Mercoledì 23 luglio 2003 - San Jose, Spartan Stadium - Club America-Lazio 1-1
CLUB AMERICA: Becera, Castro, Ortiz, Rojas, Torres (63’ Infante), Villa, Oviedo, Salinas, Mendoza, Blanco, Abreu (76’ Castillo). Allenatore: Beenhakker.
Arbitro: Sig. Vaughn (Usa).
Marcatori: 25' Ortiz, 30' Corradi.
Finisce in parità la prima amichevole americana della Lazio, che a San Josè (California) affronta i messicani del Club America allenati da una vecchia conoscenza del calcio europeo come Leo Beenhakker: 1-1 il risultato. La squadra biancoceleste per una buona mezz'ora è in balìa degli avversari. Prevedibile la differenza di preparazione tra le due formazioni: i messicani ai primi d'agosto inizieranno il campionato. In netto ritardo, invece, la squadra di Mancini che in questi primi tre giorni in California ha passato più tempo sul pullman alla ricerca di un campo d'allenamento che a proseguire la preparazione. Il Club America mostra subito i denti con un gioco aggressivo. Nei primi 25' succede di tutto. Due pali per i messicani, due rigori, netti, non concessi, ed il vantaggio di Ortiz su punizione, su assist dell'esperto capitano Blanco. Il gol scuote la Lazio che poco dopo la mezz'ora trova il pareggio con Corradi. Splendida esecuzione dell'attaccante, stop di petto e girata al volo, su delizioso passaggio di Fiore. Il secondo tempo è l'esatto contrario dei primi 45'. Noioso, con poche emozioni, una doppia parata-miracolo di Sereni ed un colpo di testa nel finale di Corradi.
L'articolo del San Francisco Chronicle sull'incontro:
Exhibition soccer matches often display little of the stellar talent fans want to see, as teams save their top players for the regular season and rely on lesser lights. Wednesday's game between Mexico City's Club America and Rome's S.S. Lazio was an exception, even if it did not prove exceptional. A five-minute stretch of the first half featured some terrific back and forth between both clubs, and also the game's only goals as the friendly ended in a 1-1 tie at San Jose's Spartan Stadium. A powerful shot by Jesus Mendoza that seemed destined to give Club America the victory found the side of the net in the 89th minute, disappointing the crowd. "We had a lot of scoring chances that we couldn't finish off, including a penalty the referee didn't call," Mendoza said. "I think America played well for most of the match, and it was a good game. Lazio also had its moments, and this served as good training for our season." Both teams brought their full available squads to the tuneup, and they kept their stars on the field most of the way. Lazio now goes on to face Mexican club Monterrey, while Club America has a high-profile date awaiting Sunday, when it plays Manchester United at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The Aguilas (Eagles) are coming off a disappointing season in which they missed the playoffs after winning the league title the year before. Still, they're a big draw among Mexican fans. A sizable percentage of the announced crowd of 14,012 came outfitted in Club America's canary yellow and greeted the team's nice passes with chants of "Ole." That hardly prevented Lazio from looking sharp at times. Alas, the squad had traveled from Rome to Los Angeles on Monday and did not reach San Jose until late afternoon, so road weariness was a factor in its performance. "I don't think we put on a very good show, but we tried our best," Lazio forward Claudio Lopez said. Backup goalkeeper Sereni Matteo was among the least affected by the lack of rest. By all rights Club America should have taken a 2-1 lead as the game's 60th minute approached, except Matteo simply wouldn't permit it. Matteo, who replaced starter Angelo Peruzzi to open the second half, first deflected a point-blank shot by Ignacio Torres. Aguilas icon Cuauhtemoc Blanco reached the carom and tried to head it in, but Matteo lunged at the ball and knocked it out of bounds. After failing to convert a handful of opportunities early on, Club America finally cashed in 24:28 into the first half. Off a free kick from 25 yards out, Alvaro Ortiz took a touch pass from Blanco and unleashed a furious kick that eluded Peruzzi and made the score 1-0. It took Lazio just a little more than five minutes to score the equalizer, at the 29:45 mark. Bernardo Corradi took a long pass from Stefano Fiore, brought the ball down with his chest and suddenly found he only had goalie Alberto Becerra to beat. He did quite easily, knotting the score at 1-1. Eleven minutes into the game Club America was denied a great chance when Mendoza -- chasing a perfectly placed pass -- seemed to be tackled in the penalty area but failed to get the call. Only four minutes later, Sebastian Abreu was just as dismayed as his teammate when he also went down after contact inside the area and still couldn't get a whistle. Abreu's fall appeared to be at least partially a flop. In the 20th minute, Mendoza hit the crossbar from in close after receiving a beautiful touch feed from Torres.