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2000 FIFA World Cup Qualifying

U.S. Matches

U-23 MNT Looks to Bounce Back Against Netherlands

The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team will continue its run at the 2015 Toulon Tournament with a match against the Netherlands on Friday, May 29 (11 a.m. ET, BeIN Sport).

The U-23’s are coming off of a 3-1 opening-game loss to host-France. The U.S. battled in the second half and Jordan Morris scored his third goal of 2015 with the U-23’s, but the team could not overcome the 3-0 first-half deficit.

Netherlands opened with a 3-2 win over Costa Rica behind a pair of goals from Rai Vloe and a score from Anwar El Ghazi. The Dutch and Costa Rica sides played in Stadeo Le Lagrange, just before the U.S. kicked off against France.

The USA has been drawn into Group A of the 2015 Toulon Tournament alongside host France, Netherlands, Costa Rica and Qatar. The U.S. is set to play Netherlands on Friday, followed by matches with Costa Rica (May 31, 11 a.m. ET), and Qatar (June 2, 12 p.m. ET). The top team from the group will advance to the final, while the second-place finisher will move on to play for third. The advancing pair from Group A will match up with the top two finishers from Group B, which includes China PR, England, Ivory Coast, Mexico and Morocco. The placement matches will be played on June 7.

The game against the Netherlands, and all of the following U.S. group-stage tournament games will be broadcast on BeIN SPORTS. Fans can also follow the U.S. games on Twitter @ussoccer.

U.S. Tournament Notes:

  • With his goal against France, Jordan Morris has now scored in back-to-back games with the U-23s and three straight for the U.S. overall counting his goal with the senior team in its 2-0 win against Mexico on April 15.
  • Morris is the U-23’s leading scorer, having tallied three goals in 2015. In five career games with the U-23’s, Morris has scored four goals.
  • Getting the start in the match against France, Marc Pelosi made his first appearance in a U.S. uniform in more than two years, having recovered from a series of injuries. He earned his first cap with the U-23 MNT and tallied an assist.
  • Coming on as second-half subs against France, Alfred Koroma Shams (62nd minute) and Sam Strong (73rd minute) earned their first caps with the U-23 MNT.
  • The Match between France and the USA was the first at the U-23 age level.
  • Benji Joya, who scored the lone goal for the U.S. in the match against France in the 2013 Toulon Tournament (when the teams met as U-20 opponents), captained the team in this year’s game against France. Joya and Shane O’Neill started in the match with France and are the only players on the roster to have started all four games in 2015.
  • Julian Green earned his first cap with the U-23 MNT.

USA vs. Netherlands Notes

  • The USA has faced Netherlands one time in Olympic history, when the pair faced off in Tianjin, China as a part of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The teams drew 2-2 in the second group game, with goals from Sacha Kljestan and Jozy Altidore.
  • Netherlands midfielder Thom Haye plays for Dutch Eredivisie club AZ Alkmaar, where he is teammates with U.S. MNT forward Aron Johannsson.
  • 20-year-old Anwar El Ghazi scored nine goals for Dutch Eridivisie club Ajax, and earned honors as the AFC Ajax Talent of the Year for 2015.

Across the Academy - May 28, 2015


Futures Camp: The very first Futures Camp came to a close on Monday. Fifty eight players joined U.S. Soccer technical staff for a three-day camp that focused on identifying the most talented players in the ’00 and ’01 birth year that appear to be on a later physical development growth path and/or are born in the second half of the year, to reduce the impact of physical maturity and relative age effect on identification and evaluation of talent. 
Academy Alumni: Three Real Colorado alumni shined in the spotlight this past week. Amadou Dia earned a place in the MLS Team of the Week for his performance in two matches for Sporting Kansas City. Dia helped Sporting earn 4 points against two very good opponents. Also in MLS, Taylor Kemp assisted in D.C. United’s 1-1 draw against the New England Revolution. Kemp now has 3 assists on the season. Overseas, Ethan Horvath secured a clean sheet on his professional debut for Molde FK in Norway.

Development Academy alum John Stertzer scored his first MLS goal for Real Salt Lake in its  2-0 victory over New York City Football Club on Saturday. Andromeda FC alum Dillon Powers assisted in Colorado Rapids’ 1-0 win over Vancouver Whitecaps. Powers has 5 assists in the 2015 MLS campaign. 

FIFA U-20 World Cup a Chance for Redemption: For several members of the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team, the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup represents another chance. Many have been part of the U.S. Soccer National Team programs for various cycles, but only three have ever been part of a youth World Cup, and only two have played in one. Nine others came close and are now getting their opportunity on the world stage.

The U.S. was drawn into Group A with host New Zealand, Ukraine and Myanmar. The team opens group play against Myanmar at 12 a.m. ET on May 30 in Whangarei, followed by matches with New Zealand on June 2 and Ukraine on June 5, both of which will be played in Auckland. All of the U.S.'s group matches will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 and NBC Universo.

For the latest Development Academy results, information and more, visit and the ussoccer Development Academy section. Follow the Academy on Twitter @ussoccer_acad ,Instagram and Facebook.


