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U-20 MNT Scrimmages Guatemala, Prepares for Wednesday's Rematch in Boca Raton, Fla.

U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team
Notes from Sunrise, Fla.
Nov. 14, 2006

ALL BUT JOZY READY FOR “CHAPINES”: All 19 players called in by U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Thomas Rongen have arrived into camp in Sunrise, Fla., and 18 will be available to face Guatemala on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla. Kickoff for the match is at 7 p.m. ET. N.Y. Red Bulls forward Josmer Altidore, who grew up in Boca Raton, is the only player that will not be able to play in Wednesday’s match due to a broken thumb he suffered during the first match of the Eastern Conference Semifinal Series against D.C. United. Jozy suffered the injury when he put his hand down on the Meadowlands turf to brace himself after getting knocked to the ground.

RONGEN ON THE ROSTER: Who’s this kid from Holland? Why are there only two kids from college in camp? And what’s up with the U-17s being brought in for a U-20 camp? The unique U-20 roster for the game against Guatemala definitely stirred up some questions, so we got a hold of head coach Thomas Rongen last week to explain his decisions to bring in certain players in this exclusive podcast (listen | subscribe).

U.S. U-20 MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Zac MacMath (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Nicholas Skverer (NEC Nijmegen, Netherlands)
DEFENDERS (7): Kris Banghart (N.C. Wesleyan College), Kyle Davies (Pleasanton, Calif.), Quavas Kirk (L.A. Galaxy), Nathan Sturgis (L.A. Galaxy), Neven Subotic (Mainz 05, Germany), Anthony Wallace (USF), Tim Ward (Columbus Crew)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Freddy Adu (D.C. United), Bryan Arguez (Miami, Fla.), Miguel Gonzalez (New England Revolution), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Nico Mosquera (University of Central Florida), Danny Szetela (Columbus Crew)
FORWARDS (4): Josmer Altidore (N.Y. Red Bulls), David Arvizu (N.Y. Red Bulls), Ellis McLoughlin (Seattle, Wash.), Johann Smith (Bolton FC, England)

GUATEMALA SCRIMMAGE: If the closed-door scrimmage between the U.S. and Guatemala on Monday afternoon is any indication of what the game on Wednesday will be like, be prepared for a tight, high-intensity, free-flowing match, with a dash of nastiness. The U.S. looked to be the better team in the first 10 minutes of the scrimmage and in the end came away with a 2-1 victory, but during the first half it was apparent that Guatemala wasn’t going to be pushed around without a fight (photos). The “chapines” were organized, yet attack-minded as their ferocity surprised the U.S. at times in the first half, allowing the Central American side to test U.S. ‘keeper Nicholas Skverer, who was up to the task on both on-goal attempts. Although a bit taken aback by Guatemala’s intensity, the U.S. did well to create their own chances and finally tallied when Johann Smith broke through the backline and beat the onrushing ‘keeper with a nifty chip before finishing into the open net (video highlights). Down a goal in the second half, Guatemala’s play turned more nasty than passionate and a red card for a two-footed tackle on Tim Ward reduced them to 10 men for the final 20 minutes. Defender Kris Banghart scored the eventual game-winner, burying a pass from Bryan Arguez from eight-yards out after Arguez ditched his defender on the edge of the left side of the penalty area with some impressive step-over moves. Guatemala scored late off a corner kick, but the result was never in doubt for the U.S.

JOHANN SMITH IN THE SIX-YARD BOX: Just five minutes of your time. Well…OK, maybe six. In Center Circle’s new podcast feature called the “Six-Yard Box”, we’re tracking down all your favorite full and youth national team players across the globe and peppering them with as many questions as we can in a six-minute time limit for a quick, entertaining and informative chat to keep you abreast of what the top U.S. soccer players are up to on – and off – the field. Next up is Johann Smith and the Bolton forward talks to us about his fright of flying, whether he can beat his dear old dad in a sprint and what it was like playing against Manchester United for his first EPL appearance (listen).

