26/05/2003 - USA v Wales Fans

26 May
Wales Fans
Venue: San Jose, U.S.A..
Wales Lineup:
Phil Olyott, Wayne Price, Adrian Colley, Gareth Hickman, Andy Hurst, Mark Bloom, Richard Green, Iwan 'Cruyff' Pryce, Marcus Allin, Rich Holt, Duncan Jardine, Elfyn Lewis, Lee Jones, Bryn Pritchard, Neil Dymock.
Wales Goalscorers:
Bryn Pritchard, Gareth Hickman.
Team photo

Back row: Richard Green, Iwan Pryce, Marcus Allin, Rich Holt, Duncan Jardine, Phil Olyott, Mark Bloom, Wayne Price.

Front row: Adrian Colley, Elfyn Lewis, Lee Jones, Andrew Hurst, Neil Dymock, Gareth Hickman, Bryn Pritchard.

26 May 2003: USA v Wales Fans ‐ San Jose, U.S.A.

Match report from www.sams-army.com (US player's site)

Hours before the US Soccer national team played Wales, your "Sam's Army national team" took on a team of Wales fans.

The match was organized by Guy Gayle (many know him as "Drum Guy," a prominent fixture in the Earthquakes Casbah) and Neil from Wales. Once the toughest issue was solved, finding a pitch, we were ready to go. A good number of folks showed up, although quite a bit less than the projected 15+ US players and 100+ Wales fans/players. The most notable absence was Guy, who got a flu on Friday, but did recover in time to lead the Sam's Army section during the official match.

Not only did the Welsh have us outnumbered in terms fans and players, they were wearing full kits and carrying flags. We were wearing assorted white t-shirts - and most of us had never played together. Needless to say, it was a bit intimidating, but they were nice enough to spot us a player or two until we built up to a squad of 11 players.

We, the rag tag US posse, managed to hold our own against the strong Welsh attack, thanks largely to our defense led by sweeper, Matt Stephens of Des Moines, supported by our ladies Angie Myres of Des Moines and Jess Zysk of San Jose, plus a fluid defensive midfielder position - all backed up by talented goalie Mike Fryer of San Jose. With our solid defense making astute clearances and nice saves we were able to attack, primarily up the sides. The midfielders/forwards, all Bay Area locals, were Brad Shafer, Michael Costa, Jordan Yan, Roberto Mendoza, John Lerma, Andrew ?, along with yours truly, SoccerHead, on the right flank.

Late in the first half Roberto broke down the left side and sent a great ball across the face of the goal, which I was able meet on the right and slot into the goal. US 1, Wales 0.

At halftime we switched Jordan into goal and Mike to forward. Early in the second half Wales evened the scoreline by taking advantage of one of our few defensive breakdowns and chipping it into the net. But within a couple minutes our former goalie, Mike, was able to deftly pop it into the roof of the goal, from a crowded 6-yard box. US 2, Wales 1.

Then the match broke wide open, partially due to the heat and building fatigue on both teams (we had no subs, they had at least four subs). Matt sent a long ball from the back, and Mike, after judging the bounce much better than the Welsh defense, broke free and made no mistake in juking their keeper and giving us a two goal margin (our halftime adjustment has to be one of the best in soccer history). US 3, Wales 1. Later, the bounce of my throw-in fooled two Welsh defenders but not Roberto, who ran onto the ball, touched it around their keeper, then pushed it into the net. US 4, Wales 1.

As the Welsh frustration grew, they began to shoot much like their senior national team counterparts - with power, but high and/or wide.

The fifth and last US goal was scored by Brad who received a short pass, ran along the top of the box and slotted home a low hard shot against the grain - the goalkeeper was completely wrong-footed.

Wales did manage a second goal, late in the match, when we repeatedly failed to clear our penalty area and an oppurtunistic shooter blasted in a close range shot.

The Welsh fans were keeping match time, and I swear they added 10 minutes hoping their late surge could overcome the 3 goal deficit. Of course, I was quite exhausted from running up and down the flank - so maybe it was just my imagination.

In all fairness, the Welsh squad definitely had some talented players and put together more attacks than we did - but it was our day. They were quite sportsmanlike and didn't seem to have a macho bravado issue with playing against and getting beat by a squad with two girls. Of course, we are better known for the quality of our women's soccer then our men's soccer.

Final Score: US 5, Wales 2

Notable quotes from your "Sam's Army National Team" and others:

"I thought our first half keeper saved our arses on a couple of occasions...Our defense was solid, and the ladies did exceptionally well to stifle the attack time and time again." Roberto

"...perhaps the most notable plays was getting introduced to European shirt tugging" Michael Costa

"...it definitely made our trip out there from Des Moines a memorable one" Matt

"While we were tailgating at the big game a cameraman with NBC interviewed one of the Wales supporters that played and he said it was obviously the Women on our team that won the supporters match for us." Matt

"After the game we had to let them know it was 7-2 on aggregate!" Matt "Goooooooooooaaaaaalllllll!" Mrs. SoccerHead, on five occassions

"That was a great hands-across-the-sea kind of thing" Art Kempf of Los Angeles

"On behalf of all the Wales supporters who played on Monday, I would like to thank you all for the great welcome you gave us." Jet-lagged Neil, back in Wales.