  • East Conference: A pair of Atlantic Division rivals faced off on Saturday when D.C. United U-15/16s defeated Players Development Academy 3-2 in a thrilling match. PDA’s Josh Burnett twice put his team ahead, scoring in the 20th and 40th minute of the match. Each time, D.C. United found a way to tie the game thanks to Carson Jeffris who scored in the 26th and Collin Jouan in the 43rd. Finally, it was SahrFelix Sandy who had the game-winner for D.C. United and clinched the victory with a tally in the 73rd. Despite the victory, D.C. United is still out of postseason contention currently sitting in the 17th position of the wildcard pool. PDA is currently in the 14th spot.
    Despite a late effort from Bethesda-Olney U-17/18s and Sam Sergi in the 88th minute, Philadelphia Union was able to surpass its division foe with a 2-1 victory with goals from Conor Bradley and John Schroeder, whose 75th minute score was not only the difference in the game but his first goal of the season. Both sides currently are positioned to play following the regular season as the Union is in the 10th spot in the wildcard pool and Bethesda-Olney follows closely behind in the 11th.
  • Central Conference: On Sunday, Solar Chelsea SC U-15/16s shutout Dallas Texans with goals from Javier Leija and team lead scorer Dwight Williams Jr. (19 goals) for the 2-0 shutout. The win helps Solar Chelsea remain inside the playoffs pool (14th position), while keeping the Texans out of it. Nonetheless, Dallas Texans still will likely see postseason play as they have a hold of the very first position in the wild card pool with only a handful of games left in the regular season.
    In a matchup of wildcard pool teams, Colorado Rush U-17/18s and Sporting Kansas City finished in a 2-2 tie on Sunday after combining for four goals in a span of 20 minutes in the first half. Noah Chapleski and Will Eslinger notched goals for the Rush, while Nic Jaimes and Daniel Salloi did their part for Sporting KC. It was Chapleski’s 13th goal of the season and Salloi’s 18th, both leading marks in their teams.
  • West Conference: In the Western Conference, a pair of playoffs pool sides met on Saturday as Crossfire Premier U-17/18s defeated LA Galaxy 2-1 in dramatic fashion. Scoreless for much of the game, Galaxy’s Ethan Zubak finally broke through in the 80th for the 1-0 to put his team head with 10 minutes to go in the match. Not about to go down easy, Joey Parish immediately tied things up in the 81st to set up a few last intense final minutes in the game. That’s when Simon Lekressner brought the heroics and in the 90th minute gave Crossfire Premier the victory. 


Player of the Week: New England Revolution U-15/16 left back Daniel Jones earns Academy Player of the Week for his excellent showing in a 3-2 victory against Montréal Impact over the weekend. The left back earned high praise for his exceptional defending and ability to dribble forward and consistently threaten the opposing defense. Daniel helped the Revs to their 10th win of the season, keeping them in prime playoff position with just two weeks left in the regular season. The team travels to Everton FC Westchester this weekend with just 0.06 Pts/GP separating the two sides.

Academy Referee of the Week: Shaine Danbeli, a 26-year old Grade 6 state referee from California, was named Academy Referee of the Week for receiving high marks during the U-13/14 LA Galaxy and Central Cal Aztecs game. Danbeli Rosas has worked Academy matches since 2008, in addition to National Teams, W-League, Premier Development League, United Soccer League, NPSL, MLS Preseason and Open Cup games.

For all Development Academy results, standings and more visit or click on the following links:


U-23 MNT Falls to Host France in Toulon Tournament Opener: Despite a strong second half, the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team fell to host-France 3-1 on Wednesday in its opening group match of the 2015 Toulon Tournament.

Academy Director Course: The U.S. Soccer Coaching Department launched its first Academy Director Course last month to much success. The 16-month course that began on April 21 will run from April 2015 until July 2016, becoming the highest-level course offered for youth coaches.

Four New Clubs Added for 2015-16 Season: Three east coast-based clubs and one west coast club will be joining the U.S. Soccer Development Academy to open the 2015-16 season. Baltimore Armour from Maryland and Sacramento Republic from California will field teams at all age groups, which include U-13/14s, U-15/16s and U-17/18s, to become full members beginning this fall. In addition, Florida-based club Boca United, who currently fields a team in the Academy at the U-13/14 age group, will play the 2015-16 Academy season at all three age groups adding teams to the U-15/16 and U-17/18 levels. New York City FC will be joining the U-13/14 age group at the beginning of next season and become part of the Academy for the first time. 


WNT Surprise Lunch with GMA's Robin Roberts

U.S. Soccer hosted Media Day for the U.S. Women’s National Team Wednesday afternoon at the New York Marriott Marquis. Over 190 media members attended the event in Manhattan to preview the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 and ask about the team’s preparations ahead of their final Send-Off Series match this Saturday.

Prior to the press conferences and round table discussions, the players ate lunch with a special guest.

Robin Roberts, anchor on ABC’s Good Morning America, gave praise to the athletes gearing up to represent their country next month and also gave them a bit of perspective.

#USWNT attacker Christen Press chats with Good Morning America's Robin Roberts at lunch during Media Day before the 2015 Women's World Cup.

