaten streaks extending its current record-unbeaten streak to 13 games while also improving its all-time record against Jamaica to 8-0-7.

The result also knocks Jamaica out of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying paving the way for Panama to advance along with the U.S. from Group 1 with a 3-0 home win over El Salvador.

In other results from around the region Costa Rica tied Honduras 0-0 allowing them to join Guatemala as the two qualifiers from Group B. Trinidad & Tobago grabbed the second spot in Group C after beating St. Vincent & Grenadines 2-1. With the results from across the region the six teams that will make up the CONCACAF Final Round of 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying are Costa Rica Guatemala Mexico Panama Trinidad & Tobago and the USA.

"I was pleased with our performance said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena. If we could be at fault for anything tonight it was not doing well with our chances but I thought the opportunity to play some of our young players and the leadership from our veterans like McBride and Keller was an outstanding effort. I can’t be more pleased. I would have liked to have the three points but certainly one point is a fair result. It was a good experience to be in that situation and come out on top."

The first U.S. goal came in the 15th minute with Pablo Mastroeni lifting a perfect ball into the area for the speedy Ed Johnson who found himself alone in the box with just Donovan Ricketts to beat. Taking a quick touch with his right foot Johnson set himself up perfectly for a curling left-footed shot into the lower left corner of the goal that skillfully beat the sliding goalkeeper.

The goal was an historic one for Johnson who became the first player in MNT history to score goals in his first three qualifying appearances. He also joined Alexander Rae as one of only two players in MNT history with goals in each of his first three caps. (Rae’s feat was accomplished in 1937 in a trio of games against Mexico.) He also became one of only two players (joining Aldo "Buff" Donelli two career caps) with five goals in as many as three career games accomplishing the feat in a mere 61 total minutes. In his last match Johnson notched a hat trick in an 18-minute span in the USA’s 6-0 win over Panama at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C.

The lead for the U.S. was short-lived however as Jamaica earned a penalty kick that was converted by Andy Williams in the 27th minute. Ricardo Fuller earned the PK by first getting past a clutching Oguchi Onyewu just outside the area and then being chopped down by midfielder Ramiro Corrales on the slippery turf as he raced along the end line in the area.

The U.S. went down to 10 men in the 73rd minute when Onyewu received a second yellow card for a handball on a Jamaica counter-attack. Onyewu picked up his first yellow card in the 64th minute for a foul tackle. It was the first red card ejection of the year for the U.S. MNT.

Corrales Steve Ralston Clint Dempsey Taylor Twellman and 18-year-old defender Jonathan Spector made their first World Cup qualifying appearances in the game and the match also marked the first-ever caps for both Dempsey and Spector.

The match also featured the debut of Nike's Total 90 Aerow Hi-Vis ball designed to provided maximum visibility with a distinctive yellow base and contrasting blue stripe. For the match the U.S. were also decked out in the team’s 1950 World Cup retro uniforms commemorating the team’s 1-0 upset win over England 54 years ago.

The tie for Jamaica marks the elimination of a team that had previously represented the region at the 1998 FIFA World Cup France and provided a stiff challenge to the opposition in finishing fifth in the final round of qualifying for the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan.

The USA and the other five CONCACAF nations advancing to the final round of qualifying will now await the draw to determine the match schedule for the 2005 final round of qualifying.

POST-GAME QUOTE SHEET

BRUCE ARENA U.S. Manager

On getting ready for the final round of qualifying:
"The problem we always have with out MLS players is their layoff. That will be a difficult challenge over the next couple months to get a group of players ready for February 9. "

On McBride:
"McBride is a warrior. Some of the plays McBride makes all over the field probably go unnoticed by 99% of the people. They are plays that add up over 90 minutes and make a difference for our team."

PABLO MASTROENI Colorado Rapids and U.S. Midfielder/Defender and Chevrolet Man of the Match

On his assist on Ed Johnson’s goal:
"At this level it is so much faster in the midfield you try to take a mental picture and be one step ahead. Eddie is such a great player and makes those runs so obvious it was just a quick play and I got the ball back and I just threw it into Eddie and he has been one of the great additions on this team and has been playing real well. Eddie did the hard stuff I just put it in front of him."

