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Argentina routs youthful U.S.

Crespo scores two goals as Americans are overwhelmed, 4-1, in Copa America opener.

June 29, 2007|From the Associated Press

MARACAIBO, VENEZUELA — Missing most of its top players, the United States was routed in its Copa America opener.

Hernan Crespo scored twice, and Pablo Aimar and Carlos Tevez had late goals and Argentina routed a youthful U.S. team, 4-1, Thursday night in the South American championship.

Eddie Johnson put the U.S. ahead with a penalty kick in the ninth minute, but Crespo scored in the 11th and 64th minutes for Argentina, which increasingly outplayed the Americans as the game progressed. Aimar scored in the 78th minute and Tevez in the 85th, six minutes after entering.

"We came down here to win. We didn't come here to walk around with our tail between our legs and hope for the best," said defender Jimmy Conrad, one of the few regulars to play for the U.S. "Ultimately, win or lose, it's a great learning experience for our team, and I think our program will become better because of it."

The loss was the first for the U.S. since a 2-1 defeat to Ghana on June 22 last year in Germany, which eliminated the Americans from the World Cup. They had been 10-0-1 under Bob Bradley, who coached his first road game since replacing Bruce Arena as coach late last year.

"We put a lot of effort into the first 60 minutes, and I think when Argentina raised the level over the last 30 minutes, we weren't able to match that," Bradley said.

Kasey Keller made his 101st international appearance, moving ahead of Tony Meola for the record among U.S. goalkeepers, but he was overwhelmed in the second half as his defense tired. Argentina outshot the United States, 10-6.

On Monday, the U.S. team plays Paraguay, which routed Colombia, 5-0, in the other Group C game.

Defender Jonathan Bornstein and midfielder Benny Feilhaber were the only holdovers from the U.S. starting lineup that beat Mexico last Sunday to win the Gold Cup.

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