• USA Captain Jared Jeffrey’s PK Provides the Lone Goal
• Sierra Mist Man of the Match Zac MacMath Earns Shutout
• U.S. to Face Argentina in Championship Match on Oct. 13 at 4 p.m. (local time)
SAN LUIS, Argentina (October 10, 2006) — The United States U-17 Men’s National Team defeated Peru Tuesday night, 1-0, at the Estadio Juan Gilberto Funes, advancing to face host Argentina in the championship match of the Torneo Internacional Sub-17 in San Luis, Argentina. Jared Jeffrey converted a penalty kick in the 67th minute and goalkeeper Zac MacMath made three saves to lead the U.S. to Friday’s final that will kick off at 4 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET). Argentina defeated New Zealand 4-0 in the opening match to reach the final.
Both teams endured difficult conditions as the wind gusted up to 30 miles throughout the match, but it was an aggressive U.S. team that imposed their will in the second half that ultimately proved the difference in the match.
“It was an extremely difficult environment to play in for both teams because of the wind,” said U.S. coach John Hackworth. “I thought we were a much better team in the second half. We had a much more aggressive mentality on both sides of the ball, and as a result we created a bunch more opportunities. Give Peru full credit. They put us under a tremendous amount of pressure. In the end, I think it was important to get a good result tonight, and I believe we earned it.”
With the wind blowing hard from the opening whistle, both sides struggled to adjust to the unpredictability and the result was a match that involved high pace but lacked rhythm. Peru created the first good chance of the match three minutes in, when a free kick delivered from 40 yards out on the left side of the goal curled dangerously across the six-yard box, forcing U.S. goalkeeper MacMath to parry the ball around the far post.
Both sides tried to use the gusts of wind to their advantage, each team nearly producing positive results. In the 11th minute, U.S. midfielder Danny Wenzel was dispossessed 45 yards from his own goal by Peruvian midfielder Brian Salazar, who quickly launched a crafty effort to catch MacMath off his line. The ‘keeper got back to his line in time, pushing the ball just over the cross bar. Jared Jeffrey undertook a similar effort in the 22nd minute, this time from a dead ball 40 yards out. His swerving delivery confused the Peruvian defense, forcing the goalkeeper off his line and nearly colliding with his retreating center back. The defender was barely able to skim the ball out of danger.
Chances came few and far between for the remainder of the opening stanza, but Peru nearly snatched a goal just before the halftime whistle. Earning a corner kick during the first minute of stoppage time, the Peruvian corner crisscrossed the box and landed at the feet of Jairo Hernandez, who stood alone eight yards from goal. His low strike beat MacMath, but defender Ryan Gracia had come in to cover from behind and slid to block the shot off the goal line to preserve the 0-0 scoreline.
The U.S. made three substitutions to start the half, and immediately demonstrated more menace in their approach. Their first opportunity came in the 48th minute when a failed clearance in the box left Jeffrey with time to unload from 15 yards out. The shot was blocked, but fell to the feet of second-half sub Jesse Paredes who took his turn at goal, forcing a point-blank save from Peruvian ‘keeper Cesar Ruiz.
Ruiz would become his own worst enemy, however, charging into Sheanon Williams from behind in the 67th minute when Williams had traveled along the goal line to receive a cross from Ellis McLoughlin. The referee immediately pointed to the spot, and Jeffrey made no mistake with the opportunity, curling a low shot into the left side panel past Ruiz to give the U.S. the advantage.
“I’m confident when I go up there,” said Jeffrey. “I know that the only person that is going to miss the penalty is me. If the goalie makes a great save, then so be it. I can just control putting it where I want it. I wasn’t really nervous. I knew I was going to make it."
Peru pressed for the equalizer in the final 20 minutes, and the U.S. did well to withstand their advances. Their last threatening opportunity once again came in the first minute of stoppage time. Peruvian striker Yovic De La Cruz did well to control a cross delivered to the penalty spot, but his second touch left the ball bouncing just enough that his attempted volley rose harmlessly over the bar.
The team and staff wore black armbands to honor the memory of U.S. Men’s National Team assistant coach Glenn “Mooch” Myernick, who passed away Monday.[Share Your Memories of Mooch]
The U.S. now meets Argentina in the final on Friday at 4 p.m. in a match that will be broadcast live on local television, with New Zealand and Peru facing off in the consolation match at 2 p.m.
-- U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team Game Report --
Match-up: USA vs. Peru
Date: October 10, 2006
Competition: Torneo Internacional Sub-17
Venue: Estadio Juan Gilberto Funes – San Luis, Argentina
Kickoff: 6 p.m. AT
Weather: windy, cool
1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
Peru 0 0 0
USA – Jared Jeffrey (pen) 67th minute
USA: 18-Zac MacMath; 15-Greg Garza (16-Brandon Zimmerman, 89), 3-Mykell Bates, 4-Howard Turk, 22-Kofi Sarkodie; 6-Danny Wenzel (11-Kirk Urso,46), 8-Jared Jeffrey (capt.), 10-Danny Barrera (2-Sheanon Williams, 46), 7-Axel Levy (19-Brendan King, 67) 20-Ryan Gracia (13-Jesse Paredes, 46); 9-Ellis McLoughlin (5-Matthew Uy, 80)
Subs not used: 1-Josh Lambo, 12-Jose Altimorano, 14-Amobi Okugo
Coach: John Hackworth
PER: 18-Cesar Ruiz; 2-Jersi Socola, 3-Jairo Hernandez, 5-Nestor Duarte, 4-Juan Arce (19-Irven Avila, 82);
10-Daniel Sanchez (7-Yovic De La Cruz, 73), 6- Brian Salazar, 11-Luis Trujillo (15-Ernesto Salazar, 64), 12-Eder Hermoza; 9-Cristofer Soto (capt.), 13-Christian La Torre
Subs not used: 1-Victor Ulloa, 8-Carlos Caballero, 14-Erick Coavoy, 16-Jose Gutierrez, 17-Juan Zevallos,
Coach: Jose Luis Pavoni
Stats Summary: USA/PER
Corner Kicks: 6/10
Referee: Claudio Martin
Sierra Mist Man of the Match: Zac MacMath