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U.S. U-17s Down Peru 2-1 in Opening Match of Copa Telefonica

The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team got a goal and an assist from midfielder Quavas Kirk in the first half and then the U.S. defense held on against a strong wind in their face during the second stanza to down Peru 2-1 in their opening match of the Copa Telefonica Tournament on Tuesday night in front of about 10, 000 fans at Estadio Migual Grau in Puira, Peru.

With the win, the U.S. sits in second place in the four-team tournament. In the other match, Colombia defeated Ecuador 3-0 and sits in first place. The U.S. will next face Colombia on Thursday, Aug. 12 at 5 p.m. CT.

“We definitely dominated in the first half and played extremely well,” said U.S. Under-17 head coach John Ellinger. “But then in the second half we struggled as we had to deal with the wind and Peru just outworked us. We talked about not letting them get back in the game because we knew if they got one back it would be a dogfight, and that’s exactly what happened. Luckily, we were able to hold on for the win.”

The relentless wind played havoc throughout the game, providing an advantage to whichever team had it to their backs. Going with the wind in the first half, the U.S. was able to keep most of the play in Peru’s defensive half and peppered their goal with seven shots, finishing two. In the second half, Peru had the edge and the U.S. was only able to generate one chance – one that should have been finished though as Eddie Ababio missed from point-blank range. 

The U.S. played in a 4-3-3, with the forward trio of Ababio, Ryan Soroka and Preston Zimmerman giving the Peru backline trouble, especially in the first half. The triple-threat provided much of the U.S. attack and Soroka was the main instigator, controlling the tempo of the game and keeping the Peru defense unbalanced.

Soroka started the attack on the USA’s first goal in the 16th minute, slotting the ball out wide to Kirk as he streaked down the right flank. The lanky midfielder ran the ball down and provided a cross in to the near post for Zimmerman, who one-timed a half-volley. 

The U.S. continued to look dangerous in the first half and doubled their lead in the 38th minute when Soroka was tripped up in the box. Soroka had gotten his pass off before being taken down, finding Ababio who quickly fed Zimmerman for the finish, but the referee did not give the advantage, blowing the play dead. Kirk stepped up to the spot though to ensure the U.S. got its second goal on the night.

In the second half, the U.S. looked a bit tentative playing with a two-goal lead and Peru came out blazing as they attempted to get back into the game. Now with the wind, Peru created most of the chances and finally cut the U.S. lead in half when a cross from the right got past goalkeeper Bryant Rueckner as he came out to make a play and was easily finished into the open net.

The U.S. looked as though they were going to get some breathing room a bit later as a cross found Ababio all alone in front of the Peru goal, but he missed his sitter.

In the Colombia-Ecuador match, the two teams were tied at halftime, but with the wind to their backs, Colombia scored all three of their goals, which included an own goal and a penalty shot, in the second half.

- U.S. Under-17 ‘88s Men’s National Team Game Report -

Participants: U.S. Under-17 ‘88s Men’s National Team vs. Peru
Competition: Copa Telefonica 2004
Location: Puira, Peru
Date: Aug. 10, 2004
Weather: Cool, 70 degrees

Scoring Summary:       1st    2nd     Final
USA                                    2       0          2
PER                                    0       1          1

USA – Preston Zimmerman (Quavas Kirk)             16th minute
USA – Quavas Kirk (penalty kick)                            38th
PER – n/a                                                                    66th
USA: 1-Bryant Rueckner; 4-Eric Lichaj, 7-Ofori Sarkodie; 5-Richard Edgar, 10-Kevin Alston; 3-Carlos Borja, 6-Quavas Kirk (17-Jeremy Hall, 81), 16-Nik Besango; 9-Preston Zimmerman, 15-Eddie Ababio (13-Blake Wagner, 63), 11-Ryan Soroka.
Subs not used: 2-Michael Balogun, 8-Michael Stephens, 12-Michael Dal Pra, 14-Kyle Nakazawa, 18-Evan Newton, 19-Michael Farfan, 20-Gabriel Farfan.

PER: 1-Wilfredo Cabllero Horna; 4-Christian Laura Senaga, 5-Christian Ramos Garagay, 2-Israel Funes Palma, 3-Richardo Uribe Oshiro; 7-Migual Cardenas Gonzales, 6-Migual Galliquid Castro, 8-Gianfranco Espejo Reyes, 10-Walter Portugal Miranda (16-Claudio Mendoza Olarte, 61); 9-Carlos Elias Galliani, 11-Daniel Chavez Castillo.

Statistical Summary:       USA        PER   
Shots                                       8             5
Saves                                      0              0
Corner Kick                            2              1
Fouls                                      15            13
Offside                                    2              1

Misconduct Summary:
PER – Isreal Funes Palma (caution)            23rd minute
USA – Kevin Alston (caution)                        52nd 

Copa Telefonica 2004
Team            GP   W    L     T     GF   GA   +/-   Pts.
Colombia      1      1     0     0      3       0      3      3
USA               1      1     0     0      2       1      1      3
Peru               1      0     1     0      1       2     -1      0
Ecuador        1       0     1     0      0       3     -3      0

Tuesday, Aug. 10
Colombia 3, Ecuador 0
USA 2, Peru 1

Thursday, Aug. 13
USA vs. Colombia
Ecuador vs. Peru

Saturday, Aug. 15
USA vs. Ecuador
Colombia vs. Peru