The U.S. Soccer team got off to a rocky start in the 2006 World Cup in Germany, losing to the Czech Republic, 3-0. VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer was at the match in Gelsenkirchen Monday night and has the story.
Very little went right for the U.S. team from the outset of the match against the Czech Republic. Defender Oguchi Onyewu was given a yellow card for a foul in the fourth minute, and barely one minute later the Czechs had a 1-0 lead on a perfectly placed crossing pass that Jan Koller headed in the net.
Tomas Rosicky added goals in the 36th and 76th minutes, one on a powerful shot from several meters outside the box and another on a chip shot over the head of U.S. goalie Kasey Keller after he sped past the defense.
U.S. coach Bruce Arena said he was not pleased with his team's effort.
"Certainly a very poor start to the game," said Bruce Arena. "And to put yourself down a goal in the first five minutes of the game against a team of the quality of the Czech Republic that actually defends quite well. At that point we're very comfortable in sitting back and absorbing any kind of pressure and countering us. We were really behind the eight ball [having to play catch up] from the start, so I'm very disappointed in our start. I'm very disappointed in the performance of a number of our players over 90 minutes."
The best chance the U.S. team had to score came in the 28th minute when a shot by captain Claudia Reyna bounced out after hitting the inside of the left post.
In the 3-0 victory, the Czechs saw their star forward, Jan Koller, go down with a leg muscle injury just before the half and he left the game.
Because of that, Czech coach Karel Brucker, was a bit subdued after the win.
"It's obviously a very nice feeling to have won the first match," said Karel Brucker. "However, we are going to suppress our over-satisfaction because there are two tough matches ahead of us, and we also suffered heavy losses, so to say."
After the 3-0 Group E win over the USA, the Czech Republic will face Ghana Saturday (in Cologne) and the United States will take on Italy (in Kaiserslautern).