Jovan Kirovski and Landon Donovan scored, and Kasey Keller delivered a shutout during a homecoming to Washington state as the U.S. men's national team defeated Venezuela, 2-0, yesterday in Seattle.
Keller, from nearby Olympia, made only two saves but didn't need to be spectacular as he improved to 14-0-4 in his last 18 home games for the national team. He was among six Americans seeing their first international action since the 1-0 quarterfinal loss to Germany at last year's World Cup.
It was an even longer break for Kirovski, who hadn't played since a 4-2 exhibition loss at Germany last March. And the layoff showed during a listless first half for both sides.
The United States (3-1 this year) went ahead in the 52nd minute when Kirovski knocked the ball into the left side of the goal. Brian McBride sent a shot off a post and the rebound went to Carlos Bocanegra, whose shot went off the crossbar and bounced to Kirovski.
Donovan, who replaced Kirovski in the 60th minute, put the Americans ahead 2-0 in the 76th minute with a spectacular goal. He took a pass from John O'Brien and sprinted up the left side, beating two defenders and drawing out goalkeeper Gilberto Angelucci.
With McBride open in front of the net, Donovan slotted the ball with his right foot, sending it just inside the far post for his eighth goal in 33 international appearances.
With European leagues off and MLS not starting until next weekend, the U.S. team had many of its top players, including Keller, McBride, O'Brien, Frankie Hejduk, Eddie Pope and D.C. United's Earnie Stewart, who entered at halftime and was named player of the game. Also, Bobby Convey of United started.
Lithuania held World Cup runner-up Germany to a 1-1 tie in a qualifying match for the 2004 European Championship, while England, Italy, Ireland, Scotland and Wales won.
The Czech Republic also gained a 1-1 tie at the Netherlands, and defending champion France routed visiting Malta, 6-0. In an exhibition, Portugal beat visiting Brazil, 2-1, for its first win over the World Cup champions in 37 years.
Carsten Ramelow's goal in the seventh minute put host Germany (2-0-1) ahead, but Tomas Razanauskas scored in the 73rd minute for Lithuania (2-2). Visiting England (2-0-1) beat Liechtenstein, 2-0, as Michael Owen scored on a header and David Beckham on a free kick.
D.C. United Wins Exhibition
Eliseo Quintanilla scored in the 62nd minute, giving D.C. United a 1-0 exhibition victory over the minor league Charleston Battery in Charleston, S.C. Marco Etcheverry had the assist.