U.S. soccer slips past scrappy Grenada

Posted: Monday, June 21, 2004

ST. GEORGE'S, Grenada The United States advanced in World Cup qualifying Sunday with a 3-2 victory over Grenada on a soggy field.

Landon Donovan, Josh Wolff and DaMarcus Beasley scored for the Americans, who moved into the CONCACAF qualifying semifinals, which begin in August. The U.S. team, ranked ninth in the world, won the opener of the home-and-home series 3-0 in Columbus, Ohio last week.

''I think the field conditions made it difficult for both teams,'' U.S. coach Bruce Arena said. ''These games tend to be games of mistakes, because there's going to be a lot of technical errors on the field and the sloppy surface. I think both teams did well in that regard.''

The United States next will play in a four-team qualifying group, and the top two teams will advance to a final six-team group. Three teams will qualify for the 2006 tournament in Germany, while a fourth team will face an Asian team for another berth in the 32-team World Cup field.

Playing on a waterlogged field on this tiny Caribbean island, the Americans immediately pressed the attack. They scored in the 7th minute when Wolff intercepted the ball and fed Claudio Reyna. He sped down the wing and crossed for Donovan, who put a shot into the lower right side.

Grenada, ranked 138th, tied it on a penalty kick just six minutes later. Jason Roberts beat Kasey Keller for the goal.

''We knew we had to score three goals to get ourselves back into the competition,'' Grenada coach Allister Debellotte said after the match. ''We were hoping to attack and still hold out in our defense. As it proved, they got an early goal and that sort of settled that. Nevertheless, I think we played as well as we could.''

But Wolff gave the Americans the lead for good when he scored off a scramble following a corner kick in the 23rd minute.

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