May 28, 2006

McBride heads US to warmup win over Latvia

By Chris Cowles

EAST HARTFORD, Connecticut (Reuters) - Striker Brian
McBride's header two minutes before halftime gave the U.S. a
1-0 victory over Latvia in a physical World Cup warmup game on

The U.S. dominated their third and final preparation match
in six days, coach Bruce Arena using nine players likely to
start his side's opening World Cup Group E game against the
Czech Republic on June 12.

Latvia goalkeeper Alexsanders Kojlinko was busy throughout
the opening 45 minutes, making a handful of impressive stops.

U.S. midfielder DaMarcus Beasley moved to the right flank
and John O'Brien returned to the left side of midfield. Landon
Donovan slotted into center midfield with Pablo Mastroeni in a
holding role.

In the 13th minute, Beasley unleashed a wicked shot from 20
metres, forcing Kojlinko into a brilliant diving save. Eight
minutes later, he headed a free kick by Eddie Lewis against the
right post.

McBride was involved in a clash of heads and returned to
the field with a large welt above his left eye before nearly
putting the U.S. ahead on 27 minutes with a fierce long-range

Kojlinko dened McBride again in the 38th minute when his
firm header from seven metres was gathered but two minutes from
the interval, the U.S. broke through.

Donovan linked with Steve Cherundolo on the right flank
where the defender made a strong overlapping run before sending
over a cross for McBride to climb above two defenders and nod
in from six metres.

Latvia nearly grabbed an equalizer against the run of play
a minute from time when substitute Girts Karlson's header
forced goalkeeper Kasey Keller to save well.

The U.S. squad departs for Germany on June 1 and will be
based in Hamburg. They complete their first-round World Cup
games against Italy on June 17 and Ghana on June 22.