Uruguay and the USA are both atop of Group A with four points apiece with Uruguay having a plus five goal differential while the U.S. has a plus one. Poland sits in third place with two draws and two points with a zero goal differential while New Zealand is in fourth place with two losses and a minus six goal differential. The top two teams from each group advance to the quarterfinals to be played Nov. 20-21. The winner of Group A will remain in Auckland and play the runner-up in Group B and the runner-up in Group A will travel to Napier and play the winner of Group B. Spain and Ghana lead Group B both with a 1-0-1 record going into the final group match on Nov. 16 in Napier, New Zealand.
Poland used their physical strength and enormous size from the opening whistle but a brave U.S. team would not give in and scored a just equalizer in the 89th minute after numerous forays at the Polish goal in the second half, extending the U.S. unbeaten streak to 22-matches and a 18-0-4 record.
The U.S. struggled to find its rhythm in the first half while Poland put the U.S. under pressure threatening to score numerous times off long throw-ins and corner kicks.
U.S. midfielder Kyle Beckerman (Crofton, MD) had the best chance for the U.S. in the first half when he got behind the Polish defense only to get a weak right footed shot off that was saved by the Poland keeper'.
Shortly before half, U.S. midfielder Bobby Convey (Philadelphia) brought down Polish striker Piotr Brozek inside the box and the Paraguayan referee awarded a penalty kick. Lukasz Madjed converted the penalty kick, his second goal of the tournament, giving the Poles a 1-0 lead going into halftime.
The U.S. side refused to give into the bigger and more physical Polish squad and found their rhythm in the second half, creating some good scoring chances.
DaMarcus Beasley (Ft. Wayne, IN) almost knocked in the tying goal in the 55th minute when Landon Donovan (Redlands, CA) threaded a ball into space behind the Polish defense to Beasley that left him one-on-one with the keeper'. A last second slide tackle by Polish defender Lukasz Nawotczynski blocked Beasley's shot on goal.
With only minutes remaining Landon Donovan chased down an over-hit cross from the right side, turning and taking on his Polish defender. Donovan carried the ball with the top of his foot baiting the defender and then exploded by him into the box where he was taken down in the 89th minute. The referee was left with no choice put to blow the whistle, point to the spot and award the U.S. a penalty kick. Donovan made no mistake in finishing the penalty giving the U.S. a much deserved draw against a very strong Polish side.
Donovan, who earned his first U-23 cap earlier this year against Brazil, said of his penalty "I received the ball on the left side and just wanted to get by the defender and hit a cross. When I got by him he took me down and fouled me. I have taken penalty kicks all week in training and every time I have gone to the right but when I looked at how the keeper was standing I thought he would go right, so I decided to shoot for the left corner. The keeper' dove the right way but I wasn't going to miss."
The U.S. team will hold a training session tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. at Bill McKinley Stadium and will have pool a session following training.
1999 U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||U.S. Men's Under-17 National Team vs. Poland U-17 National Team|
|Competition:||V FIFA U-17 World Championship|
|Venue:||North Harbour Stadium (Auckland, New Zealand)|
|Date:||Nov. 13, 1999|
|Weather:||55 degrees - Cloudy|
POL - Lukasz Madej, (penalty kick), 43,
USA - Landon Donovan, (penalty kick), 89.
USA - 1- Delvin Countess, 4-Nelson Akwari, 17-Seth Trembly, 5-Alexander Yi, 3-DaMarcus Beasley, 8-Bryan Jackson, 15-Kyle Beckerman, 7-Kenneth Cutler (12-Raul Palomares, 81), 11-Bobby Convey (9-Adolfo Gregorio, 46), 16-Jordan Cila (13-Abe Thompson, 46), 10-Landon Donovan.
POL - 12-Pawel Kapsa, 2-Marcin Rogalski, 3-Adrian Napierala (15-Robert Sierant, 58), 4-Tomasz Wisio, 5-Wojciech Szymanek, 7-Lukasz Nawotczynski, 9-Lukasz Madej, 10-Lukasz Mierzejewski (11-Radoslaw Matusiak, 84), 13-Piotr Brozek, 17-Kamil Kuzera, 18-Pawel Brozek (8-Dariusz Zawadzki, 70).