YNT Nov 30, 2011
With the 2011 Nike International Friendlies about to kick off in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., the U.S. opens play against a rather familiar opponent in France.
The U.S. U-17s are playing this tournament coming off a three-week trip to Spain and France in October, during which they had seven games, including one against France.
“We played against France in France one month ago, and it was one of the top teams I ever played against since I’ve been here in this program during the four years," said U.S U-17 head coach Wilmer Cabrera. "It’s a magnificent team, a perfect team to play. [They are] excellent tactically, technically, and physically. That’s why it’s great to start with them. The players know them already, they know they’re excellent, and it’s good to play the favorites right away. It’s a good experience.”
Though France won 3-0, the scoreline didn't quite reflect the USA's performance. France took an early lead and then doubled it in the first half, but the U.S. fought hard to press forward and keep France contained defensively. The game ended nearly equal on shots and shots on goal, with France recording one more of each--the U.S. just couldn't convert its chances.
The players on each team will be many of the same ones who played against each other last month. The U.S. has 17 players returning to the roster, while France is bringing back 16, including goalscorers Michael Araai, Jules Ntcham and Robin Maulun. France was the last team to reach Florida, arriving late last night after the team's first flight was cancelled.
Brazil and Turkey's U-17 teams face off today at 2 p.m. Catch the U.S.'s game live on FOX Soccer at 5 p.m. ET and on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker!