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U.S. Soccer Wire: U.S. Under-17s to Close Out Play in FIFA World Championship Against Nigeria on Wednesday


U.S. FALLS TO FRANCE, JAPAN IN FIRST TWO MATCHES IN TOBAGO: The United States Under-17 Men lost to a talented French side, 5-3, on Sunday night at the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago in the 2001 FIFA U-17 World Championship. Combined with an opening 1-0 loss to Japan on Friday (Sept. 14), the U.S. drops to 0-2 in the tournament and cannot advance to the tournament quarterfinals.  The U.S. will conclude the tournament on Wednesday (Sept. 19) against Group B leaders Nigeria at 5 p.m. ET.  The U.S. effort against France was much improved from Friday's loss to Japan, but they ran into a French team  -  led by the strikeforce of Florent Sinama Pongolle and Anthony Le Tallec - operating on all cylinders.  Sinama Pongolle's hat trick was the first of the 2001 Under-17 World Championship, and his two goals in five minutes midway through the second half proved to be the difference. "I thought that we lost to a team that was better than us on this night," said U.S. Head Coach John Ellinger.  "We knew coming in that we were placed in the most difficult group and that we would have three games against three of the best teams in the world.  Now we just need to play a little better and finish the tournament on a high note on Wednesday." The U.S. was led in the match by Ed Johnson, who scored once and set up an own goal with some powerful dribbling and skill.  The U.S. led 2-1 after the 28th minute of the game before watching France score four consecutive goals to pace their victory.  The U.S. continues to wear black armbands in the tournament, honoring the victims of the tragic attacks on America on Sept. 11. 

FOLLOW U.S. U-17s LIVE ON WEDNESDAY VIA www.us-soccer.com MATCHTRACKER: Fans of U.S. Soccer and the U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team can continue to follow all the team's action from Trinidad & Tobago via www.us-soccer.com and the "Philips MatchTracker" system.  In addition to being the home for daily notes and digital images of the team, www.us-soccer.com is providing up-to-the-minute in-game coverage of all the U.S. action.  The USA closes out tournament play on Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET against Nigeria.

FINAL U-17 MATCH BROADCAST DELAYED ON GALAVISION: The U.S. Under-17 Men's National will conclude play at the 2001 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Trinidad & Tobago on Wednesday againt Nigeria in a match which fans can watch tape-delayed on the Spanish-language network Galavision at 7 p.m. ET & PT. 

U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE

UPDATE ON EUROPEAN-BASED U.S. PLAYERS: Many Americans took the fields of Europe this weekend, garnering a mixed bag of results. Goalkeeper Brad Friedel continued his solid form in his fifth straight league start for Blackburn as Rovers drew 1-1 away to Ipswich. Both goalkeeper Kasey Keller and forward Joe-Max Moore remained on the substitutes bench, Tottenham suffering a controversial 3-2 home defeat to Chelsea while Everton were soundly beaten 3-1 by Liverpool. Forward Jovan Kirovski went the distance as one of three forwards in Crystal Palace's 4-2 away defeat to Portsmouth, while his teammate and fellow U.S. international Gregg Berhalter was sidelined due to injury.  In Germany, midfielder Tony Sanneh kept his place in the first team as FC Nurnberg continues to struggle in its first season back in Germany's top flight, losing their fifth match of the season 2-0 to Kaiserslauten.  Meantime, forward Conor Gibbs earned his first start in the Bundesliga in FC St. Pauli's 3-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen. Defender Steve Cherundolo remains a fixture in the Hannover 96 defense, his side's 5-0 thumping of Karlsruher leaving them in third place in the Second Bundesliga.  In France, defender David Regis played 83 minutes as FC Metz earned their first road victory of the season by defeating Guingamp 2-0, and forward Earnie Stewart helped NAC Breda to an impressive 2-0 upset of defending champions PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Erevidisie. Midfielder Claudio Reyna remains sidelined for Glasgow Rangers while U.S. teammate John O'Brien recovered sufficiently enough to appear on the reserve's bench for Ajax for the first time this season in their 2-0 win against AZ Alkmaar at the Amsterdam Arena.

U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM UPDATE

U.S. WOMEN'S CUP CANCELED AFTER ATTACKS ON U.S.: The final three matches of the 2001 Nike U.S. Women's Cup, scheduled for Sept. 11 and Sept. 16 in Columbus, Ohio and Kansas City, Mo., respectively, were all canceled in deference to the tragic events in the United States of Sept. 11.  In addition to what would have been the first meeting on U.S. soil between the USA and China since the 1999 Women's World Cup, the cancellations included a doubleheader featuring USA-Japan and China-Germany at Columbus Crew Stadium.  For ticket refund information in Columbus call 614-447-CREW.  For more information in Kansas City, call the Wizards office at 816-920-9300. 

BRANDI CHASTAIN OUT 8-12 WEEKS WITH STRESS FRACTURES: U.S. Women's National Team defender Brandi Chastain has been diagnosed with two stress fractures in her right foot. The U.S. 1999 Women's World Cup hero who also led her Bay Area CyberRays to the inaugural WUSA championship, was diagnosed with a "Liz Franc" injury, a ligament injury to the mid-foot which is usually associated with a stress fracture. Chastain suffered fractures to the third metatarsal and navicular bones, the former most likely stemming from the July 15 match versus the Boston Breakers when a Breakers player stepped on her foot.  The fracture of the navicular bone may have developed during the USA's training camp for the 2001 NIKE U.S. Women's Cup.  Chastain faces 8-12 weeks of rest and recovery, along with non-impact fitness and bone stimulation therapy.  Chastain was fitted with a walking boot and will be on crutches for an undetermined period of time.

