The United States defeated Saudi Arabia, 2-0, today to take third place in soccer's Confederations Cup.
The victory capped a strong performance in the tournament by the U.S. team, which defeated Germany, 2-0, and came close to tying Brazil -- the favorite against Mexico in Wednesday's finals -- in a 1-0 match.
Abdullah Bin Shehan knocked a pass into the U.S. goal with his arm at the 23-minute mark, and officials quickly disallowed the goal for Saudi Arabia, which was playing its fifth game in 10 days.
"It was a difficult match," U.S. Coach Bruce Arena said. "Saudi Arabia was a very tough adversary. It was a hard-fought match and we are pleased with the results."
The United States opened the scoring at 26 minutes on a breakaway by forward Paul Bravo, who beat defenders and Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Al Deayea to slice a clean shot into the goal.
The United States played most of the second period down one player, after Matt McKeon was ejected at the 64-minute mark on penalties.
An unmarked Brian McBride clinched the victory in the 79th minute with his second goal of the tournament when he headed in a long cross from Eddie Lewis.
The U.S. squad allowed the Saudi's very few shots and kept the quicker Saudi forwards from penetrating.
"We are happy because this tournament is worth a lot, since it's our first semifinal finish in an international cup," Saudi Coach Milan Macala said.
Meantime, Mexico is just happy to be in the final at home as it faces the prospect of playing Brazil.
Such is Brazil's strength that FIFA President Sepp Blatter said today the Brazilians have enough quality players to field three top national teams.
"We are going with the best we have, with our most experienced players," Mexico Coach Manuel Lapuente said. "We are going to go with everything from the very beginning."
Then he summed up what Mexico has to do: "Have a very good defense and a better attack."