Work in Sports
U.S. beats Mexico 2-0 in exhibition
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Landon Donovan scored in his international debut and Olympic hero Josh Wolff also scored as the United States beat Mexico 2-0 Wednesday night in an exhibition game.
Preparing for a crucial World Cup qualifier at Barbados on Nov. 15, the Americans (8-3-5 this year) called in a young roster for the game, which drew 61,072 people.
Donovan, an 18-year-old from Redlands, put the United States ahead in the 49th minute off a pass from Clint Mathis, who split a pair of defenders. Donovan was wide open, drew goalkeeper Adrian Martinez off his line and put the ball into an open net.
Donovan replaced starter Chris Henderson, who left with a strained right calf in the 32nd minute.
Donovan and Wolff, teammates as the United States Under-23 team advanced to the semifinals of the Sydney Olympics last month, combined for the second goal in the 79th minute. Donovan began the play with a crossing pass to Wolff from the left wing.
Wolff split two defenders before striking a soft shot with his right foot from 10 yards out. He promptly became the target of debris from some members of the overwhelming pro-Mexico crowd.
Both teams fielded rosters of young players who had minimal international experience.
If the United States fails to beat Barbados on Nov. 15 and Guatemala beats visiting Costa Rica in a game that kicks off at the same time, the U.S. team would miss the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
Costa Rica (3-1-1) leads Group E of the North and Central American and Caribbean semifinals with 10 points, two ahead of the United States (2-1-2) and three ahead of Guatemala (2-2-1). Barbados (1-4) has three points and has been eliminated.
The top two teams join Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago in next year's regional finals, which will produce three qualifiers for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.