PRETORIA, South Africa - Of all the Italian players in the new jerseys, the standout was the kid from New Jersey.
Teaneck-born Giuseppe Rossi scored twice in the second half, Daniele De Rossi had a goal, and Italy rallied to overcome a Landon Donovan penalty kick and beat the United States, 3-1, yesterday in its opener at the FIFA Confederations Cup.
"I dedicate the goals to my family, who are watching the game on TV in America," Rossi said. "This is a dream, I'm playing for the world champions, and I also hope to become a world champion next year."
The U.S. team played a man short after Ricardo Clark was ejected in the 33d minute for a late tackle on Gennaro Gattuso, but went ahead eight minutes later when Donovan scored his American-record 40th international goal after Giorgio Chiellini hooked and kicked Jozy Altidore.
Rossi grew up in Clifton but spurned the U.S. national team program to play for Italy. He entered in the 57th minute and tied the score a minute later with a 30-yard shot after stripping the ball from Benny Feilhaber.
"If you're playing against the team which is the country where you are born, it's always a great emotion coming in," Rossi said. "But when you're on the field you have no plan. You just think about trying to win your game."
He got his second goal in the fourth minute of injury time from about 10 yards after Andrea Pirlo went around defender Jay DeMerit and crossed.
"Certainly it would have been our hope that Giuseppe played for the U.S., but he made his decision and he's a very talented player, and today was a very exciting day for him," U.S. coach Bob Bradley said.
The 22-year-old Rossi scored four goals at last summer's Olympics. He made his debut with the senior Italian national team last October as a substitute against Bulgaria and scored his first international goal June 6, putting Italy ahead in a 3-0 exhibition win over Northern Ireland.
"Rossi gave us a burst of energy," Italy coach Marcello Lippi said. "He scored a great goal that calmed us down psychologically with a half hour still to go, and then he finished the game off. He offers different characteristics."