U.S. Under-17 MNT Notes
August 16, 2003
GAME TWO TOMORROW
The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National will face CAF runner-up Sierra Leone tomorrow in its second match in Group D of the 2003 FIFA Under-17 World Championship. Kickoff is at 3 p.m. local time / 8 a.m. ET and will be broadcast live on Galavision. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
FIRST TIME TO THE BIG DANCE
Sierra Leone is competing in their first FIFA Under-17 World Championship after an amazing run through to the final of the African Junior Championship held in Swaziland in late-May to early-June. The upstarts are looking to continue the success in past tournaments by their nearby neighbors – Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana and Nigeria.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
After beating Burkina Faso in the round of 32 and then Tunisia in the round of 16, Sierra Leone still wasn’t a favorite going up against Guinea, Swaziland and Egypt in Group A of the final round of the African Junior Championship. After opening with a 3-3 draw with Guinea, the Sierra Stars toppled hosts Swaziland 2-0. In its final game of group play, they secured its ticket to the semifinals, with a hard-fought 0-0 draw against group-winner Egypt. Not given much of a chance against Nigeria, two time FIFA U-17 champion and runner-up at Trinidad & Tobago 2001, Sierra Leone defied the odds, getting the winning goal with just minutes remaining in the match to advance to the finals. The Cinderella story looked as though it would continue for Sierra Leone as they dominated early in the first half against Cameroon, but the Lion Cubs were able to knock in the game-winner in extra time to take the title.
African Junior Championship
Final Round – Group A
Date Opponent Result Location
May 25, 2003 Guinea 3-3 T Swaziland
May 28, 2003 Swaziland 2-0 W Swaziland
May 31, 2003 Egypt 0-0 T Swaziland
June 5, 2003 Nigeria 1-0 W Swaziland
June 8, 2003 Cameroon 0-1 L Swaziland
LOOKING FOR FIRST GOAL
The USA holds a hapless run of five losses against African teams without scoring a single goal in the FIFA U17 World Championship. The last five matches: Guinea 1-0 L (1985); Ivory Coast 1-0 L (1987); Ghana 2-0 L (1995); Ghana 2-0 L (1999); Nigeria 2-0 L (2001).
LAST TIME OUT…
U.S. vs. Korea Republic
August 14, 2003
1st 2nd Final
United States 2 4 6
Korea Republic 1 0 1
KOR – Own goal 11th minute
USA – Freddy Adu (Danny Szetela) 16th
USA – Brandon Owens 26th
USA – Jamie Watson 54th
USA – Steve Curfman 75th
USA – Freddy Adu (Jamie Watson) 89th
USA – Freddy Adu (penalty kick) 90th
USA–1-Phil Marfuggi; 3-Jonathan Spector, 5-Brandon Owens, 12-Steve Curfman’, 15-Corey Ashe (6-Chris Germani, 65), 17-Daniel Szetela, 8-John DiRaimondo, 10-Guillermo Gonzalez (7-Brian Grazier, 74), 4-Eddie Gaven; 13-Jamie Watson, 11-Freddy Adu.
Subs not used: 18-Quentin Westberg, 19-Jacob Peterson, 28-Stephen Sandbo, 16-Adrian Chevannes, 14-Julian Valentin, 9-Michael Harrington, 2-Kyle Helton
KOR- 1-Ki Seok Cha; 4-Jin Ouk Kang, 6-Sang Hup Lee, 7-Seung Min Baek, 9-Dong Hyen Yang, 10-Dong Won Han (Sang Hyun An, 62, 11-Yong Rae Lee, 12-Sang Yong Lee, 19-Young Rok Shin (17-Kyoung Jun Ou, 67), 20-Gang Jin Lee (3-Kyu Hawn Hwang, 62).
Shots 12 10
Saves 9 5
Corner Kick 5 3
Fouls 22 16
Offside 9 0
SIERRA LEONE VS. SPAIN
Sierra Leone and Spain clashed in Lahti Stadium directly after the U.S. match on Thurday night, putting on an entertaining match as the sides ended up drawing 3-3. Spain took a commanding 2-0 only 15 minutes in, but after defender Arzo was given his second yellow and sent off, Sierra Leone mounted a tremendous comeback. Samuel Barlay notched two goals and Sierra Leone got an own goal to put them on top with a 3-2 advantage. Sierra Leone looked like it was going to come away with three points, but Spain got the equalizer in the 6th minute of injury time.
THE OTHER HALF
The other two teams in Group D – Spain and the Korea Republic – will kick off directly following the U.S.-Sierra Leone game at 5:30 p.m. local time / 10:30 p.m. ET.
Assistant coach John Hackworth provides the scouting report on Sierra Leone in advance of tomorrow’s match-up. Hackworth talks about Sierra Leone’s top players, their tendencies in the attacking third of the field and what the U.S. can do to create chances on goal.