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Under-17 MNT Plays Argentina to a 2-2 Draw at Busan Tournament

BUSAN, South Korea (Monday, June 2, 2003) - The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team was able to net an equalizer in each half against Argentina and grab a 2-2 draw in their second match of the Busan International Youth Tournament on Monday evening at Busan Asiad Main Stadium. Corey Ashe and Guillermo Gonzalez scored for the U.S., which now has one point going into its final game of the tournament on Wednesday against Poland.

Striker Adrian Colzera scored both goals for Argentina, one on a well-struck volley in the 14th minute and the other on a header (64th), both of which gave them a one-goal lead for part of the match. But the U.S. was able to erase the lead twice, first when Ashe followed up a Eddie Gaven shot that ricocheted off the post in the 38th minute and second, when Gonzalez buried a penalty kick (72nd), which was awarded when Freddy Adu was taken down in the box.
With central defender Jonathan Spector out after fracturing his left clavicle during the team’s first game against Korea and two other regular starters unable to make the trip overseas, Ellinger tweaked the U.S. line-up, going with a 3-5-2. The backline featured Steve Curfman on the left, Julian Valentin in the middle and Brandon Owens on the right. Gaven, who usually plays up front, dropped to midfield along with Danny Szetela and Brain Grazier, as Corey Ashe and John DiRaimondo played on the wings and Gonzalez and Adu got the nod up top.

The game was entertaining as the offensive players for both squads had numerous chances, hitting the goalposts a total of five times. There was a total of 14 shots taken on goal between the two teams and plenty of action within the penalty area on both sides of the field.

“Argentina is a great technical team and played really well today, but after a while you could see our guys starting to gain confidence and we played a lot better,” U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Ellinger said. “I’m happy with the way we played today. Hopefully against Poland we can come out and match our intensity from today and try and get a victory.”

Colzera gave Argentina the early lead on a remarkable volley from 20-yards out. After a cross by midfielder Roque Formica slipped through the front of the U.S. goalmouth from left to right, DiRaimondo attempted to clear the ball from danger, but it only carried to the top of the penalty area. Colzera pounced on the ball, stretching his leg back and striking the ball out of air into the upper right side of the goal.

After the first goal, the U.S. began to keep possession and produce some quality attacks, finally getting on the board seven minutes before the half.  Adu started the attack, dribbling towards goal from about 40-yards out, getting past one defender before laying the ball off to Gaven, who had darted into the left side of the penalty area. Gaven one-timed the through ball with his left foot, striking the right post. Ashe ran on to the deflection and knocked the ball back to the right side of the goal, just past keeper Oscar Ustari, who managed to get a hand on the ball, but couldn’t stop it completely.

Three minutes later, the U.S. thought it was going to have a chance at taking the lead when Gaven was tripped up inside the penalty area after receiving a ball from Gonzalez, but the referee didn’t call a foul.
In the second half, it was Argentina who struck first again. Raul Cardozo guided the ball down the right wing to Javier Diaz, who found Colzera with a swinging cross at the far post. Colzera buried the cross with his head to give his team the lead once again.

The U.S. was able to equalize once more though when second-half substitute Jacob Peterson found Adu on the left flank. After collecting the ball, Adu made a move to barely get in the penalty area, where he was brought down from behind. Gonzalez slammed the penalty kick home for his first goal of the tournament.

The U.S. had a great opportunity to take the lead three minutes later when Gaven dribbled past three defenders in the box and ripped a point-blank shot from the left of the goal, but Ustari was able to come up with the save.

In the 83rd minute, it appeared Adu might have been taken down in the box after a nifty spin move to get free of one defender, but again the referee made no call.

Argentina also had its chances to take the lead, as Gaston Peirone hit the post in the 77th minute and then got stonewalled by goalkeeper Phil Marfuggi’s kick save on a close range shot.

The U.S. will face Poland at 5 p.m. local time on Wednesday, June 4 for its final match of the tournament. Poland and Korea tied 0-0 in the early game.

The Korean Football Association invited the U.S. to play in the tournament, which is in commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup. The KFA invited all three teams from Group D at the 2002 World Cup, which included Poland, Portugal and the U.S. Portugal was unable to participate, leaving Argentina to take their place as the fourth and final team.

The tournament is serving as preparation for the U.S. before it plays in the FIFA Under-17 World Championship in Finland this August 13-30. The Korea Republic and Argentina both qualified for Finland by winning their respective qualifying tournaments.

- U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team Game Report -

Participants:  U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team vs. Argentina
Competition: Busan International Youth Tournament
Location: Busan Asiad Main Stadium; Busan, Korea
Date: June 2, 2003
Weather: Warm; 65 degrees

Scoring Summary:
                                                1st     2nd     Final
United States                           1        1          2
Argentina                                  1        1          2

ARG – Adrian Colzera, 14th minute
USA – Corey Ashe, 38th
ARG – Adrian Colzera, 64th
USA – Guillermo Gonzalez (penalty kick), 72nd

USA – 1-Phil Marfuggi; 14-Julian Valentin, 5-Brandon Owens, 12-Steve Curfman; 4-Eddie Gaven, 8-John DiRaimondo (6-Jacob Peterson, 60), 15-Corey Ashe, 7-Brian Grazier, 17-Danny Szetela (19-Jay Denny, 80); 11-Freddy Adu, 10-Guillermo Gonzalez
Subs not used: 18-Stephen Sandbo, 19-Jay Denny, 6-Jacob Peterson, 16-Tim Ward, 20-Jose Gomez

ARG – 1- Oscar Ustari; 2-Ezequiel Garay, 3-Roque Formica, 21-Sergio Coronel (4-David Sanchez, 46), 7-Raul Cardozo, 8-Luis Villagra, 9-Adrian Colzera (6-Hector Steinert, 75), 11-Ariel Rodas (15-Damian Faurlin, 46), 14-Matias Cahais (13-Nicolas D’Alegre, 57), 16-Javier Diaz, 19-Gonzalo Luduena (18-Gaston Peirone, 46)

Statistical Summary:
                        USA      ARG
Shots                  6            8
Saves                 3            2
Corner Kick       3            3
Fouls                  13         22
Offside               2            6

Misconduct Summary:
ARG – David Sanchez    (caution)     71st minute

Tournament Standings, Schedule
Team            GP  W   L    T   GF GA Pts
Korea            2     1    0    1     3     0   4
Argentina      2     1    0    1     4     3   4
Poland          2     0    1    1     1     2   1
USA              2     0    1    1     2     5   1

May 31
Korea 3 USA 0
Argentina 2 Poland 1

June 2
Korea 0 Poland 0
USA 2 Argentina 2

June 4
USA vs. Poland  5 p.m. local
Korea vs. Argentina 7 p.m. local