June 14, 2002
Daejeon, Korea - Despite a 3-1 loss to Poland on Friday, the U.S. Soccer Team has advanced to the second round of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The U.S. needed a win or tie against Poland to ensure advancement but was helped out by South Korea's 1-0 victory over Portugal just before the end of the U.S.-Poland match. The Portugal result kept the U.S. in second place in Group D with a 1-1-1 record. South Korea finished in first place with a 2-0-1 record.
Poland shocked the U.S. with two goals in the first five minutes of the contest. Just one minute after Poland's first goal, U.S. midfielder Landon Donovan scored what appeared to be the equalizer, but the goal was disallowed due to a foul. One minute after that, Poland struck again to double up the score.
Poland produced another dangerous flurry in front of the U.S. goal in the 29th minute that almost made it a 3-0 lead if not for two gigantic saves from former UCLA All-American goalkeeper Brad Friedel (1990-92). Jacek Krzynowek found hilmself with just the keeper to beat after picking up a loose ball in the box, but Friedel saved his shot from 10 yards out. Maciej Zurawski pounced on the rebound, but Friedel recovered to get just enough of a hand on the shot to direct it off the right post, where it caromed back across the goal mouth and was cleared.
Already facing a 2-0 deficit as the second half began, Friedel was called on to make another huge save in the 47th minute. Kryznowek beat U.S. defender Eddie Pope to a bouncing ball in the box, but Friedel quickly came off his line and took the shot of the toes of the attacker and smothered the rebound.
Poland made the U.S. comeback even more difficult in the 66th minute on a goal by Marcin Zewlakow that made the score 3-0, and in the 76th minute had the opportunity to put the game out of reach after earning a penalty kick. However, Friedel, who had stopped a penalty kick in the tie against South Korea in his last game, dove to his left and smothered Zurawski's shot. Friedel became the first goalkeeper in World Cup history to make two penalty kick saves in regulation during the tournament. For the second consecutive game, Friedel was named the Chevrolet Man of the Match.
A Landon Donovan goal in the 83rd minute made the score closer, but it wasn't enough to capture the victory.
Second-half subs Cobi Jones (1988-92) and Joe-Max Moore (1990-92) provided a spark off the bench and created a few goal-scoring opportunities that were snuffed out by the Polish defense. Moore's appearance made him just the sixth player in U.S. history to reach the 100-cap milestone. Jones also reached a milestone by making his ninth World Cup appearance, tying with Tab Ramos and Earnie Stewart for the U.S. record.
The U.S. will face Mexico in the Round of 16 on Monday morning, June 17 in Jeonju, Korea (Sunday evening at 11:30 pm Pacific Time). The match will be televised live on ESPN and Univision. Defender Frankie Hejduk (1992-94) will be unavailable for the match after receiving his second caution of group play against Poland, resulting in a one-game suspension.