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Rafael Diaz

U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team
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U-17 MNT Finishes Third at Ballymena International Tournament with 5-1 Victory vs. Israel

LARNE, Northern Ireland (April 27, 2007) – As their counterparts were arriving in Jamaica for the CONCACAF Final Round Qualifying Tournament, the younger group from the Under-17 Men’s National Team was running away and hiding with a 5-1 victory to win third place as the Ballymena International Tournament in Northern Ireland.

Ryan Finley led the way with a pair of goals as the U.S. scored three times in five minutes between the 29th and 33rd minutes. Finley’s strikes, assisted by Cooper Barham and Ben Speas, respectively, book-ended a Speas goal that was assisted by Zarek Vanentin.

The goals for the U.S. in the second half came in a bunch as well, as Amobi Okugo scored in the 59th minute and substitute Eder Arreola scored four minutes later on Valentin’s second helper of the match.

Isreal closed out the day’s scoring with a 68th minute goal by Guy Lipka.

In the championship game, Ireland upended the hosts 3-0.

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team Game Report

Participants: USA vs. Israel
Competition: Ballymena International Tournament
Location: Larne, Northern Ireland
Date: April 27, 2007
Weather: Sunny, 65 Degrees

Scoring Summary:
            1 2 F
USA    3 2 5
ISR     0 1 1

USA – Ryan Finley (Cooper Barham) 29th minute
USA – Ben Speas (Zarek Valentin) 30.
USA – Ryan Finley (Ben Speas) 33.
USA – Amobi Okugo 59.
USA – Eder Arreola (Zarek Valentin) 63.
ISR – Guy Lipka 68.

Lineups:
USA: 1-Cody Mizell (18-Rafael Diaz, 41); 12-Parker Walsh, 17-Chad Barson, 9-Aubrey Perry, 8-Kofi Sarkodie; 2-Zarek Valentin, 14-Ben Speas (10-Scott Caldwell, 69), 5-Amobi Okugo (15-Korey Veeder, 77); 6-Hasani Sinclair (13-Eder Arreola, 51), 16-Ryan Finley (4-Dersu Abolfathi, 51), 11-Cooper Barham (7-Ade Akinsanya, 51)
Head Coach: Brian Maisonneuve

ISR: 18-Idan Tuef; 7-Artur Atadjanov, 4-Osher Zeytoun, 5-Mishel Nahimias, 20-Guy Lipka; 12-Eyal Golsa, 14-Israel Goren (10-Moshe Lugassi, 41), 16-Moshe Barak (9-Isak Elihen, 54), 11-Mohammad Ghadir; 6-Philip Hbumaneh (17-Muin Khalaili, 41), 13-Saar Itzhak Segal (15-Timor Avitan, 41)
Subs not used: 1-Gaston Mizdraje, 2-Nir Mantsur, 8-Sameh Moreb

Statistical Summary: USA/ISR
Shots 14/8
Shots on goal 11/5
Saves 4/6
Fouls 9/13
Corner Kicks 6/4
Offside 2/0

U.S. U-17 MNT Drops Match, 2-1, to Ireland

LARNE, Northern Ireland (April 25, 2007) - The U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team dropped their third match at the Ballymena International Tournament in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, falling 2-1 to Ireland after defeating the Czech Republic one day earlier.

All three goals were scored in the first half as Ireland went ahead 2-0 with goals in the 17th and 29th minutes.

The U.S. pulled one back in the 36th minute when the squad earned a free kick on the left flank. Scott Caldwell served the ball into the center, where Kofi Sarkodie got his head on it. The ball crossed the box to Gale Agbossoumonde, who headed it home.

The U.S. U-17 Men face Israel in the third-place match on Thursday, April 26. Ireland and Northern Ireland will face off for the tournament title.  The U.S. has never won the Ballymena International Tournament, coming up short four times in the championship match out of five overall appearances. In 2000, the U.S. finished fourth, but had reached the final the past four consecutive years in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006 only to fall to Israel (1-2), Switzerland (3-4 in penalties), Czech Republic (0-1) and Czech Republic again (0-1).

