U.S. men fall to Chile 2-0 in bronze medal gamePosted: Friday September 29, 2000 12:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday November 14, 2000 10:14 AM
SYDNEY, Australia (CNNSI.com) -- Veteran striker Ivan Zamorano scored twice as Chile defeated the U.S. 2-0 for the bronze medal and won its first medal of the Olympics.
The 33-year-old Inter Milan star drove home a penalty in the 70th minute and then finished a stunning Chilean move for the second six minutes from time. It was Zamorano's fifth and sixth goals of the championship.
Zamorano joined the squad only two weeks before the tournament as a replacement for Lazio's Marcelo Salas, who decided not to take part, and moved ahead by himself as the Games' top scorer two ahead of countryman Reinaldo Navia and David Suazo of Honduras.
Chile was beaten 2-1 in extra time by Cameroon in the semifinals while the Americans lost 3-1 to Spain.
Cameroon and Spain were to play for the gold medal at Stadium Australia on Saturday.
"It isn't bad to be among the top three," Chile coach Nelson Acosta said. "After the match I spoke to the players and told their goal for the future should be gold not bronze.
"Considering the history achieved, the best place was third at the World Cup in 1962, and it is also in 100 years of football that this is the first time we have managed a medal outside our own country. It's not the optimum but it's good.
"We have recovered Ivan Zamorano in football terms," Acosta said. "Zamorano was in this team but I could have brought another player and maybe he would have scored the goals. But that's his strength although the goals were built up by the entire team.
"It's a good achievement and let's hope it leads to better things in the future."
Clive Charles, the English-born coach of the American team, saluted his players for going so far in the competition for the first time.
"The momentum is building underneath this team," he said. "This team is no more. It's those individuals from this team that now have to go on.
"Have Brazil won the Olympics? It's extremely difficult to come away with a medal from the World Cup or Olympics. People who view it as just another year of the U.S. not winning a medal should watch more soccer."
The Americans almost took the lead in the 17th minute when Josh Wolff beat three defenders in a determined run but shot straight at keeper Nelson Tapia, at 34 the oldest player in the tournament.
Seven minutes later, Chile's Cristian Alvarez collected a through ball from deep but lobbed his volley over the bar.
The first half produced few chances but the United States nearly snatched the lead 22 seconds into the second half when Conor Casey's left-footed shot from the top of the area was palmed over the bar by Tapia.
Then Brian Dunseth, returning to the United States starting lineup and reclaiming the captain's armband because of the suspension of Chad McCarty, hit the bar with a half-volleyed left footer after Chile only half cleared a corner.
But the South Americans went ahead with virtually their next attack when Danny Califf needlessly upended substitute Sebastian Gonzalez wide on the left with no real danger to the American goal, and Australian referee Simon Micaleff pointed to the spot.
After the referee waved away the American protests, Zamorano sent goalkeeper Brad Friedel the wrong way for his fifth goal of the tournament.
It was all over six minutes from the end when the Chileans constructed a move up upwards of 15 passes across the field from left to right and Claudio Maldonado slipped the ball through to Zamorano, who turned shot level with the penalty spot.
United States: Brad Friedel; Brian Dunseth, Jeff Agoos, Frankie Hejduk, Danny Califf (Landon Donovan, 82nd); John O'Brien, Ben Olsen (Sasha Victorine, 71st), Pete Vagenas, Chris Albright; Josh Wolff, Conor Casey.
Chile: Nelson Tapia; Cristian Alvares, Pablo Contreras, Pedro Reyes, Rafael Olarra; Claudio Maldonado, David Pizzaro, Patricio Ormazabal (Rodrigo Nunez, 36th), Rodrigo Tello (Mauricio Rojas, 86th); Ivan Zamorano, Reinaldo Navia (Sebastian Gonzalez, 71st).
Referee: Simon Micaleff, Australia.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.