On the play of Ed Johnson:
"As a midfielder you are always looking for obvious runs for players who tell you where they want the ball instead of having me just play it in a particular space. He is doing everything well he is checking the ball well holding up well and making great runs. The kid is on top of his game."

On his moves between midfield and defense in 2004:
"I have played in various positions on this team and there is nothing worse than playing center back for a half season and then being thrown in at defensive midfield where the game is 360 degrees around you as opposed to the game always being in front of you. The more games I play at this level and obviously being in camp for 10 days helped but I’m feeling more and more comfortable."

On the match ending in a draw:
"It’s tough especially being at home. Your mindset is still to get three points and it doesn’t matter what they needed to do. We had an attacking mindset and were going to get after them and I think our guys up front did a great job but Donovan Ricketts played unbelievable and came up with three or four breakaway saves. He is just a quality player."

ED JOHNSON U.S. Forward

On his goal:
"It was one of those games were I was able to get myself in good positions and I’ve got great guys around me that can distribute great balls. As a forward you know you are going to get your chances and it is a matter of taking your chances when you get them. And I had two chances before that that I didn’t take well the ‘keeper making a good save on one and the other one I mis-hit. I tried to do something different on the third chance and played the ball to my left foot and was able to get it around him. Just one of those games. It was my first start and I was just happy to be out there."

"I had a good year in MLS and got some goals and got my confidence up. I try to put myself in position on the field when I’m here with the National Team because at this level you have guys that can take you out when you make a run with the ball. Good runs off the ball and good passes from our middle guys and it was a great ball from Pablo (on my goal)."

KASEY KELLER U.S. Goalkeeper

On the result and ending Jamaica’s World Cup hopes:
"I think after the domination that we had after the first half hour it was a shame we didn’t take more advantage of that. Unfortunately they got into our box and we gave them a penalty and we just couldn’t get the second one. But we showed good character from the guys that came in that they were able to playing a man down against a team that is very strong attacking that we were able to hold them off and knock them out of the competition."

-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --

Match-up: United States Men's National Team vs. Jamaica
Date: November 17 2004
Competition: FIFA World Cup Qualifier – Semifinal Round Group 1 Matchday 6
Venue: Columbus Crew Stadium – Columbus Ohio
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Attendance: 9088
Weather: 52 degrees rain

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
Jamaica 1 0 1

Scoring:
USA – Ed Johnson (Pablo Mastroeni) 15th minute.
JAM – Andy Williams (penalty kick) 27.

Lineups:
USA: 18-Kasey Keller; 5-Chris Albright 6-Oguchi Onyewu 22-Tony Sanneh 12-Cory Gibbs; 25-Pablo Mastroeni 3-Ramiro Corrales (2-Clint Dempsey 66) 14-Steve Ralston (4-Jonathan Spector 77) 10-Landon Donovan (Capt.); 20-Brian McBride 7-Ed Johnson (16-Taylor Twellman 88).
Subs not used: 1-Joe Cannon 8-Brian Mullan 9-Brian Ching 21-Kyle Martino.
Head Coach: Bruce Arena.

JAM: 30-Donovan Ricketts; 23-Craig Ziadie 3-Damion Stewart (17-Jermaine Hue 24) 5-Ian Goodison 15-Ricardo Gardner; 14-Tyrone Marshall 8-James Lawrence 9-Andy Williams 11-Theodore Whitmore (Capt.) (7-Jason Euell 71); 20-Damani Ralph (6-Marlon King 68) 10-Ricardo Fuller.
Subs not used: 13-Aaron Lawrence 18-Jermaine Taylor 19-Garfield Reid 22-Fabian Davis.
Head Coach: Sebastio Lazaroni.

Stats Summary: USA JAM
Shots 11 8
Saves 3 6
Corner Kicks 2 2
Fouls 13 26
Offside 0 3

Misconduct Summary:
JAM – Ricardo Gardner (caution) 29th minute.
USA Oguchi Onyewu (caution) 64.
JAM Tyrone Marshall (caution) 65.
USA Oguchi Onyewu (caution) 73.
USA Oguchi Onyewu (ejection) 73.

Officials:
Referee: Mauricio Navarro (CAN)
1st Asst.: Hector Vergara (CAN)
2nd Asst.: Amato DeLuca (CAN)
Fourth Official: Silvio Petrescu (CAN)

Chevrolet Man of the Match: Pablo Mastroeni