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team Game Report

Participants: USA vs. Ireland
Competition: Ballymena International Tournament
Location: Larne, Northern Ireland
Date: April 25, 2007
Weather: Cool, 50 Degrees

Scoring Summary:   1    2    F
USA                              1    0    1
IRE                               2    0    2

IRE – Greg Cunningham (Conor Henderson)    17th minute.
IRE – Conor Clifford (penalty kick)                         29.
USA – Gale Agbossoumonde (Kofi Sarkodie)    36.

Lineups:
USA: 18-Rafael Diaz; 15-Korey Veeder (12-Parker Walsh, 66), 17-Chad Barson, 9-Aubrey Perry, 8-Kofi Sarkodie; 2-Zarek Valentin, 10-Scott Caldwell, 5-Amobi Okugo; 4-Dersu Abolfathi, 3-Gale Agbossoumonde (14-Ben Speas, 66), 7-Ade Akinsanya (16-Ryan Finley, 57)
Subs not used: 1-Cody Mizell, 6-Hasnai Sinclair, 11-Cooper Barham, 13-Eder Arreola
Head Coach: Brian Maisonneuve


IRE: 16-Chris Oldfield; 8- Conor Hourihane, 4-John Dunleavy, 5-Mark Connolly (2-Neil Byrne, 41), 12-Neil Harney (3-Richie Towell, 40): 14-Paul Corry, 13-Conor Henderson, 6- Conor Clifford, 7- Aaron Doran (15-Jason Hughies, 41); 11-Greg Cunningham, 18-Karl Sheppard
Subs not used: 1-Harry Lee, 10-Gerard Kinsella, 9-James Wallace, 17-David Heagney
Head Coach: Vincent Butler


Statistical Summary:  USA     IRE
Shots                                11         5
Shots on goal                   3          4
Saves                                 2          2
Fouls                                15        10
Corner Kicks                     6          3
Offside                               2           2

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Scott Caldwell (caution)                    49th minute.
IRE – Conor Clifford (caution)                      52.
USA – Gale Agbossoumonde (caution)     60.
IRE – Conor Hourihane (caution)                80.

U-17 '91 MNT Defeat Czech Republic in Ballymena

BALLYMENA, Northern Ireland (April 24, 2007) - The U.S. Under-17 '91 Men's National Team scored three goals in the second half to overcome a two-goal deficit against the Czech Republic in their second match of the Ballymena Intenational Tournament in Ballymena, Northern Ireland.

With the dramatic come-from-behind victory, the U.S. is tied with the Republic of Ireland atop Group B with four points and a plus-one goal differential. The two countries will face-off for the group title and a spot in the championship match on Wednesday, April 25. The U.S. and Ireland met less than three weeks ago at the 35th Mondial Minimes International Tournament in France, with Ireland winning the match, 2-1.

This game was billed as one of the matches of the tournament and it did not disappoint. The Czechs, the current holders of the David Cairns Memorial Trophy, stormed into a two goal first-half lead, but the States battled back and scored three second-half goals to claim all three points.

The U.S. and the Czech Republic had met in the final the past two years of the Ballymena Tournament and this group match had the feeling of a final with some fantastic play by both countries.

The Czechs dominated the first half with two goals, but the U.S. actually escaped with just a two-goal deficit as one shot caromed off the post and two were cleared off the line. The opening goal came in the 25th minute when Vaclav Vasicer from close range, and the reigning champs didn’t wait long to double their advantage as four minutes later Petr Kucera slipped a ball past Cody Mizell.

The match was turned on its head when the U.S. came out in the second half with more energy and Dersu Abolfathi buried a close range effort in the 53rd minute. Ryan Finley created the opportunity by defeating his defender with a nice step-over from the left flank before crossing the ball into the penalty area where buried it into the net.

