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U-17 MNT Training Notes from Argentina - Sept. 14, 2004

U.S. U-17 Men's National Team
Notes from Argentina
Sept. 14, 2004

After a tough 2-1 loss to Argentina in their opening match of the Campeonato Sudamericano de Futbol Sub-16 Tournament in Paraguay, the U.S. Under-17 ’88 Men’s National Team will look to get their first points when they take on Uruguay tomorrow night at Estadio Villa Alegre in Encarnacion. Kickoff for the match is at 6:15 p.m. ET. The second group match between Argentina and Ecuador will begin directly after the U.S.-Uruguay match at 8:15 p.m. ET.

MAKING THE MOST OF LIFE: Breaking his nose is no big deal for Preston Zimmerman (see note below). He’s definitely been in worse situations. Two years ago, Zimmerman was diagnosed with ectopic atrial tachycardia, a condition where an electrical impulse raises a person’s resting heart rate to dangerously high levels. The condition was so severe that doctors said if it wasn’t caught, he would most likely have died a month or two later. After having a risky surgery to correct the condition, Zimmerman has pushed himself on and off the soccer field and joined U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program in April, quickly making his way to the starting line-up and taking the role as the team’s main scoring threat. To read Zimmerman’s entire journey, click here

The U.S. currently sits at the bottom of Group B with zero points, tied with Ecuador, who also lost in their opening match, 2-1, to Uruguay, putting Argentina and Uruguay tied atop the group tied with three points. In Group C’s opening matches last night, Brazil classified itself as one of the dominant countries in the 12-team tournament with a 6-2 pounding of Venezuela, while Colombia snuck past Mexico, the only other non-CONMEBOL team, 1-0 with a goal in the 35th minute. Group A will hold its second day of matches today, with group leader Paraguay taking on Chile and Bolivia meeting Peru.

Group B Standings
Team P W L D GF:GA GD Pts.

Argentina 1 1 0 0 2:1 +1 3
Uruguay 1 1 0 0 2:1 +1 3
USA 1 0 1 0 1:2 -1 0
Ecuador 1 0 1 0 1:2 -1 0

Group B Results/Schedule
Sunday, Sept. 12
Uruguay 2, Ecuador 1
Argentina 2, USA 1
Wednesday, Sept. 15

USA vs. Uruguay
Argentina vs. Ecuador
Saturday, Sept. 18

USA vs. Ecuador
Uruguay vs. Argentina

YELLOW CARDS: Nikolas Besagno and Preston Zimmerman are both carrying yellow cards as they were booked in the USA’s first match against Argentina. The USA’s next opponent, Uruguay, has only one player with a yellow, midfielder Marcel Roman, who was shown a caution against Ecuador. If Besagno and Zimmerman, both physical players, receive another yellow in either of the next two group matches against Uruguay and Ecuador, they will be forced to sit the following match. If they do not and the team advances to the quarterfinals, the cautions will be cleared as they do not carry on to the second round.

MAN IN THE PLASTIC MASK / JASON VS. JACOB: The U.S. escaped their first match without any major injuries, with the only incident of note occurring in the 71st minute when Preston Zimmerman suffered a broken nose after getting an unintentional elbow to the face during a head ball challenge at midfield. The starting forward came out of the match for a bit before returning to the pitch and finishing the match. Zimmerman is cleared to play for the Uruguay match, but trainer Jacob Joachim had some fun at his expense this morning in practice. Joachim told him he would need to wear a plastic protective face mask during practice and the game, forcing Zimmerman to put the mask on in the hotel before the team left for practice and during warm-ups on the field. Looking a bit odd, Zimmerman complained that he couldn’t see well out of the mask, but was told to keep it on so he could get used to how it felt. After everyone had a good laugh and some pictures were taking during warm-up, Joachim couldn’t keep the secret much longer, telling him he wouldn’t be forced to wear the mask. Knowing he’d been had, Zimmerman took it in stride, probably just relieved he actually wouldn’t have to look like Jason Voorhees against Uruguay.

PRACTICES: The U.S. has held two morning practices the past two days as they get set to take on Uruguay in their second match. On Monday, practice was light as the starters rested their legs and played a game of team horseshoes, while the reserves played 5v5 in a shortened field. This morning, while goalkeeeping coach Peter Mellor worked with the goalkeepers, the field players worked played a game of posession for the first 45 minutes. For the last part of the training session, the team worked on finishing services in from the flanks.

The players may be thousands of miles away from the Edison Academic Center, their Bradenton high school while in Residency, it doesn’t mean they aren’t keeping up on their studies. Every day after lunch the players have been retreating to the team’s dining room for a two-hour study hall session where they catch up on homework and study for upcoming exams they will have when they return. The hotel seems like a high school at times as the players are constantly carrying their text books with them or studying in their rooms at night.
USA’s CHEERING SECTION – TWO STRONG: While small, the Under-17s had a cheering section for their first game against Argentina as two Americans that happen to be living in Encarnacion for a time being came to watch the match. Dr. Scott Moser and his wife Sharon are currently in Encarnacion for a two-week cultural exchange between hospitals. Moser is an associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Wichita, Kan., and when they found out about the U.S. Under-17s playing in Encarnation from a local sportscaster they jumped at the chance to cheer them on. The Mosers were excellent fans, cheering the U.S. on against Argentina as they came out of the locker room (to which a number of players gave perplexed looks as to who was cheering for them) and during the match. After the game, the starting 11 posed with the Mosers before heading back into the locker room.