“In life, it’s what you overcome that stays with you,” said Roberts, who recently overcame Breast Cancer and Leukemia. “It builds your character and that really makes you who you are.”

“Watching Robin’s very public personal journey battling her disease [and] seeing her come out of it in such a positive way, doing the things that she still loves, is really an inspiration,” said U.S. defender Meghan Klingenberg. “There needs to be more people like her in the world.”

#USWNT defender Meghan Klingenberg and Robin Roberts share a moment during Media Day.

The United States will play Korea Republic in their final match of the Send-Off Series this Saturday at Red Bull Arena. A limited number of tickets are still available for purchase.

You’ve Earned the Right

Six-year-old Whitney Engen watched Kerri Strug’s final vault during the 1996 Olympics and decided there and then that she was going to be a gymnast. Fully absorbed in her gymnast aspirations, Engen had no intention of playing soccer.

“But my Mom and Dad basically said, ‘Sorry, you have to do this, you gotta play two sports a year’ – I think they just did that because I was such an active kid that they just wanted me to be tired before bed,” laughs Engen.

While she didn’t care much for the game itself, she did like the rituals surrounding it: 1) She got candy after every practice, and 2) When her dad drove her to the game in his old diesel Mercedes, he blasted opera music as they wound up the hill toward the field. They both jokingly sang along, car-rattle helping their operatic vibrato. 

Engen in her early days as a soccer player

Then, in her third season of gymnastics, she was dismissed from her gym because she was too big.

“I wanted to be a gymnast more than anything in the world,” says Engen. “But when you’re a 5’7, 100-pound third grader, it doesn’t really work out for you. I was a huge, huge kid. I’ve basically been this tall my whole life. I don’t want to say it was traumatizing, but it was definitely impactful. I towered over everyone.”

On the soccer field, things weren’t going much better than gymnastics.

#USWNT Media Day in NYC

It was #USWNT Media Day at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square yesterday! More than 190 media members came to speak to the players, making for a memorable day in Manhattan.

Gallery: Futures Camp Expands Development Academy Opportunities

Photos from the U.S. Soccer Development Acadmey's 2015 Futures Camp. 

USL Squads Dominate U.S. Open Cup Third Round as Dream Runs End for Nearly All Amateur Clubs

CHICAGO (May 27, 2015) – As Division II North American Soccer League sides entered the Third Round of the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the league matched up in seven battles with Division III United Soccer League counter parts. But the already tested USL sides went 6-0-1 in those matches, with Third Division Saint Louis FC also dispatching Minnesota United FC on penalties.

The Third Round wasn’t kind to Amateur Division teams, as the dream runs for Jersey Express, Chattanooga FC, Ventura County Fusion and Chula Vista FC all ended, but California side PSA Elite (USASA) became the tournament’s furthest advancing amateur team for the second year in a row, garnering the $15,000 cash prize awarded for the achievement.

Winners from Wednesday’s matches will face 15 different U.S.-based Major League Soccer sides in Fourth Round play on June 16-17. The draw to determine Fifth Round match-ups will be held at the conclusion of Fourth Round play on June 18. The Fifth Round is scheduled to be played June 30-July 1.

Third Round Results - Match Center





May 27

Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL) at Chattanooga FC (NPSL)

1-1, 2-1 AET

Finley Stadium; Chattanooga, Tenn.

May 27

Charlotte Independence (USL) at Carolina RailHawks (NASL)


WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.

May 27

Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL) at Charleston Battery (USL)


Blackbaud Stadium; Charleston, S.C.

May 27

Louisville City FC (USL) at Indy Eleven (NASL)

0-0, 2-0 AET

Carroll Stadium; Indianapolis, Ind.

May 27

Jersey Express (PDL) at New York Cosmos (NASL)


Belson Stadium (St. John’s Univ.); Queens, N.Y.

May 27

Rochester Rhinos (USL) at Harrisburg City Islanders (USL)

0-0, 3-1 AET

Skyline Sports Complex; Harrisburg, Pa.

May 27

Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL) at Real Monarchs SLC (USL)


Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah

May 27^

Portland Timbers 2 (USL) at Seattle Sounders 2 (USL)

1-1, 1-2 AET

Starfire Stadium; Tukwila, Wash.

May 27

Jacksonville Armada (NASL) at Richmond Kickers (USL)


Richmond City Stadium; Richmond, Va.

May 27

Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) at Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL)


Highmark Stadium; Pittsburgh, Pa.

May 27

Minnesota United FC (NASL) at Saint Louis FC (USL)

1-1, (1-3 PK’s)

St. Louis Soccer Park; Fenton, Mo.

May 27

Austin Aztex (USL) at San Antonio Scorpions (NASL)


Toyota Field; San Antonio, Texas.

May 27

Oklahoma City Energy (USL) at Tulsa Roughnecks (USL)


ONEOK Field; Tulsa, Okla.

May 27

Chula Vista FC (USASA) at Sacramento Republic FC (USL)


Bonney Field; Sacramento, Calif.

May 27

PSA Elite (USASA) at Ventura County Fusion (PDL)


Ventura College Sportsplex; Ventura, Calif.

^Time Change May 19

Fourth Round Matchups





June 16

Rochester Rhinos (USL) at Philadelphia Union (MLS)

7:30 p.m. ET

PPL Park; Chester, Pa.

