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New role for Reyna, good result for U.S.


WASHINGTON -- Playing out of position, former University of Virginia star Claudio Reyna scored a goal and added two assists to help the United States dominate Mexico, 4-0, in a U.S. Cup tournament game yesterday before 38,615 at RFK Stadium.

The United States is 2-0 and in first place in the tournament.

"The key for us was the ability to put pressure in the midfield," said U.S. coach Steve Sampson. "I was extremely happy with Claudio's performance today. He played a very complete game. He showed that he is truly an outstanding player and a great player for the future of this national team."

Reyna, who did not play in the first U.S. Cup game against Nigeria, moved to forward from his usual midfield position in place of Frank Klopas, who was red-carded for this game.

"Offensively, I was the team leader," Reyna said. "That was my job. When you play in that position, you are asked to set up goals and try and score goals yourself. I haven't played that position in a long time.

"It was good being here. I've never played at RFK. It was kind of a homecoming."

Reyna was just one hero in the Americans' most lopsided victory over Mexico in their 61-year rivalry.

The first goal came quickly. With Mexico's Manuel Vidrio stumbling backward, forward Roy Wegerle ran by him and scored on a low kick that sailed by Mexico's flamboyant goaltender, Jorge Campos, on the left side in the third minute. The assist was from Reyna.

The second goal came in the 25th minute off a perfectly executed give-and-go. From the inbounds inside midfield, Thomas Dooley kicked the ball to Reyna who headed it back to a cutting Dooley. Dooley then ran around Vidrio and scored on Campos' left side.

In the 36th minute, Eric Wynalda's shot on the left side of the goal ricocheted off Campos' left leg to a waiting John Harkes, who had the easy put-in on the right side.

The last goal was scored by Reyna, who maneuvered between two defenders and kicked it past Campos' left side. The assist went to Harkes.

Mexico had its chances. It had 14 shots on goal and 15 corner kicks. Dooley made an outstanding save in goal in the 22nd minute. Goaltender Kasey Keller was out of position and Dooley moved over and blocked the ball with his left knee.

Right before that, Keller made a diving save on the right side at the 17-minute mark.

"From the standpoint of game rhythm and momentum, certainly that save [by Dooley] and the one by Keller kept us in the game and gave us the opportunity to continue to attack," Sampson said.

"Who knows what would've happened if Mexico comes around and evens it up 1-1."

Said Mexican coach Miguel Mejia Baron: "We had many mistakes. We played against a very good team. This was not a friendly game. This was an important game."

The U.S. team now goes on to Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J., to play Colombia in a rematch of their World Cup meeting a year ago.

"It was a good day for U.S. soccer but now we have to really put it behind us," Reyna said. "We've got to prove that we are a team that can put a good victory behind us and beat another good team."

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