This afternoon some of the players jumped on a bus and headed about three miles across the border to Posada, Argentina, to do some shopping and check out the local sights. While the players enjoyed the more active downtown of Posada compared to Encarnacion, they didn’t enjoy the trip there or back. Having to go through two border checks, Paraguay’s then Argentina’s, each trip took about 75 minutes as the players had to get off the bus, hand their passports over and then wait and wait and wait some more as they cleared them to move on.
WEATHER WARMING UP: After having constant rain and cold for the first few days in Paraguay, the skies have opened up a bit bringing a bit of sunshine and warmth. The players were a bit surprised by the warm weather this morning, dressing in preparation for the cold that has been the usual, but soon stripped away the long pants and training tops for shorts and short-sleeves.

URUGUAY COMEBACK: Uruguay is coming off a come-from-behind victory over Ecuador in their opening match, which was before the U.S. and Argentina squared off in Encarnacion. Ecuador scored on a lucky strike in the 14th minute when a overhead kick from the left side of the penalty area by Jhonatan Stalin took an high bounce and Uruguay ´keeper Yonatan Irrazabal misjudged the flight allowing it to go over his head an into the net. Uruguay was able to bounce back, but not until the final 12 minutes as they got goals from Gerardo Vander Putten in the 78th minute and Martin Diaz in the 80th.


U.S. U-17 ’88 MNT vs. Argentina
Encarnacion, Paraguay
Sept. 12, 2004

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

ARG – Juan Antonio 12th minute.
ARG – Sergio Aguero (Claudio Acosta) 69.
USA - Quavas Kirk (Nik Besagno) 81.

USA: 1-Bryant Rueckner; 3-Joel Smith, 4-Eric Lichaj, 5-Richard Edgar (14-Drew Yates, 46 ; 15-Eddie Ababio, 89), 7-Ofori Sarkodie; 13-Blake Wagner (20-Matt Armstrong, 71), 10-Carlos Borja, 16-Nik Besagno, 11-Ryan Soroka, 6-Quavas Kirk, 9-Preston Zimmerman
Subs not used: 2-Patrick Richards, 8-Michael Stephens, 12-Michael Dal Pra, 17-Jeremy Hall, 18-Brian Perk, 19-Amaechi Igwe.

ARG: 1-Emilio Molina; 2-Juan Forlin, 3-Juan Caracoche, 5-Javier Liendo, 6-Matias Palauecino; 4-Jose San Ramon, 15-Diego Gonzalez (8-Nicolas Dul, 72), 17-Matias Zarate; 11-Juan Antonio (7-Claudio Acosta, 62), 9-Sergio Aguero, 20-Mario Formica (10-Diego Buonanote, 67).


: GOALKEEPERS (2): 18-Brian Perk (Santa Margarita, Calif.), 1-Bryant Rueckner (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.); DEFENDERS (7): 10-Carlos Borja (Anaheim, Calif.), 5-Richard Edgar (Mechanicsville, Md.), 17-Jeremy Hall (Tampa, Fla.), 4-Eric Lichaj (Downer’s Grove, Ill.), 2-Patrick Rickards (Sacramento, Calif.), 7-Ofori Sarkodie (Huber Heights, Ohio), 3-Joel Smith (Irvine, Calif.); MIDFIELDERS (7): 20-Matt Armstrong (Phoenix, Ariz.), 16-Nikolas Besagno (Maple Valley, Wash.), 12-Michael Dal Pra (Bronxville, N.Y.), 19-Amaechi Igwe (Belmont, Calif.), 11-Ryan Soroka (Langhorne, Pa.), 13-Blake Wagner (Tampa, Fla.), 14-Drew Yates (Pasadena, Md.); FORWARDS(4): 15-Eddie Ababio (Tampa, Fla.), 6-Quavas Kirk (Aurora, Ill.), 8-Michael Stephens (Woodridge, Ill.), 9-Preston Zimmerman (Pasco, Wash.).
: 12-Yonatan Irrazabal, 3-Martin Diaz, 8-Hugo Arismendi, 20-Carlos Flores, 15-Marcel Roman, 11-Gustavo Aprile, 10-Gerardo Vonder Putten, 9-Elias Figueroa, 7-Marcelo Gonzalez, 5-Alejandro Gonzalez, 4-Gary Kagelmacher. 1-Yai Fontes, 2-Yony Peralta, 6-Anthony Paz, 8-Damian Suarez, 13-David Acosta, 14-Alvaro Arias, 16-Vicente Olivera da Rosa, 17-Arias Magnone, 19-Enzo Scorza.

Quavas Kirk´s goal against Argentina increased his team lead with 10 goals since joining Residency. It was Kirk´s fourth international strike with the U-17s.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I´m going to decorate this thing. Maybe put some stars and stripes on it.” --U.S. forward Preston Zimmerman talking about the face mask he thought he was going to have to wear during the games to protect his broken nose