June 16

Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL) at New York Red Bulls (MLS)

7:30 p.m. ET

Red Bull Arena; Harrison, N.J.

June 16

Saint Louis FC (USL) at Sporting Kansas City (MLS)

7:30 p.m. CT

Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.

June 16

Louisville FC (USL) at Chicago Fire (MLS)

7:30 p.m. CT

Toyota Park; Bridgeview, Ill.

June 16

Oklahoma City Energy (USL) at FC Dallas (MLS)

8 p.m. CT

TCU Soccer Stadium; Ft. Worth, Texas

June 16

Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL) at Colorado Rapids (MLS)

7 p.m. MT

Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, Colo.

June 16*

Seattle Sounders 2 (USL) at Real Salt Lake (MLS)

8 p.m. MT

Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah

June 16

Sacramento Republic FC (USL) at San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)

7:30 p.m. PT

Avaya Stadium; San Jose, Calif.

June 16

Portland Timbers (MLS) at Seattle Sounders (MLS)

7:30 p.m. PT

Starfire Sports Complex; Tukwila, Wash.

June 17

Columbus Crew SC (MLS) at Richmond Kickers (USL)

7 p.m. ET

Richmond City Stadium; Richmond, Va.

June 17

D.C. United (MLS) at Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL)

7 p.m. ET

Highmark Stadium; Pittsburgh, Pa.

June 17*

New York City FC (MLS) at New York Cosmos (NASL)

7:30 p.m. ET

Shuart Stadium; Hempstead, N.Y.

June 17

Orlando City (MLS) at Charleston Battery (USL)

7:30 p.m. ET

Blackbaud Stadium; Charleston, S.C.

June 17

Charlotte Independence (USL) at New England Revolution (MLS)

7:30 p.m. ET

Soldiers Field (Harvard Univ.); Boston, Mass.

June 17*

Austin Aztex (USL) at Houston Dynamo (MLS)

8 p.m. CT

BBVA Compass Stadium; Houston, Texas

June 17

PSA Elite (USASA) at LA Galaxy (MLS)

7:30 p.m. PT

StubHub Center; Carson, Calif.

*Date Change Announced May 27

Game #1: Seattle Sounders FC 2 (USL) 2, Portland Timbers FC 2 (USL) 1 (a.e.t.)
It was a scoreless first half between the two rivals’ second teams, but not without chances. In the eighth minute, Portland Timbers 2’s ‘keeper Justin Luthy made a point-blank save off an effort from Seattle’s Victor Mansaray, and also managed to save a shot by the Sounders’ Andy Craven later in the half. Seattle’s ‘keeper Saif Kerawala was also called into action in the 23rd minute when he made a fantastic save on a low shot by Rundell Winchester, who had broken behind the Sounders 2 back line. The second half was more attacking, and in the 54th minute Rennico Clarke headed home a Blair Gavin corner kick to make it 1-0 for Timbers 2. Then in the 66th minute, Mansaray played Craven through for the second time in the half and the striker dribbled past Luthy before slotting it home to tie the game. In injury time, Qudus Lawal found himself in on goal, but Luthy made a great save to send the match to extra time. Seattle’s Pablo Rossi would find the game-winner in the 104th minute when Sam Garza played him through Portland’s defense as Rossi curled it to the back post to set up Sounders 2 with a Fourth Round date at Real Salt Lake.

Game #2: Harrisburg City Islanders (USL) 1, Rochester Rhinos (USL) 3 (a.e.t.)
For a game that spent the vast majority of time locked in a stalemate, the Third Round match between the Harrisburg City Islanders and Rochester Rhinos rewarded those who stuck around until the end with an extremely eventful finish. It was a scrappy game, with many cards, and in the 38th minute, Rochester’s Steevan Dos Santos received his second caution and was sent off. However, the 10-man Rhinos held on at 0-0 through regular time. In the second period of extra time, the game’s first goal finally came from the Islanders’ Brett Jankouskas, who slipped the ball past goalkeeper Brandon Miller off an Eric Bird assist. The floodgates opened, but not in the direction anyone expected. A minute later, Rochester struck back, with Kenardo Forbes capitalizing on a defensive lapse. Then, in the 115th minute, a bouncing ball in the box was slotted home by Rochester’s Asani Samuels. Just five minutes later, Samuels bagged a brace to push his side to a Fourth Round matchup at the Philadelphia Union.

Game #3: Richmond Kickers (USL) 3, Jacksonville Armada (NASL) 0
Hosting Jacksonville for the Florida club’s first-ever U.S. Open Cup match, the Richmond Kickers ran out to a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute as Fred Owusu Sekyere picked out the head of Brian Ownby, who nodded inside the far post. Richmond would extend their lead just before halftime as Jason Yeisley broke through the back line before finishing past Armada ‘keeper Miguel Gallardo in the 38th minute, tallying the club’s 100th goal in U.S. Open Cup play. Whistled for a penalty kick early into the second half, Jacksonville fell further behind when George Davis IV easily placed his effort to the right of Gallardo to give the Kickers a 3-0 lead in the 51st minute. The padded lead helped Richmond see out the match, pushing the USL side to a Fourth Round home date against the Columbus Crew.

