|United States||Trinidad & Tobago|
|Leonson Lewis (67')|
CONCACAF Gold Cup
|1991-06-29||Rose Bowl||Pasadena, CA, United States||18435|
U.S. pedals past Trinidad and Tobago, 2-1
Trinidad and Tobago's defensive shell game against the United States guaranteed that there would not be a great deal of action, but what little there was Saturday night at the Rose Bowl was nothing short of spectacular.
While most soccer fans have to wait for Pele movies to see bicycle kicks for goals, there were two in the second half alone, including the game-winner by defender Marcelo Balboa with three minutes remaining in a 2-1 U.S. victory.
That was a fair result considering that the host team in the first CONCACAF (Confederation of North and Central American and Caribbean Association Football) Gold Cup dominated the game virtually from the outset, but it also appeared as if it would be an unlikely one until the United States came from behind with two goals in the final five minutes.
The winners congratulated Trinidad and Tobago for a strategy that almost worked, but that was small consolation for a team that has failed to beat the United States in 11 games.
Asked if he believes his team is jinxed, Coach Edgar Vidale said: "I don't believe in that, but it appears to be something."
After 13 goals were scored in the previous three first-round games of the Gold Cup, it appeared as if an announced crowd of 18,435 would be subjected to a more typical big-time international game, one which flows like L.A. traffic.
Vidale apparently believed his players were outclassed because he instructed them to build a fortress around the goal and counter-attack, a strategy that frustrated the U.S. players not only because it was effective but also because that is the type game they usually play.
It worked as well for Trinidad and Tobago as it has in recent games for the United States, which has lost only once in six games since Bora Milutinovic arrived as coach in May.
In the 67th minute, on one of Trinidad and Tobago's counter-attacks, forward Leonson Lewis took a shot at U.S. goalkeeper Tony Meola, who deflected it back to him just outside the goal area. Lewis, facing away from the goal, kicked the ball back over his head and into the net. Balboa must have taken notes because 20 minutes later he matched Lewis--bicycle kick for bicycle kick.
But the United States probably would not have been in position to win if Trinidad and Tobago had not quit counter-attacking.
"I think they were just trying to hold the 1-0 lead," Balboa said. "They got too defensive.'
After Lewis' goal, the United States took the last nine shots. One finally connected in the 85th minute, when midfielder Bruce Murray, making a record 59th appearance with the national team, put a ball into the top of the net from inside the goal area.
Two minutes later, after a flurry in the penalty area, the ball popped up to Balboa, who although he was facing away from the goal, kicked it over his head and out of goalkeeper Michael Maurice's reach.
"Ever since I was 13 or 14, I've been waiting for an opportunity to make a shot like that," Balboa said.
It couldn't have come at a more opportune time for the United States.
|66' Marvin Faustin|
|82' Alvin Thomas|
|66'||Marvin Faustin for Kirk Solomon|
|82'||Alvin Thomas for Leonson Lewis|