Abolfathi was in the mix for the equalizing goal in the 71st minute as he dribbled inside his defender before playing the ball to an overlapping Kofi Sarkodie inside the box. The defender took a touch before being taken down to earn a penalty kick. Sarkodie took the spot kick himself, blasting it past the ‘keeper.

The winning strike came with just two minutes from time and started with the goalkeeper, Mizell, whose clearance down the field was run onto by Finley. With a nice touch he was past the ‘keeper and tapping the ball into the open net.

In Group A, Northern Ireland jumped back into contention for the title with a 2-1 victory over Israel, but they'll need some help as Finland sits atop the group with four points after a scoreless draw against Switzerland. Northern Ireland will face Switzerland, while Finland takes on Israel on Wednesday, April 25.  

The U.S. has never won the Ballymena International Tournament, coming up short four times in the championship match out of five overall appearances. In 2000, the U.S. finished fourth, but since has reached the final the past four consecutive years in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006 only to fall to Israel (1-2), Switzerland (3-4 in penalties), Czech Republic (0-1) and Czech Republic again (0-1).  


U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team Game Report

Participants: USA vs. Czech Rep.
Competition: Ballymena International Tournament
Location: Ballymena, Northern Ireland
Date: April 24, 2007
Weather: Overcast, 55 Degrees

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

CZE – Vasicer Vaclav                                      25th minute
CZE – Kucera Petr                                           29.
USA – Dersu Abolfathi (Ryan Finley)           53.
USA – Kofi Sarkodie (penalty kick)               71.
USA – Ryan Finley (Cody Mizell )                  79.

Lineups:
USA: 1-Cody Mizell; 15-Korey Veeder (12-Parker Walsh, 69), 17-Chad Barson, 9-Aubrey Perry, 8-Kofi Sarkodie: 5-Amobi Okugo, 10-Scott Caldwell, 4-Dersu Abolfathi,13-Eder Arreola (11-Cooper Barham, 49); 14-Ben Speas 16-Ryan Finley (3-Gale Agbossoumonde, 80)
Subs not used: 18-Rafael Diaz, 2-Zarek Valentin, 6-Hasani Sinclair, 7-Ade Akinsanya
Head Coach: Brian Maisonneuve

CZE: 1-Kulovany Vojtech; 3-Murin Ondrej, 5-Ramba Jaroslav, 12-Jelen Karel, 13-Kmoch Jaroslav; 10-Kucera Petr, 14-Pruckner Lukas, 15-Kolarik Petr, 18-Rein Filip (8-Picha Jakub, 63); 11-Boril Jan, 17-Vasicer Vaclav (9-Stourac Jakub, 41)
Subs not used: 16-Sebek Jan, 2-Muller Petr, 4-Kaizar Patrik, 6-Farmacka David, 7-Zabraha Jiri,
Head Coach:

Statistical Summary:
                                 USA      CZE
Shots                        12         13  
Shots on goal           7            5
Saves                         3            4
Fouls                          6          27
Corner Kicks             8            7
Offside                       3             1

Misconduct Summary:
CZE – Murin Ondrej (caution)                 56th minute

Ballymena International Tournament Standings

Group A

Teams GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
Finland 2 1 0 1 3 1 +2 4
Northern Ireland 2 1 1 0 3 4 -1 3
Switzerland 2 0 0 2 2 2 0 2
Israel 2 0 1 1 3 4 -1 1

Monday, April 23
Finland 3, Northern Ireland 1
Switzerland 2, Israel 2

Tuesday, April 24
Northern Ireland 2, Israel 1
Switzerland 0, Finland 0

Wednesday, April 25
Northern Ireland vs. Switzerland
Finland vs. Israel

Friday, April 27
Placement Matches vs. Group B

Group B

Teams GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
Republic of Ireland 2 1 0 1 3 2 +1 4
USA 2 1 0 1 4 3 +1 4
Scotland 2 0 0 2 2 2 0 2
Czech Republic 2 0 2 0 3 5 -2 0