2001 LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP UPDATE

FINAL VENUE FOR 2001 OPEN CUP CHAMPIONSHIP TO BE ANNOUNCED TOMORROW: U.S. Soccer will announce tomorrow the final venue for the 2001 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Championship, which will feature the MLS' Los Angeles Galaxy taking on the New England Revolution on October 27. The oldest soccer cup competition in the United States will crown a new champion in 2001 as the Galaxy and Revs are making their first ever appearance in the Open Cup final. The 2001 Championship finale will be televised live by Fox Sports World and Fox Sports World Español.

ETCHEVERRY, MORENO & RAZOV ALL EARN ONE-GAME SUSPENSIONS: The U.S. Open Cup Discipline Panel decided last week that D.C. United's Marco Etcheverry, Jamie Moreno and Chicago Fire's Ante Razov will receive no additional suspensions beyond their respective red-card ejections during the semifinal round of the 2001 Lamar Hunt Open Cup on August 22. With both D.C. United and the Chicago Fire eliminated from the 2001 Open Cup, the one-game suspensions will carry over to the 2002 tournament. The U.S. Open Cup Discipline Panel also decided that both Etcheverry and Razov's ejections were "Referee Assaults" under the U.S. Soccer Federation's Policy 202(1)(H)-2: Professional Leagues Policy Against Referee Assault. Therefore, the assaults have been referred to Major League Soccer's Disciplinary Committee. 

AROUND THE U.S. SOCCER NATION

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER PLAYOFFS START THURSDAY: After canceling the final 10 regular season games on their schedule in light of last week's tragic events, Major League Soccer is set to return to action Thursday night (Sept. 20) with the opening of the 2001 playoffs, as bitter rivals Dallas and Chicago do battle at Soldier Field.  In addition to the Burn-Fire match-up of arch-rivals, there are a number of storybook pairings in the first round of the playoffs with Los Angeles and New York also squaring off.  Upstarts throughout the 2001 season, a season of rebirth will continue for either the Columbus Crew or San Jose Earthquakes, who begin their series on Saturday night.  Finally, the 2001 regular season champion Miami Fusion battle last year's MLS Cup champs, the Kansas City Wizards. 

USL RESCHEDULES A-LEAGUE PLAYOFFS: United Soccer Leagues announced the rescheduling of  the entire of 2001 A-League playoffs in the wake of the tragedy of last week's terrorist attack. The post-season had been set to begin on Sept. 13, but will now start this Wednesday (Sept. 19) with the San Diego Flash F.C. hosting the Atlanta Silverbacks in the first leg of their two-game series. The rest of the first round playoff series begin the following day as Charleston Battery travels to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Charlotte Eagles meet the Portland Timbers and Milwaukee Rampage face the Nashville Metros for Thursday night match-ups.  Those three series are set to conclude on Saturday night in Charleston, Charlotte and Milwaukee, respectively.  The Flash travel to Atlanta for the second leg on Sunday. The rest of the post-season has also been pushed back a week with the A-League championship now set for the weekend of Oct. 12.   For more information, check the USL website at www.uslsoccer.com.

WISL RESUMES 2001 CAMPAIGN THIS WEEKEND: After postponing several matches due to the terrorist attack last week, the World Indoor Soccer League will resume their 2001 campaign this weekend with three key games.  The Utah Freezz (3-1) will travel to San Diego to face the first place Sockers (4-1) on Friday (Sept. 21) at 7:05 p.m. PT, while the next day the Dallas Sidekicks (3-1) will host the winless Sacramento Knights (0-4) at 7:05 p.m. CT. Also on Saturday, the Freezz return home to face the visiting St. Louis Steamers (1-4) at 7:05 p.m. MT. For information check the World Indoor Soccer League website at www.wisl.net.

U.S. SOCCER SPOTLIGHT

PEAK PERFORMANCE: Not that they don't have enough world class players, but 16-year-old French forward Florent Sinama Pongolle could be a name to remember.  His dynamic hat trick against the United States helped key France's 5-3 defeat of the U.S. on Sunday in the 2001 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Trinidad & Tobago.  In addition to scoring once with his head and twice with his feet, Sinama Pongolle wreaked havoc along the U.S. backline, alternating between kinetic, darting runs, and the measured patience of a player twice his age. 

MARQUEE MATCH-UP: The MLS playoffs get underway with several Marquee Match-ups, including the always anticipated Chicago Fire-Dallas Burn showdown which starts on Thursday at Soldier Field and will continue with Game 2 on Sunday live on ESPN2 at 1:30 p.m. ET from the Cotton Bowl.  The teams have only met once in the post-season, with Dallas knocking out the defending champs 2-games-to-1 in 1999.

SOCCER SHOCKER: The defending Serie A champions, Roma, have started the season in a tailspin, failing to take full points in any of their first four matches.  After earning two unimpressive draws to open the Italian campaign and suffering an opening day loss to Real Madrid in Champions League play, the Rome giants fell to newly promoted Piacenza 2-0 at the Estadio Leonardo Garilli.  The defeat leaves Roma in the 15th spot in Italy's top flight and Head Coach Fabio Capello searching for answers.

QUOTABLE:
"This will be on our minds, but sport is a luxury in life.  This is much bigger than sport and us qualifying for the World Cup.  The fact that we are a U.S. National Team, we're going to step on the field with even more pride in representing our country."
- U.S. Men's National Team head coach Bruce Arena in USA Today commenting on last week's tragic attacks on the United States.

 

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