SUBOTIC ON MAINZ: Defender Neven Subotic signed with Mainz 05 this past summer and one word can sum up how he feels after his four months in Germany: Happy. Going back to Germany is a bit of a homecoming for the former U-17 Residency member since he lived in Germany for eight years. And, even though his club is struggling, he finds that living and playing in Mainz is the best thing for him right now. In this exclusive podcast, Subotic sat down with to talk about why playing in the Bundesliga is the perfect fit, what it’s like going up against fellow American Conor Casey when he practices with the first team, and why he is committed to playing for the U.S. national teams (listen).

NOT A CHING FAN: After Taylor Twellman scored the opening goal in overtime of the MLS Cup on Sunday, all U.S. U-20 and New England Revolution midfielder Miguel Gonzalez was thinking about was celebrating. Although he’s yet to play with his teammates on the field that day and was watching from the stands, Gonzalez was ready to take part in the championship party. That is until Ching struck back. “I couldn’t believe that happened,” said Gonzalez. “I was racing down from my seat to get to the field and then all I hear is the Houston fans cheering. I was sure we were going to win this year. It was definitely a touch loss to swallow, especially for the guys on the field.”

BANGHART HOPING FOR A WIN: Kris Banghart’s arrival into Florida was delayed, but not due to annoying circumstances such as a delayed flight. The defender was hoping to lead N.C. Wesleyan to a victory on Sunday night in their second round match of the 2006 NCAA Division III Tournament against Virginia Wesleyan, but the match was rained out and rescheduled for Monday evening. Despite anchoring the Bishops’ backline to a 16-1-2 season, Banghart’s head coach told him to board the plane to Sunrise to be with the U-20 Men’s National Team. “He told me I couldn’t pass up on this opportunity,” said Banghart. “I’m just hoping we win and then I’ll get to play in the next game of the tournament.” Without Banghart, the No. 6-ranked Bishops earned a 1-0 overtime win at Virginia Wesleyan. Banghart, meanwhile, plans to rejoin his college teammates for the sectional competition this Friday at No.2-ranked York College (Pa.).

SEE YOU SOON…MAYBE: The match against Guatemala on Wednesday might mean more than just a win or loss in the record book for the U.S., as it will also be a chance for the coaching staff to get a good look at a possible opponent during the 2007 CONCACAF Final Round Qualifying Tournament in January. The U.S. and Guatemala are two of the eight qualified teams that will be split into two groups of four with Group A taking place from Jan. 17-21 in Panama City, Panama, and Group B from Feb. 21-25 in Culiacan, Sinaloa, which is on the west coast of Mexico. The draw to determine which teams will be in Group A and Group B will be held on Nov. 24 during the CONCACAF Executive Committee Meeting in Los Angeles. The other four qualified teams are Costa Rica, Haiti, St. Kitts & Nevis and the winner of a home-and-away series between Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago. The top two squads from each group will qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada, which will take place from June 30-July 22 across six cities – Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Burnaby and Victoria.


• The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team has not played Guatemala since March 18, 2001, in Tunapuna, Trinidad. The meeting was the USA’s first match in Group B of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship and the U.S. dominated, winning 5-0 behind goals from Bobby Convey (2), DaMarcus Beasley, Conor Casey and Brad Davis.
• Fourteen of the 19 players in camp were – or currently are – a member of U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program. Kyle Davies, Zac MacMath and Ellis McLoughlin are the three players currently still in Residency.
• Midfielder Dax McCarty leads the U.S. Under-20s in goals and assists in 2006. The FC Dallas rookie has tallied three goals and three assists in international matches.
• Goalkeeper Nicholas Skverer was the back-up ‘keeper for the Netherlands Under-17 Men’s National Team that defeated the U.S. at the 2005 U-17 FIFA World Championships in Peru. Skverer never saw a minute of time during the Netherlands third-place finish. He was born in the U.S., but has lived the majority of his life in the Netherlands.
• The U.S. has a wealth of experience on the roster as four players were on the initial announced roster for the 2005 FIFA (U-20) World Youth Championship in Holland – Freddy Adu, Nathan Sturgis, Danny Szetela and Tim Ward. Ward was sent home due to injury and was not on the official U.S. roster when the tournament began.