Game #4: Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL) 1, Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) 0
After 90 minutes of high pressing and numerous attempts, it seemed like the Pittsburgh Riverhounds just couldn’t get one over on their NASL competition the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The ‘Hounds had the lion’s share of the possession, much of which was in the Rowdies’ half, but they had nothing to show for it.  A low save by former MLS keeper Matt Pickens from Kevin Kerr’s vicious half-volley kept the Rowdies in the game in the 79th minute. Then, just as the fourth official was announcing stoppage time, Rob Vincent picked the ball up, strode up field, and unleashed a 25-yard bullet into the bottom-left corner, giving Pickens no chance and the Riverhounds a 1-0 victory.  Pittsburgh advances to the Fourth Round where it’ll host MLS side D.C. United.

Game #5: Chattanooga FC (NPSL) 1 vs. Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL) 2 (a.e.t.)
The dream is over for underdog darlings Chattanooga FC after their 2-1 extra time defeat to the NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks. After 87 scoreless minutes, Chattanooga looked likely to pull the “Cupset”  when Luke Winter, put home a Jon Finlay cross.  However, just two minutes later the Silverbacks bounced back, winning a penalty and a chance to take the game to extra time, which Shaka Bangura converted with style. In the 109th minute, Atlanta’s Jaime Chavez broke Chattanooga’s hearts with a super strike to give his team the 2-1 lead. Despite Chattanooga’s best efforts, the Division II Silverbacks held on, setting up a Fourth Round match away to the New York Red Bulls.

Game #6: Charlotte Independence (USL) 1, Carolina RailHawks (NASL) 0
In the first-ever meeting between the two sides from the Tar Heel state, neither team could find a firm footing in attack and instead traded possession through much of the first hour. In the 71st minute, an Independence forward seemed to be taken down in the box, but the referee waived played on. Ten minutes later though, Ryan Finley came good, finding the back of the net to take Charlotte to a 1-0 victory over their NASL counterparts. The win pushes the first-year USL side to a Fourth Round clash with the New England Revolution.

Game #7: Charleston Battery 3, Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL) 2
In one of seven NASL vs. USL matches on the night, the Division II Fort Lauderdale Strikers drew first blood early when Dani Sanchez slipped Bruno Nunes through to give the visitors a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute. After working out the early jitters, Charleston would find the equalizer when Dane Kelly laid a ball back for Ricky Garbanzo, who smashed a half-volley into the roof of the net in the 30th minute. Fort Lauderdale would go back into the lead just before halftime when Sanchez fired home a strong toe poke from the top of the area in the 40th minute. Trailing in the second half, the hosting Battery side began to put the pedal down and found the equalizer in the 77th minute when a Fort Lauderdale giveaway in the back was pounced on by Dane Kelly. The Jamaican played a quick pass across the box for Zach Prince, who first-timed his effort inside the right post. Catching the Strikers out in transition, the Battery would find their first lead of the match two minutes later as Garbanzo moved up the right before picking out Kelly at the back post where he finished the game-winner from close range in the 79th minute. With the victory, Charleston will host Orlando City SC in Fourth Round action.

Game #8: Indy Eleven (NASL) 0, Louisville City FC (USL) 2 (a.e.t.)
In a game that was delayed because of severe weather in central Indiana, I-65 rivals Indy Eleven and Louisville City FC played a physical first half before trading blows in the second frame, but neither side could find a goal to settle the match in regulation. Just as it seemed the match would head to extra time, the visitors from Louisville broke through as Nate Polak’s effort from outside the box beat Indy ‘keeper Kristian Nicht in the 115th minute. With Indy pushing everything forward in search of the equalizer, Louisville struck again just before time when Matt Fondy’s shot was saved by Nicht but Sidney Rivera was there to sweep in the rebound, sending the USL side home with a 2-0 win. Louisville will get their first crack at an MLS team when they visit the Chicago Fire in the Fourth Round.  

Game #9: New York Cosmos (NASL) 3, vs. Jersey Express (PDL) 0
Fourteen minutes into the match, the Cosmos’ Leo Fernandes hit a nice free kick over the Express wall to give the home side a 1-0 lead. Then, in the 40th minute, Cosmos’ Sebastian Guenzatti beat multiple Express defenders before finishing to make it 2-0. For much of the second half the Cosmos continued to force their will on the match and found the third and final goal in the 79th minute when Haji Wright made a run into the box and passed to Fernandes, who was brought down for a penalty kick. Mads Stokelien converted the penalty to give the Cosmos a 3-0 lead in the 81st minute. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses for the Cosmos, though, as Sam Caceres received a straight red for a nasty foul in the 90th minute. Still, the NASL side eased to victory over the Express, setting up a Fourth Round matchup with nascent neighbors New York City FC.

Game #10: Saint Louis FC 1 (USL), vs. Minnesota United FC (NASL) 1 (3-1 PKs)
Following a scoreless first half, Minnesota United was rewarded for early second half pressure when Geison Moura’s shot clanged off the cross bar before falling for JC Banks who finished from close range in the 53rd minute. Their backs against the wall, Saint Louis were relentless in attack and found their equalizing opportunity when United defender Tyler Polak chopped down Saint Louis’s Charles Renken in the penalty area, forcing the referee to point to the spot. Bryan Gaul calmly stepped up and placed his effort past United ‘keeper Mitch Hildebrandt to send the match to extra time. While both teams traded blows in the extra period, a goal couldn’t be found and the match went to a shootout. In the tie breaker, only U.S. international Miguel Ibarra could convert out of four attempts for Minnesota, while Saint Louis bagged all three of their spot kicks to down United 3-1 in the shootout. With the win, Saint Louis FC will visit Sporting Kansas City in Fourth Round play.

Game #11: Tulsa Roughnecks (USL) 0, Oklahoma City Energy FC (USL) 1
The Third Round match between the Tulsa Roughnecks and the Oklahoma City Energy was short on goals, but not on shots. Nearing the final minutes, the match looked destined for extra time, when, seemingly out of nowhere, Energy FC substitute Peter Toth blasted a shot from distance which squeezed into the top-left corner. Heartbreak for the Roughnecks, as Oklahoma City Energy advance to the Fourth Round of the U.S. Open Cup where they’ll pay a visit to FC Dallas.

Game #12: San Antonio Scorpions 0 (NASL), Austin Aztex (USL) 2
USL continued its advantage over the NASL in Texas when the Austin Aztex downed the San Antonio Scorpions 2-0 Wednesday night. Playing away from home, the Aztex played a high energy, pressing game the Scorpions had no answer for. In the 51st minute, the Aztex’s Michael Ambrose scored off a beautiful strike from about 30 yards out. Then, on a counter-attack in the 78th minute, the Aztex’s Trevin Caesar latched on to a through ball before slamming the insurance marker home to earn a 2-0 away win. With the victory, Austin advanced to the competition’s Fourth Round where they’ll visit Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo.

Game #13: Real Monarchs SLC 0 (USL), Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL) 1
Real Monarchs welcomed their neighbors to the east to Rio Tinto Stadium Wednesday night, but it was the side from Colorado that had the early ideas as Josh Phillips chipped Aaron King in alone before the striker beat Real ‘keeper Eric Osswald in the fifth minute. The home side nearly pulled level when Emery Welshman was picked out in the box, but his header went just wide of the post in the 33rd minute. As the teams tried to return from halftime, a bout of severe weather forced the match to be delayed. Once the game continued, Real continued on looking for tying goal, but saw their best chances come in second half stoppage time. First Max Rauhoffer’s half volley came back off the cross bar, before Maikon Orellana put his effort just wide left of the post moments before the referee whistled for time. With the victory, the Switchbacks move on to an in-state Fourth Round match as they visit the Colorado Rapids.

Game #14: Ventura County Fusion (PDL) 1, PSA Elite (USASA) 2
In the only Third Round battle between two Amateur Division teams, PSA Elite looked good to return to the Fourth Round for the second straight year when Mats Bjurman scored his third goal of the tournament from the penalty spot in the 39th minute. With the opportunity to face defending MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy hanging over both teams heads, the home side responded in the 72nd minute when Jinho Kim’s curling free kick was flicked on by Sola Abolaji before Abdullah Adam slammed the equalizer home. Both sides looked for the odd goal late but it was the visiting USASA side that found it when Justin Dhillon slammed home in the 80th minute. The victory combined with other results Wednesday hands PSA Elite a $15,000 prize as the furthest advancing amateur team and a Fourth Round date away to the LA Galaxy.

Game #15: Sacramento Republic FC  (USL) 7, Chula Vista FC (USASA) 3
Following a high-flying entrance into Open Cup play, Sacramento started where they left off last week when Octavio Guzmano was played towards box and flicked his effort home for a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute. Though Republic FC dictated much of the play, the young side from Chula Vista evened things up when Francisco Ramirez converted a spot kick in the 39th minute. The amateurs were no doubt looking to take that score into halftime, but Sacramento had other ideas as Adnon Gabeljic restored a 2-1 lead in the 43rd. On the other side of the break, Sacramento’s Tommy Stewart found some space on the right side of the box before turning to bury his effort inside the far left post for his tournament leading fourth goal in the 52nd minute. Just seven minutes later Gabljic popped up again to make it 4-1 and earned a penalty minutes later, but Sebastian Ortiz saved Rodrigo Lopez’s 63rd minute attempt. The fifth would eventually come from Zev Taublieb in the 73rd minute, but Chula Vista responded with a small comeback as Joey Estrada got on the end of a loose ball and chipped to the left post in the 74th minute. Eight minutes later, Mario Rubio popped up to pull Chula Vista back to within two goals, but Sacramento Republic put the hammer back down as Lopez fired home in the 85th minute before Gabeljic completed his hat trick and the 7-3 score line in the 89th minute. With the win, Sacramento Republic advances to a Fourth Round match at San Jose Earthquakes.

Post-Game Quotes: Herzog, Packwood, Morris, Pelosi Talk Defeat to France

U-23 MNT head coach ANDI HERZOG

On conceding two early goals:
It was a shock for our players. They completely lost confidence. In possession we lost the confidence to connect passes. Even defensively we were not able to close the attacking players from France down and at halftime we knew it was going to be tough because my team was mentally in a tough positon and I said guys, we’ve got to correct all the stuff we did wrong in the first half. We’ve got to start again and I think the second half was okay, but when a team like France is 3-0 ahead they don’t play 100 percent any more, but I think overall after the first half it was good and my team showed character to score at least one goal and keep the game a little bit open, but with the performance we had in the first half you can’t win games in this tournament.

“We conceded two goals in one minute, but not because France created opportunities, but because we made two horrible mistakes. I know France is a very good team they have a lot of good players, but we helped them. We supported them a lot with our mistakes and that was the key of the game and that’s why we lost the game. You can see that France is a good organized team and in attacking they’re a very technical team with a lot of great attacking players and we made it too easy for them in the first half.”

On how difficult the tournament will be moving forward:
It will be difficult, but we knew it from the beginning. I was hoping that we’d have a good start into the tournament, but like I said the first half was really, really bad so it’s not getting any easier but we want to try now every game to win the next game. Of course with our schedule we play every second game, so I think most of my players aren’t used to playing that much, because they’re not even starters in our league so it will be tough and we coaches have to be smart and have a good balance between playing time and regeneration and resting some important players.”


On the game:
Obviously we’re disappointed in the result first and foremost, but that came in the first 15 minutes of the first half when we let them get two easy goals. In terms of actual play in terms of the way we played and the way they played, I thought it was a very even game. Overall, we came back a little bit and one the second half 1-0, but the damage had been done by then.”

On the team getting off to a slow start:
The first two goals are mistake. The first one we gave the ball away at the edge of our box and then the second we gave the ball away at the edge of our box again. When you do that against good teams like France, they’ll punish you and they did. Those are things that you just can’t do. But in general, we worked a lot on our shape, and tried to send them off to the edge and I thought we had some success and I think it showed in the second half.”

On what the team needs to do for the next game:
We need to tighten up a little bit, because obviously these are good teams and they’re tough to play against, and we know that we can’t give them gifts the way that we did today and when we don’t, we’re a very good match for them and we’ll play right there with them and have a good even game. We need to cut out the mistakes and play forward and keep the ball and be a little more ruthless and we’ll be right there with those teams.”


On the game:
That was the most frustrating part that we came out and gave up easy goals so quickly and a couple of them definitely could have been preventable, so I think it’s frustrating to see us come out in the second half, and I think we were the better team, so we saw that we could play with these guys, but going down 3-0 is tough to come back from.”

On moving on to the next game in the Tournament:
I definitely think we have to put this game behind us. There were some negatives for sure, but also some positives. I thought we worked really hard and showed some really good stuff in the second half, so if we can take that and translate that and instead of just doing that in the second half, doing it in the first half, I think we’ll do very well.”

On the run of play that led to his goal:
I think Marc [Pelosi] had the ball on the left and he played it to me around half-field and their center back stepped and missed it and I turned and kind of just ran at the last center back and took to my left and fortunately slotted it by the ‘keeper. I think he came out and it just kind of trickled by him”

U-23 MNT midfielder MARC PELOSI

On the game:
I think just showing against a team like France that we dominated the second half and had most of the chances and scored a goal, I think it just shows that we can compete with the top teams. In the first half to be honest I don’t think we played that bad, but obviously letting in three goals in ten minutes, you can never do that and expect to finish with a result and after one goal you’ve just got to hold together and not let one in again.”

On how it felt to be back with the MNT:
It was great. Obviously you want to start better, but being back with the National Team again and seeing the boys I haven’t seen in a long time its great and it’s just an honor to be with the U.S. team.”

U-23 MNT Falls to Host France in Toulon Tournament Opener

TOULON, France (May 27, 2015) – Despite a strong second half, the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team fell to host-France 3-1 on Wednesday in their opening group match of the 2015 Toulon Tournament.

France came out on the attack and a pair of U.S. mistakes resulted in two goals for the tournament hosts in the game’s first 11 minutes. In the 21st minute France extended its lead to three off of a Stephane Sparagna free kick.

The U.S. battled for the remaining minutes of the first half and controlled the ball on France’s side of the pitch, but could not turn possession into any chances. The U-23s carried the momentum from the end of the first half into the second and got on the board in the 65th minute when Marco Pelosi fed Jordan Morris for the USA’S first goal of the tournament.

The U-23s applied the pressure for the remaining minutes, but were unable to earn a result.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
FRA- Fares Bahlouli, 10th minute: 
Cody Cropper made a diving save and parried the ball away, but the deflected ball was not cleared. Fares Bahlouli picked it up for France and promptly smashed it past a still-recovering Cropper and into the bottom right corner. USA 0, FRA 1

FRA- Enzo Cervelli, 11th minute: After intercepting off the kickoff following the first goal, France got the ball out to Lemar Thomas, who brought it down and got forward with pace on the left side. Thomas sent a hard shot at Cropper who dove and knocked it away. Off the rebound Enzo Cervelli jumped and headed it in to give France an early 2-0 lead. USA 0, FRA 2

FRA- Stephane Sparagna, 21st minute: A USA foul set up France with a free kick from 20 yards out, above the top corner of the box. The France captain Sparagna sent in a low, hard ball that threaded a number of players and ended in the lower right corner of the goal. USA 0, FRA 3

USA- Jordan Morris (Marc Pelosi) 65th Minute: Marc Pelosi played a square ball to Jordan Morris in the center of the park 45 yards from goal. Morris spun and burst past a pair of French defenders. With just the ‘keeper to beat, the U.S. forward calmly slipped a shot past and into the lower right corner. USA 1, FRA 3 (FINAL)

Milestone Watch:

  • Jordan Morris has now scored in back-to-back games with the U-23s and three straight for the U.S. overall counting his goal with the senior team in their 2-0 win against Mexico on April 15.
  • Marc Pelosi made his first appearance in a U.S. uniform in more than two years, having recovered from a series of injuries. He earned his first cap with the U-23 MNT and tallied an assist.
  • Sam Strong earned his first cap with the U-23 MNT

Next on the Schedule:
The U-23 MNT faces the Netherlands on May 29 at Stade Perruc in Hyeres, France
Broadcast information: 11 a.m. ET BeIN SPORTS 
Social: Twitter @ussoccer

Additional Notes:

  • This match was the first between France and the USA at the U-23 age level.
  • Benji Joya, who scored the lone goal for the U.S. in the match against France in the 2013 Toulon Tournament (when the teams met as U-20 opponents), made the start tonight as the captain.
  • Joya and Shane O’Neill are the only players on the roster that have started in all four games this year for the U-23s.
  • Jordan Morris, who earned Man of the Match honors, recorded his third goal in 2015 with the U-23s and the fourth of his five-game career with the team.

- U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. U-23 Men’s National Team vs. France
Date: May 27, 2015
Competition: 2015 Toulon Tournament
Venue: Stade Leo Lagrange; Toulon, France
Kickoff: 7 p.m. local time (1 p.m. ET)
Attendance: 812
Weather: 70 degrees, sunny

Scoring Summary:           1              2              F
USA                                   0              1              1
FRA                                   3              0              3

FRA – Fares Bahlouli                                 10th minute
FRA- Enzo Crivelli                                     11
FRA- Stephane Sparagna                            21
USA- Jordan Morris (Marc Pelosi)             65 

USA: 1-Cody Cropper; 3-Boyd Okwuonu,  5-Will Packwood (6-Sam Strong, 73), 4-Shane O’Neill, 2-Juan Pablo Ocegueda (7-Dillon Serna, 62); 8-Benji Joya (capt.), 16-Daniel Metzger, 10-Marc Pelosi; 17-Jerome Keisewetter (11-Alonso Hernandez ,73), 9-Jordan Morris, 16-Julian Green (15-Alfred Koroma Shams, 62)
Subs Not Used:, 12-Charlie Horton, 13-Fatai Alashe, 18-Jalen Robinson, 20-Tyler Turner, 22-Tyler Miller
Head coach: Andreas Herzog

FRA: 1-Thomas Didillon; 15 Raphael Diarra, 5-Stephane Sparagna, 4-Presnel Kimpembe, 2-Damien Dussau, 13-Baptiste Santamaria (8-Adrien Hunou, 61), 6-Yann Bodiger, 11-Lemar Thomas, 20-Romain Habran (19- Aristote Madiani, 51), 9-Enzo Crivelli (14-Ulrich Nnomo, 65), 18-Fares Bahlouli (10-Younes Kaabouni, 61)
Subs Not Used: 3-Louis Nganinoni,  7-Jean-Luc Diarra-Dompe, 12-Marco Ilamaharita, 16-Louis Souchad, 17-Jordan Diakiese
Head coach: Francis Smerecki 

Stats Summary: USA / FRA
Shots: 5 / 9
Shots on Goal: 4 /5
Saves: 2 / 1
Corner Kicks: 4 / 3
Fouls: 10 / 8
Offside: 1 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Jerome Kiesewetter (caution)                      19th minute
FRA- Presnel Kimpembe (caution)                          38
FRA- Stephane Sparagn (caution)                            49
FRA- Yann Badiger (caution)                                  54

Referee: Adi Zourak (MAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Hacham  Ait Abbou (MAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Yahya Nouali (MAR)
4th Official: Romo Macias (MEX) Man of the Match: Jordan Morris 


Date Matchup Result Venue Attendance Goal Scorers
July 16, 2000 MNT vs Guatemala 1-1 D Estadio Carlos Salazar; Mazatenango, Guatemala 9,500 Razov
July 23, 2000 MNT vs Costa Rica 1-2 L Estadio Ricardo Saprissa; San Jose, Costa Rica 20,000 Stewart
August 16, 2000 MNT vs Barbados 7-0 W Foxboro Stadium; Foxborough, Mass. 18,334 Pope, Stewart, O'Brien, Ramos, Moore (2), McBride
September 3, 2000 MNT vs Guatemala 1-0 W RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C. 51,996 McBride
October 11, 2000 MNT vs Costa Rica 0-0 D Columbus Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio 24,430
November 15, 2000 MNT vs Barbados 4-0 W National Stadium; Waterford 4,000 Jones, Stewart, Razov, Mathis