- The Washington Times - Monday, May 13, 2002

What goalkeeper controversy?
If coach Bruce Arena starts Brad Friedel in goal June 5 against Portugal in the opener of the 2002 World Cup, the U.S. national team will be in good hands.
Friedel was spectacular yesterday and made a strong case for being the United States' No. 1 goalkeeper. Friedel made 13 saves many of the sensational variety to lead the United States to a 2-1 exhibition victory over Uruguay before 30,413 at RFK Stadium.
Locked in a battle with Kasey Keller for the starting job, Friedel played like it already was his.
"I just go out and play and do the best I can and don't think about it a lot," Friedel said. "The way things are going it looks good."
Keller was not on the roster for yesterday's match. Keller, who plays for the Tottenham Hotspurs in the English Premier League, started in Tottenham's goal Saturday in a 2-1 loss to Leicester City in the season finale.
Friedel, who also plays in the English Premier League for the Blackburn Rovers, was named Blackburn's player of the year by the team's fans.
The United States next plays Jamaica on Thursday at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., followed by Holland on Sunday at CMGI Field in Foxboro, Mass. Holland failed to qualify for the World Cup and is bringing its full side, which includes Manchester United superstar Ruud van Nistelrooy, Barcelona forward Patrick Kluivert and Juventus midfielder Edgar Davids.
Arena was pleased with his team's solid performance yesterday and said Keller will start against Jamaica. Uruguay booked the final spot in the 32-team World Cup by defeating Australia in a home-and-home series. It will be the first World Cup appearance for the "Charruas" in 12 years.
"I thought it was a good game against a World Cup team," Arena said. "I thought we controlled the game up until their goal, and then Friedel was a major factor."
U.S. midfielder DaMarcus Beasley, at 19 the youngest player on the U.S. team, scored the game-winner, was instrumental on the other goal and was dangerous all game on the left wing.
Before many of the blue-clad Uruguayan fans found their seats, the United States took the lead on a header by right back Tony Sanneh in the sixth minute. The goal was set up after Beasley stole the ball from an Uruguayan player, ran with the ball down the left flank and won a corner kick.
Jeff Agoos took the corner kick and sent a perfect ball to Sanneh, who was standing at the near post after beating two defenders. Sanneh, a former D.C. United star who played this past season in the prestigious German Bundesliga for FC Nurnberg, glanced a header past Uruguayan goalkeeper Gustavo Munua into the upper right corner to make it 1-0. Sanneh left the game in the 68th minute with muscle cramps and was replaced by Frankie Hejduk.
"I made a good run, and the ball came away from the goal for me to head it in," Sanneh said. "Jeff made a perfect pass."
Beasley, who turns 20 in two weeks, scored his second international goal in the 40th minute and gave the United States a comfortable 2-0 halftime lead. Again, Beasley stole the ball this time from Uruguayan defender Alejandro Lembo.
Beasley cut inside from the left flank, dribbled into the 18-yard box and tried a 16-yard strike directly in front of the goal that Munua deflected to the right. Beasley chased down the rebound and from eight yards out rolled it inside the right post.
"DaMarcus did well," Arena said. "Can we rely on our young kids at the World Cup? He's only 19, but he played like a man today."
Uruguay scored its only goal of the match in the 60th minute. Landon Donovan played a lazy ball back to Agoos deep in his own goal area. Uruguayan forward Alvaro Recoba, who starts for Italian power Inter Milan, picked off Donovan's miscue at the 6-yard box. Recoba took a left-footed shot, and Friedel knocked down the shot.
Recoba got the rebound and shot again. Friedel made another huge save but couldn't stop the third. Forward Sebastian Abreu corralled the rebound and tapped it in to cut the deficit to 2-1.
U.S. midfielder Chris Armas left the game in the 24th minute with an injured right knee. Armas twisted his knee walking backward, and team officials feared the injury was worse than it looked. If Armas is unable to play, D.C. United midfielder Richie Williams could be called up.
Staff writer John Haydon contributed to this story.


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