U-20 MNT Fall in Milk Cup Final to Paraguay
COLERAINE, Northern Ireland (Aug. 4, 2006) - The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team was unable to retain their crown this evening when they fell, 2-0, to Paraguay in the final of the 2006 Milk Cup at Coleraine Showgrounds in Coleraine, Northern Ireland.
The match was an even affair with chances at a minimum for either side, but Paraguay took the upper hand when they scored with two minutes before halftime. The U.S. had most of the possession up to that point, but struggled to make the final pass to test the Paraguay goalkeeper. The U.S. appeared it would find the equalizer as they pushed forward in the second half, but a second Paraguay goal at the hour mark put the game virtually out of reach for the Americans.
The U.S. was attempting to win back-to-back Milk Cup titles, but instead Paraguay will take home their third title in five years. Paraguay is the only team to win back-to-back titles, doing so in 2002 and 2003.
Fans can watch a replay of the final, which was broadcast live online at bbc.co.uk.
Also, for a behind-the-scenes look at the U-20s while in Northern Ireland for the 2006 Milk Cup, check out defender Jules Valentin's journal in Center Circle.
Paraguay had the first good look on target in the 27th minute when Jorge Gonzalez stole the ball from Tony Beltran and cut inside before unleashing a blast on frame that U.S. goalkeeper Chris Seitz was able to handle relatively easily.
Forward Johan Smith came inches from putting the U.S. in the lead in the 33rd minute. Captain Dax McCarty slipped the ball through for Smith on the right side and he hit a low strike towards the left corner, but the ‘keeper just got his fingertips to push it wide of the post.
Paraguay went ahead just before halftime when captain Nery Bareiro buried a pass from 10 yards out. The ball was sent in and headed toward goal, but Seitz came up with a fantastic acrobatic save to keep it out of the upper left corner. As Seitz struggled to get back in position, a Paraguay player raced down the loose ball near the corner and quickly served it back into the mixer in front of the net. Surrounded by U.S. defenders, forward Pablo Valazques was able chest it down and slip it to his left for Barrero who hit it first time past Seitz.
The U.S. pushed forward in hopes of getting an early equalizer to start the second half and seven minutes in Jonathan Villanueva tested the ‘keeper from close range. After collecting a ball off a throw-in from the left sideline, Villanueva dribbled near the endline and unleashed a rocket from the tough angle, but the ‘keeper did well to block it out for a corner.
McCarty forced the Paraguay ‘keeper into another impressive save off a free kick in the 60th minute. From 30 yards out, the FC Dallas midfielder curled the ball over the wall, dipping it toward the upper left corner, but the ‘keeper fully stretched out to pull it safely into his arms.
Paraguay was on the attack immediately after McCarty’s chance. The ball as knocked up to Valazques, who provided a touch forward on the left side to Edgar Santander. It appeared Ofori Sarkodie was going to step in front to cut off the pass, but it slipped past him allowing Santander in on goal. The Paraguay forward hit a world-class finish, burying into the lower right corner.
In injury time, the U.S. almost cut the lead in half, but once again the Paraguay ‘keeper came up with a fantastic save. The chance was strung together by three substitutes as Sal Zizzo pushed the ball up the left flank to Preston Zimmerman and he crossed it into the area for Josmer Altidore. From six yards out, Altidore headed it on frame, but the Paraguay ‘keeper was able to parry it over the crossbar.
This was the fourth time the U.S. Under-20s have been together this year, but the first tournament they’ve competed in. Rongen will name a roster in the coming weeks for the USA’s next event, the Busan International Tournament in Busan, South Korea, which will take place from Aug. 29-Sept. 2.
U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Game Report
Participants: USA vs. Paraguay
Competition: 2006 Milk Cup
Location: Coleraine Showgrounds; Coleraine, Northern Ireland
Date: Aug. 4, 2006
Weather: Cool, 60 degrees
1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
PAR 1 1 2
PAR – Nery Bariero (Pablo Valazques) 43rd minute
PAR – Edgar Santander (Pablo Valazques) 60.
USA: 1-Chris Seitz; 2-Tony Beltran, 6-Ofori Sarkodie (16-Chance Myers, 80), 4-Julian Valentin, 3-Amaechi Igwe (13-Blake Wagner, 70); 8-Rodrigo Lopez, 15-Brad Ring (17-Preston Zimmerman, 61), 10-Dax McCarty, 5-Jonathan Villanueva (12-Josmer Altidore, 61), 7-Robbie Rogers (11-Sal Zizzo, 78); 9-Johann Smith
Subs not used: 14-Carlos Borja, 24-Mike Gustavson
Head Coach: Thomas Rongen
PAR: 12-Juan Romero; 4-Nery Bareiro (8-Richard Salinas, 87), 13-Jorge Gonzales, 7-Ever Rodas, 2-Carlos Servin; 16-Nestor Camacho, 3-Gustavo Noguera, 15-Cristian Sosa; 18-Edgar Santander (5-Pablo Aguilar, 81), 17-Gustavo Mencia, 9-Pablo Velasquez (6-Adalberto Roman, 62)
Shots 9 12
Shots on goal 3 6
Saves 4 3
Fouls 8 9
Corner Kicks 5 5
Offside 0 3
PAR - Jorge Gonzales (caution) 12th minute
PAR - Nestor Camacho (caution) 58.
2006 Milk Cup
RESULTS / STANDINGS
Team GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
PAR 2 2 0 0 6 3 +3 6
USA 2 1 0 1 5 2 +3 4
NIR 2 1 1 0 3 3 0 3
DEN 2 0 0 2 4 4 0 2
TUR 2 0 1 1 2 4 0 1
WAL 2 0 2 0 2 6 -4 0
Monday, July 31
USA 3, Wales 0
Denmark 2, Turkey 2
Paraguay 3, Northern Ireland 1
Wednesday, Aug. 2
USA 2, Denmark 2
Paraguay 3, Wales 2
Northern Ireland 2, Turkey 0
Friday, Aug. 4
5th Place Match – Turkey **, Wales
3rd Place Match – Northern Ireland **, Denmark
Final – USA 0, Paraguay 2