Wednesday, April 3, 2002

Best Performance - Player

This award goes to the one U.S. National Team player who took the team on his or her shoulders with an outstanding, if not dominating, individual performance.


Landon Donovan vs. Ecuador – March 25 @ Tampa
Some days you’re just on. For LANDON DONOVAN, that day was March 25 in Tampa as he was almost unstoppable on his way to a stunning hat trick against fellow 2006 World Cup side Ecuador. Scoring in a multitude of ways – a first-minute strike, a cool breakaway finish and a ridiculous one-timer into upper ‘V’ territory – Donovan makes it clear early in the year that Eric Wynalda’s goal scoring record would be in jeopardy before 2008.

Jimmy Conrad vs. Mexico – Feb. 7 @ Glendale, Ariz.
With a home winning streak against Mexico on the line, defender JIMMY CONRAD played one of the best games of his national team career in front of 62,000 fans in Arizona. While acting as the general along the backline to shutout the USA’s archrival for the eighth straight time on home soil, Conrad also tallied the game-winner with a driven header on a corner kick for his first-ever goal for the national team.

Tim Howard vs. Mexico – June 24 @ Chicago
Rarely does one single play stand out as much as TIM HOWARD’s 89th minute save vs. Mexico in the Gold Cup Final. After a solid day between the pipes, Howard kept the title game out of overtime with a world class save after a deflected shot fell to Adolfo Bautista’s feet just eight yards from the goal.

Freddy Adu vs. Poland - July 3 @ Montreal
With the U.S. U-20 MNT needing points after drawing with South Korea in their opening match of the World Cup, FREDDY ADU tallied an impressive hat trick to lead his teammates to a stunning 6-1 victory over Poland.

Josmer Altidore vs. Brazil – July 6 @ Ottawa
In a match the U.S. needs to win to assure advancement to the Round of 16, JOSMER ALTIDORE tallies both goals in a stunning 2-1 upset against the four-time U-20 world champions, enabling Thomas Rongen’s squad to win their group for the third straight time at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Abby Wambach vs. Sweden -- Sept. 14 @ Chengdu, China
ABBY WAMBACH steps up in a must-win game for the USA, scoring both goals in the 2-0 win, one from the penalty spot and one on a gorgeous half-volley, in a match that pretty much secured a place in the second round of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Christie Rampone vs. England -- Sept. 22 @ Tianjin, China
CHRISTIE RAMPONE’s speed, athleticism and one-on-one defending is on display once again as she helps shut down England’s attack, especially superstar forward Kelly Smith, who does not get a good crack at the USA’s goal the entire game.

Lori Chalupny vs. Norway – Sept. 30 @ Shanghai, China
LORI CHALUPNY is everywhere during the USA’s demolition of Norway in the third-place match of the Women’s World Cup, getting the job done on offense and defense while scoring one goal and assisting on another.