Monday, April 23
USA 1, Scotland 1
Republic of Ireland 2, Czech Republic 1

Tuesday, April 24

USA 3, Czech Republic 2
Republic of Ireland 1, Scotland 1

Wednesday, April 25
USA vs. Republic of Ireland
Scotland vs. Czech Republic

Friday, April 27

Placement Matches vs. Group A

U-17 '91 MNT Draws Opening Match of Ballymena Tournament

BALLYMENA, Northern Ireland (April 23, 2007) - The U.S. Under-17 '91 Men's National Team pulled out a 1-1 draw against Scotland this afternoon in their opening match of the 2007 Ballymena International Tournament at Wellington Rec in Larne, Northern Ireland. Parker Walsh scored the equalizer with five minutes left to play to earn the U.S. a point.

The U.S. sits in second place in Group B after the first day of matches, trailing the Republic of Ireland, who defeated the reigning champion Czech Republic, 2-1. The U.S. will next face the Czech Republic, the country the U.S. U-17 '90 MNT lost to in the championship match last year, on Tuesday, April 24.

The U.S. was greeted with overcast clouds and rainy conditions for their first match of the tournament. Despite the wet field, the U.S. came out and dominated possession in the first half, but went into the locker room at halftime behind as it was Scotland that scored first.

In the 29th minute, Scotland won a corner kick and took advantage. David McAulliffe served the corner to the far post for Scott Durie, but his header was cleared off the line by defender Scott Caldwell. Despite the heads up play, the clearance fell straight to Robert McHugh, who buried his shot from close range.  

The second half saw the wind and rain settle down a bit, and the U.S. was finally able to capatilize in the 75th minute off a free kick that was awarded when Scotland's goalkeeper Grant Adams picked up a back pass at the edge of the penalty area. Dersu Alfolfathi provided a quick touch to Parker Walsh on the free kick and the defender ripped a shot through the wall and past Adams into the back of the net.

In Group A action, Finland defeated Northern Ireland, 3-1, while the Switzerland and Isreal drew, 2-2.

The U.S. has never won the Ballymena International Tournament, coming up short four times in the championship match out of five overall appearances. In 2000, the U.S. finished fourth, but since has reached the final the past four consecutive years in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006 only to fall to Israel (1-2), Switzerland (3-4 in penalties), Czech Republic (0-1) and Czech Republic again (0-1).  

U.S. Under-17 '91 Men's National Team Match Report

Participants:  U.S. Under-17 ‘90s Men’s National Team vs. Switzerland
Competition:  Ballymena International Tournament
Location: Wellington Rec; Larne, Northern Ireland
Date: April 23, 2007
Weather: Overcast and rainy, 50 degrees

Scoring Summary: 
               1st   2nd    Final
USA         0       1         1
SCO         1       0         1
 
SCO – Robert McHugh                                           29th minute
USA – Parker Walsh (Dersu Albolfathi)               75.

Lineups:
USA: 1-Cody Mizell; 8-Kofi Sarkodie (Capt.), 3-Gale Agbossoumonde, 9-Aubrey Perry, 12-Parker Walsh; 5-Amobi Okugo, 10-Scott Caldwell (17-Chad Barson, 75), 14-Ben Speas (7-Ade Akinsanya, 60); 4-Dersu Abolfathi, 16-Ryan Finley (6-Hasani Sinclair, 60), 13-Eder Arreola (15-Korey Veeder, 47)
Subs not used: Cooper Barham, Zarek Valentin, Rafael Diaz
Head Coach: Brian Maisonnueve

