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U-20 MNT Draw 2-2 With Arsenal in Argentina

EZEIZA, Argentina (April 22, 2006) - After three days of training, the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team drew 2-2 against Arsenal de Sarandi U-20 in their first match of their 10-day training camp in Argentina. The U.S. fell behind twice in the match, but was able to pull even with goals from Preston Zimmerman and Dax McCarty at the AFA training center in Ezeiza outside the city.

With only six players from the first camp of the year involved in this trip, the team faced a strong challenge from an experienced and physical Argentine squad. A lack of cohesiveness and match experience showed as the U.S. struggled early on to form their attack, with most opportunities coming from set pieces.

Thirty minutes into the match, Carlos Borja lost the ball in midfield, leaving the U.S. flank exposed. With one pass an Arsenal forward was through, providing goalkeeper Steven Sandbo with little chance as he slotted the ball to the far post. But the lone goal of the half belied an even match as both sides battled for possession in a fast paced game with many strong challenges.

The U.S. found their feet in the second half. Strong play down the left flank, starting with Blake Wagner at left back, led to the equalizer in the 54th minute. Sal Zizzo brought the ball back into the center for Josmer Altidore, whose pass to Borja gave Zimmerman space at the top of the area. The Hamburg SV reserve ran on to Borja´s through ball, sliding to beat the keeper and put the ball into the side netting. 

After Zimmerman's goal, the match opened up as both teams pushed forward. The U.S. began creating chances from open play, but it was Arsenal that struck next. A cross from the right midfielder tested Sandbo, who dove out to his right to punch it away, but the Arsenal left midfielder knocked the ball back into the mix. With Sandbo out of position, a lucky deflection found the head of an Arsenal player in the ensuing goalmouth scramble. The Arsenal player was poaching in the center and literally didn’t have time to duck his head before the ball struck him and went into the goal. 

The U.S. U-20s showed theirr character and scratched back into the game once again. Ten minutes later, after winning back possession, the U.S. defenders played the ball back to Sandbo who launched the ball into Arsenal´s half. Zizzu skillfully brought the ball down with a defender on his back and then found Zimmerman, who again found space to get inside his man and collect Zizzu´s pass. As he tried to turn towards goal inside the box, Zimmerman was brought down and the referee pointed to the spot.

McCarty put away the ensuing penalty to finish the scoring for the day.

U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Match Report

Participants: USA vs. Arsenal de Sarandi FC U-20
Competition: Friendly
Location: Ezeiza, Argentina
Date: April 22, 2006
Weather: Sunny, warm; 70 degrees

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

ARS – n/a                                                                  33rd minute
USA – Preston Zimmerman (Carlos Borja)        54.
ARS – n/a                                                                   66.
USA – Dax McCarty (penalty kick)                          74.

USA: Steve Sandbo; Chance Myers, Eric Lichaj, Blake Wagner, Carlos Borja; Dax McCarty, Nicoles Torres (captain), Neven Subotic, Josmer Altidore (Quavas Kirk, 88); Preston Zimmerman, Sal Zizzo.
Head Coach: Thomas Rongen

ARS: n/a

Statistical Summary:
                              USA    ARS
Shots                       8         6 
Saves                      2         2
Fouls                       11       14
Corner Kicks          6         3
Offside                     3         3

Misconduct Summary:
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