U.S. Soccer Beats Japan, 3-2

Taylor Twellman, who had scored three goals against Norway in a 5-0 victory a week earlier, had a goal and two assists Friday night as the United States defeated Japan, 3-2, in an international soccer friendly in front of 37,952 at SBC Park in San Francisco.

Twellman's goal came on a header off a corner kick from Landon Donovan in the 50th minute. With the assist, Donovan tied the U.S. record of 22 in a career held by Cobi Jones.

The U.S., winning for the second time in three games in 2006, dominated the match and built a 3-0 lead on goals by Eddie Pope, Clint Dempsey and Twellman, but then allowed the Japanese to get back into the contest as both teams went to the bench.

Pope gave the U.S. the lead in the 25th minute, firing home a shot off an astute headed pass by Twellman, who also helped create Dempsey's goal in the 39th minute to end an impressive six-pass move by the U.S.

Japan cut the margin to 3-1 at the hour mark when Seiichiro Maki got position on defender Chris Klein and headed the ball just inside the right post. Yuji Nakazawa scored the second Japanese goal 1:58 into injury time.

Both teams are preparing for the World Cup in Germany in June.

-- Grahame L. Jones

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