USA are favourites on paper to win this Tuesday’s friendly with Ireland in the AVIVA stadium, sitting 38 places higher in the FIFA World Rankings and achieving an impressive last 16 finish in the World Cup. This will be Martin O’Neill’s last chance to experiment before the important qualifier at home to Poland next June. We look at the five most recent matches between Ireland and the USA.
Ireland 2 – 1 USA, friendly, Lansdowne Road, 17th April 2002
World Cup fever was building as 39,000 fans packed into Lansdowne Road despite torrential rain to cheer on an Ireland side only weeks away from departing for the World Cup in Japan and South Korea. Robbie Keane started against a USA side managed by Bruce Arena – the two are now reunited at LA Galaxy.
Eddie Pope’s first half equaliser was the first goal conceded by Ireland in 6 matches, but an early goal from Mark Kinsella and a late goal from Gary Doherty was enough to seal victory.
USA 1 – 1 Ireland, US Cup, Foxboro Stadium, 6th June 2000
Ireland were frequent participants in the invite-only US Cup, and competed for a third time after failure to qualify for that Summer’s European Championships. Despite a respectable 5 points in 3 matches, Ireland could only finish second to USA in what turned out to be the final edition of this tournament in the Summer of 2000.
Watford striker Dominic Foley scored his second goal in consecutive matches before Ante Razov equalised from a seemingly offside position. Low attendances and arguments between American and Mexican officials over scheduling contributed to the demise of the US Cup, but it wasn’t the end of Ireland’s summer jaunts across the Atlantic.
Ireland 1 – 2 USA, US Cup, Foxboro Stadium, 9th June 1996
Ireland fell to defeat in the opening game of the 1996 US Cup. The tournament was a chance for new Irish manager Mick McCarthy to assess his options and he experimented with a rookie goalkeeper named Shay Given.
David Connolly put Ireland in the lead with his first international goal, but USA equalised quickly through Tab Ramos and Claudio Reyna scored the winner after 76 minutes.
Ireland 1 – 3 USA, US Cup, RFK Stadium, 30th May 1992
This scoreline flattered USA as they struggled to break down an Ireland side featuring Roy Keane, Mick McCarthy, Paul McGrath, Niall Quinn, Ray Houghton Steve Staunton, and Kevin Moran. McCarthy headed Ireland into the lead early into the second half but USA scored three unanswered goals and went on to win the tournament.
This was the opening game of the 1992 US Cup played in front of over 35,000 fans in Washington. Ireland’s next trip across the Atlantic would be for USA ’94.
Ireland 4 – 1 USA, Friendly, Lansdowne Road, 29th April 1992
This game was goalless at half time but Ireland’s class shone through in the second half. Andy Townsend, Dennis Irwin, Niall Quinn, and Tony Cascarino all got on the scoresheet before an 89th minute consolation from Eric Wynalda saved some American blushes.
So, out of the five most recent encounters between Ireland and USA, both sides have 2 wins, a draw, and both sides are undefeated at home. It’s also noteworthy that the Irish Free State’s first ever home international match was against USA, in Dalymount Park on 14th June 1924. Ireland won 3 – 1 thanks to a hat trick from Bohemians forward Ed Brookes. Let’s hope for a similar result at the Aviva on Tuesday as Martin O’Neill’s men put their Scottish disappointments behind them.
Darren Kelly, Pundit Arena.
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