After a 40-year absence from the World Cup, the USA qualified for Italia 90 and on June 10 in Florence opened with a 5-1 loss to Czechoslovakia. After falling behind 2-0 by halftime and 3-0 in the
50th minute, defender Paul Caligiuri, who had scored the goal against Trinidad & Tobago that clinched the World Cup spot, gave the USA some hope with a 61st minute strike. But the
Czechs scored again in the 79th and 90th minutes.
Ridge Mahoney's report from Italy included the USA's highlight: "Caligiuri ran half the length of the field to score with a half hour left to play
and a revived U.S. team delighted the crowd with a brief flurry of pressure." But Tab Ramos' half-volley went wide and his shot from 16 yards too high before the Czechs regained