SCO: 1-Grant Adams; 2-Stephen Forbes, 3-David McAulliffe (14-Michael O'Halloran, 61), 4-Scott Durie, 5-Daniel Wilson (Capt.); 7-Ryan Martin (13Gregg Wylde, 61), 6-Gordon Smith, 8-Daniel Thomson, 11-Alex Cooper (16-Sean Fitzharris, 73); 9-Archie Campbell, 10-Robert McHugh (15-David Love, 57)

Statistical Summary:
                              USA    SCO
Shots                      9          9
Shots on goal       3          4
Saves                     3           2 
Fouls                      6          15 
Corner Kicks         4           6
Offside                    5           3        

Misconduct Summary:
USA - Gale Agbossoumonde (caution)          11th minute
SCO - Grant Adams (caution)                           32.
SCO - Gregg Wylde (caution)                            80.

Ballymena International Tournament Standings

Group A

Teams GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
Finland 1 1 0 0 3 1 +2 3
Israel 1 0 0 1 2 2 0 1
Switzerland 1 0 0 1 2 2 0 1
Northern Ireland 1 0 1 0 1 3 -2 0

Monday, April 23
Finland 3, Northern Ireland 1
Switzerland 2, Israel 2

Tuesday, April 24
Northern Ireland vs. Israel
Switzerland vs. Finland

Wednesday, April 25
Northern Ireland vs. Switzerland
Finland vs. Israel

Friday, April 27
Placement Matches vs. Group B

Group B

Teams GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
Republic of Ireland 1 1 0 0 2 1 +1 3
USA 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 1
Scotland 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 1
Czech Republic 1 0 1 0 1 2 -1 0

Monday, April 23
USA 1, Scotland 1
Republic of Ireland 2, Czech Republic 1

Tuesday, April 24

USA vs. Czech Republic
Republic of Ireland vs. Scotland

Wednesday, April 25
USA vs. Republic of Ireland
Scotland vs. Czech Republic

Friday, April 27

Placement Matches vs. Group A

Maisonneuve Names U.S. U-17 '91 Roster to Compete in Ballymena Tournament

CHICAGO (April 19, 2007) - U.S. Under-17 ’91 Men’s National Team assistant head coach Brian Maisonneuve named the 18-player roster for the 2007 Ballymena International Tournament from April 22-27 in Northern Ireland. The team will leave for the tournament on Thursday, April 19.

The U.S. is in Group B of the eight-team tournament along with the Czech Republic, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland. The U.S. will play three games in three days, opening the tournament against Scotland on Monday, April 23, then the Czech Republic and finally the Republic of Ireland, who recently defeated the U-17s, 2-1, in France.

Depending on how the team finishes in group play, the U.S. will play a placement match on Friday, April 27, against a team from Group A, which consists of Canada, Finland, Northern Ireland and Switzerland.

The U.S. U-17 ’91 MNT recently finished ninth at the 35th Mondial Minimes International Tournament in France.

U-17 ’91 MNT Schedule
Date         Opponent
April 23    Scotland
April 24    Czech Republic
April 25    Republic of Ireland
April 27    Placement Match

U-17 ’91 Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Rafael Diaz (Rockaway, N.J.), Cody Mizell (Woodstock, Ga.)

DEFENDERS (7): Gale Agbossoumonde (Syracuse, N.Y.), Cooper Barham (Odessa, Texas), Chad Barson (Lewis Center, Ohio), Aubrey Perry (Ocoee, Fla.), Kofi Sarkodie (Huber Heights, Ohio), Parker Walsh (Roanoke, Va.), Zarek Valentin (Lancaster, Pa.)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Adedoja Akinsanya (Sacramento, Calif.), Eder Arreola (Chino Hills, Calif.), Scott Caldwell (Braintree, Mass.), Amobi Okugo (Sacramento, Calif.), Ben Spears (Stow, Ohio), Korey Veeder (St. Petersburg, Fla.)

FORWARDS (3): Dersu Abolfathi (Irvine, Calif.), Ryan Finley (Lumberton, N.J.), Hasani Sinclair (Coral Springs, Fla.)

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