The five-goal win was the largest margin of victory for the U.S. against a European team and tied the largest margin of victory ever against a non-CONCACAF team (5-0 vs. China on April 4 1992). Overall this was just the 11th time in history the U.S. has won a game by at least five goals.
"Obviously it was a good performance on our part said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena who will now have two weeks to prepare his squad for their meeting with Japan at SBC Park in San Francisco on Feb. 10 (8 p.m. PT live on ESPN2). "We certainly improved over last week. It was a good effort by our team. We played quite well for 90 minutes. I was very pleased."
After struggling offensively in their opening match of 2006 against Canada just a week earlier the U.S. came out firing on all cylinders. Facing an unrelenting attack that produced 24 shots (13 on goal) Norway was unable to get settled or find a rhythm and only hit two shots during the entire 90 minutes.
Twellman scored his first goal in the fifth minute with a left-footed strike from close range before burying headers in the 17th and 76th minutes. Along with Twellman’s hat trick veterans Eddie Pope and Chris Klein got in on the action with goals of their own in the second half.
Twellman’s three-goal effort was the ninth hat trick all-time for the U.S. and the first since Eddie Johnson found the net three times after coming on as a reserve on Oct. 12 2004 against Panama during the semifinal round of World Cup qualifying. After not scoring in his first 11 caps Twellman now has four goals in his last three games as he attempts to secure a spot on the 23-player World Cup roster.
"He scored three goals. That’s sometimes how you are graded as a striker said Arena commenting on Twellman’s hat trick. "If that's the case he gets an 'A' for today. All three goals were great. He also at one point in the first half made a great play defensively. Taylor is getting used to what we ask out of our forwards and I think he played well."
Clint Dempsey who hit the crossbar in the 27th minute was stellar from his right midfield position and had a part in Twellman’s first two goals providing the assist to his New England Revolution teammate on his first strike. Frankie Hejduk dribbled up the right sideline into the attack before dropping it back with a heel pass to Dempsey who served the ball into the penalty area for Twellman. The forward took a settling touch and then buried a left-footed shot from six yards out into the right corner.
Continuing to work down the right flank Dempsey was fouled after a nice step-over move giving the U.S. a free kick that would yield Twellman’s second goal of the day. Todd Dunivant who collected his first cap at left back curled the free kick to the back post where Twellman headed it home from six yards.
On the other end of the field U.S. goalkeeper Kevin Hartman was hardly tested in his first international start with the MNT as Norway created only one good opportunity on the day off a free kick in the 13th minute. Stian Ohr served the ball in and Frode Kippe was able to extend his foot at the corner of the six yard box to get a touch on the ball and direct it on goal but Hartman stretched out to make the save and parry it out for a corner.
The save was the only excitement for Hartman as Norway only took one more shot on the day a wide-left blast in the 43rd minute providing the L.A. Galaxy ‘keeper his first shutout with the MNT on his club’s home field. Before playing all 90 minutes this afternoon Hartman had played in three matches coming on as a second half substitute in each.
The U.S. kept the tempo up in the second half and after an attempt by Josh Wolff that missed just wide right and a goal by Dempsey that was waived off on a close offside call Pope was able to find the back of the net in the 67th minute for the seventh goal of his MNT career. Dunivant did well to win a 50-50 ball off a deflected U.S. corner kick inside the left side of the penalty area and then slipped the ball in front of the goal where Pope was able to finish from close range.
Nine minutes later Twellman secured his hat trick when he headed home a cross from another Revolution teammate. This time Pat Noonan served the ball in from the left side finding Twellman at the back post and the St. Louis native smoothly placed his header back across into the left side of the goal.
"I've always said it with the Revs that when you are surrounded by a lot of good players like you are with the U.S. team it's pretty much getting the final ball and getting on the end of things said Twellman about his three-goal performance. "I was blessed with some great service today and just did my job."
Along with Dunivant forward Nate Jacqua and defender Ugo Ihemelu earned their first caps with the U.S. MNT coming on in reserve in the second half. Jacqua was active up front as he unleashed a few attempts on goal including one that led to the USA’s last goal of the night in the 87the minute. After receiving a ball from Ben Olsen Jacqua unleashed an attempt that was kick-saved by Espen Johnsen. The rebound fell to Donovan who calmly laid the ball off to his right for an onrushing Klein who buried it into the upper right corner.
In an interesting note four different players have scored hat tricks for the U.S. since Jan. 27 2002 (just over four years) while in the previous 33 years the U.S. had just one (a four-goal game from Joe-Max Moore in 1993).
U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
Match-up: USA vs. Norway
Date: January 29 2006
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: The Home Depot Center – Carson California
Kickoff: 2 p.m. PT
Weather: 64 degrees Partly Cloudy Light Breeze
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 3 5
Norway 0 0 0
USA – Taylor Twellman (Clint Dempsey) 5th minute
USA –Twellman (Todd Dunivant) 17.
USA – Eddie Pope (Dunivant) 67.
USA – Twellman (Pat Noonan) 76.
USA – Chris Klein (Landon Donovan) 87.
USA: 22-Kevin Hartman; 3-Todd Dunivant 12-Jimmy Conrad 23-Eddie Pope (4-Ugo Ihemelu 83) 2-Frankie Hejduk; 5-Kerry Zavagnin (14-Ben Olsen 79) 13-Pat Noonan (17-Chris Klein 77) 8-Clint Dempsey (21-Santino Quaranta 70) 10-Landon Donovan (capt.);16-Josh Wolff (19-Nate Jaqua 67) 20-Taylor Twellman (11-Brian Ching 83)
Subs not used: 24-Matt Reis
Head Coach: Bruce Arena
NOR: 1-Espen Johnsen; 2-Steinar Pedersen (capt.) 3-Frode Kippe 4-Brede Hangeland 5-Erlend Hanstveit (14-Trond Erik Bertelsen 46); 6-Henning Hauger (17-Alex Valencia 46) 7-Petter Rudi (16-Magne Hoset 64) 8-Stian Ohr (18-Epsen Olsen 46) 9-Tomasz Sokolowski (15-Raymond Kvisvik 46); 10-Ole Martin Arst 11-Petter Vaagan Moen
Subs not used: 12-Jan Kjell Larsen 13-Jarl Andre Storbæk
Head Coach: Age Hareide
NOR – Erlend Hanstveit (caution) 17th minute
NOR – Magne Hoset (caution) 70.
USA – Landon Donovan (caution) 70.
USA – Santino Quaranta (caution) 82.
Referee: Oscar Ruiz Acosta (COL)
1st Asst.: Eduardo Botero Walker (COL)
2nd Asst.: Jose Naviaci Fuentes (COL)
Fourth Official: Kevin Stott (USA)