June 5, 2002
Suwon, Korea - Former UCLA All-American goalkeeper Brad Friedel (1990-1992) started in goal and earned the victory as the U.S. Men's Soccer team shocked Portugal, 3-2, in the World Cup opener for both teams.
Friedel and defender Frankie Hejduk (1992-94) started for the U.S., which jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after a John O'Brien goal in the fourth minute, the fastest U.S. goal in World Cup history. The U.S. increased its lead to 2-0 in the 30th minute on an own goal by Portugal defender Jorge Costa, and Brian McBride made it 3-0 six minutes later with a header from the right flank.
Portugal drew a goal back in the 39th minute after a poor U.S. cross off a corner kick. Portugal midfielder Luis Figo sent in a cross from the right side, where Beto headed a shot on goal. O'Brien was there to clear the shot, but it went straight to Beto, who finished past Friedel to make it 3-1 just before halftime.
In the second half, the U.S. defense thwarted Portugal's attack, and in the 56th minute, Friedel, who was credited with two saves in the contest, jumped out and forced Pauleta to shoot wide right after Figo fed him a nice pass off a corner kick. It took an own goal to bring Portugal to within a goal late in the match. Midfielder Rui Costa sent in a cross from the left side that fell to U.S. defender Jeff Agoos in the middle of the box, but his errant volley angled back toward the U.S. goal and past Friedel to make it 3-2 in the 71st minute.
The U.S. held on in the remaining minutes, thanks in part to the play of former Bruins Friedel, Hejduk and second-half subs Joe-Max Moore (1990-92) and Cobi Jones (1988-91).
The victory was the first for a U.S. team in the World Cup since defeating Columbia in 1994. It is also the first World Cup win outside U.S. soil in 52 years.
The U.S. will next play host Korea on Monday.