US Beats South Africa
Earns First-Ever Victory on Continent
November 18, 2007
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa Steve Cherundolo scored his second career goal and the United States mens soccer team beat South Africa, 1-0, Saturday at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
Cherundolos first-half tally gave the Americans their first-ever victory on the African continent (in three all-time matches) and improved the teams record in 2007 to 12-5-1.
The result is important, said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. We have some young players with us, so the experience to play in front of this kind of crowd and get a result is important. I thought Steve scored a very good goal, and we defended well as a group. To be able to maintain a lead in that type of atmosphere is a positive."
The U.S. jumped out to a 1-0 lead in their final match of the year after some excellent passing up the right flank. Four quick passes from Benny Feilhaber, Feddy Adu, Michael Bradley and Maurice Edu and then finally to Cherundolo gave the US game-winner in the 27th minute.
With the right back overlapping into the penalty area, he received a perfect pass from Edu and cracked an angled shot from eight yards out above South African goalkeeper Rowen Fernandez and into the near top corner of the goal. The goal was the second for Cherundolo in 43 caps in a career that began with the U.S. back in 1999.
The U.S. had two other excellent scoring chances in a first half. In the 35th minute, Adu hit an excellent through ball from the midfield into the path of Beasley who hit a tough left-footed shot that Fernandez did well to save. Just 10 minutes later the U.S. had another strong breakout, with Clint Dempsey sending a perfect ball into the path of Adu from the midfield. With a step on his defender, and Beasley trailing unmarked in the center of the penalty area, Adu tried to lift a bending shot into the far post that sailed wide, missing the chance to lay the ball back to Beasley.
In addition to marking the first-ever start for Freddy Adu, the game also featured the international debut for forward Jozy Altidore of the New York Red Bulls.
The U.S. will open the 2008 campaign when they host Sweden on Jan. 19 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The 2007 CONCACAF Champions will then host Mexico on Feb. 6 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.
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