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Budweiser Man of the Match 53, MEX:USA Ė Landon Donovan
06-17-02
FIFAworldcup.Com

Landon Donovan sealed the United Statesí place in the quarter-finals with their second goal in the 65th minute of a 2-0 victory against CONCACAF rivals Mexico. Donovan was named Budweiser Man of the Match for his performance, which helped see the USA through to the final eight for the first time in a FIFA World Cup since 1930.

Donovanís goal, his second of the finals, came on a USA counter-attack when he nodded home a cross from Eddie Lewis at the back post. The USA midfielder out-raced Gerardo Torrado to the cross and knocked it past diving goalkeeper Oscar Perez from six metres.

The 20-year-old had a chance for a double in stoppage time, but volleyed Cobi Jonesí left-wing cross over the bar. Late in the first half, Donovan set up Josh Wolff with a flick header that the USA forward drilled at Perez from 16 metres.

"Every time we play, we should feel like we don't expect to lose," Landon Donovan said.

More than anyone, the sprite 20-year-old striker from Southern California created the lasting image of the United States at this World Cup. When the final whistle blew Friday night at the stadium in Ulsan, he wanted to keep playing.

The 1-0 quarterfinal loss ended the best U.S. World Cup performance since 1930, and Donovan looked like a little boy whose ball had been taken away. So he traveled all day Saturday, trying to get back to California in time to play for Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night.

"He's come a long way in a year," U.S. coach Bruce Arena said Saturday before flying back to Virginia.

Donovan, whose post-World Cup value was appraised at more than $10 million by a Sydney newspaper Wednesday, has shown that he will be that type of player one day. His confidence and versatility have meant as much as Brad Friedel's goalkeeping acrobatics and John O'Brien's scrappy ball-winning and vision.

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