* Brazilian Right Back Leo Creates Both Goals for Reigning World Champions
* Under-20s Outshoot Brazil 10-7, But Can’t Find the Back of the Net
* U.S. Leaves for South Korea Thursday Morning to Participate in Busan Four Nations International Tournament
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. (June 16, 2004) – In a spirited and even match that saw both teams with limited chances on net, the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team fell 2-0 to Brazil this evening in front of 7,849 fans at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The U.S. actually outshot the reigning U-20 World Champions 10-7, but it was Brazil that was able to finish their few chances and come away with the victory.
The match will be played on a 24-hour tape delay by Gol TV at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, June 17.
Both teams won’t get much time to rest as they leave for Busan, South Korea early Thursday morning to participate in the Busan Four Nation International Tournament from June 22-26. The U.S. will face South Korea in the opening match on June 22, before facing Brazil two days later and closing the round-robin tournament against Poland on June 26.
The U.S. looked to be the superior squad during the first 10 minutes of the game, keeping possession and pushing forward into Brazil’s defensive third, but Brazil struck quickly in the 12th minute as Wagner headed home on their first shot of the night. The U.S. didn’t back down after the early goal though, continuing to turn half-chances into opportunities on goal, but never finding the back of the net. Brazil capitalized once more in the 77th minute, as Neto was able to put back a save by Quentin Westberg from close range.
Both of Brazil’s goals were created by Brazilian right back Leo, who was the best player on the field during the match. Throughout the match, the speedy 18-year-old, who also gave the U.S. Under-17 MNT trouble in the quarterfinals of the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Championship, showcased his talents that led him to be signed by Olimpique Marseille of France’s Ligue 1.
“We knew going in we were in for a good game and from the start I thought we played really well,” U.S. Under-20 head coach Thomas Rongen said. “I’m not pleased with the result, but over the full 90 minutes I was satisfied with our play. We were able to stand our ground, push forward and create some good chances, but we just weren’t able to finish.”
The U.S. was the dominant team in the early going and the trio of Jamie Watson, Freddy Adu and Guillermo Gonzalez up front in Rongen’s 3-4-3 formation were able to put the Brazilian backline on their heels with darting runs and through balls. In the 8th minute, Arturo Alvarez provided the first reaction from the festive crowd as he cut inside from the left flank and fired a low shot towards goal that beat a diving Renan Soares before going barely wide of the right post.
Four minutes later, Leo provided Brazil with the lead. After Brazil gained possession on what appeared to be a rough foul in the center circle that brought Watson to the ground writhing in pain, the ball was knocked out wide to Leo on the right flank. Leo quickly turned up field and was able to get off a cross to the far post finding Wagner, who headed the ball from the six-yard box into the upper-left side of the goal, giving Westberg almost no chance.
The U.S. didn’t back down after the early strike, keeping their composure and continuing to try and get through the Brazilian’s defense. But in the 23rd minute, Brazil almost put the game away early as Evandro did poorly with a well-placed service. Rafael was able to free himself on the right sideline and sent in a cross that skipped past defender Steve Purdy, falling to the feet of Evandro. With just Westberg to beat from six yards out, the Silver Ball winner the ’03 U-17 World Championship couldn’t get a foot to it as it bounced directly in front of him.
Dodging that bullet, the U.S. looked to get an equalizer. In the 28th minute, Sturgis found Gonzalez at the top of the box and the L.A. Galaxy forward quickly turned and pulled the trigger with his deadly left foot, but his attempt went over the bar.
The U.S. was able to keep it in the Brazilian final third for the next few minutes, winning a couple corners and dangerous free kicks on the right flank. Adu also caused some havoc with some nifty dribbling and well-timed runs. In the 30th minute, Adu tried his luck with a 20-yard shot on goal, but it was easily snagged by the ‘keeper.
Brazil started to gain some momentum during the final 15 minutes of the first half, and put the U.S. under a bit more pressure as it won some deep free kicks and found a few gaps in the backline, but couldn’t create anything too dangerous.
The start of the second half was much of the same as the U.S. came out early and attacked. In the first few minutes, the U.S. won a corner kick on the left side that Adu sent in to the back post. Gonzalez was able to get free in the box and tried to knock the ball on frame out of the air with a half-volley, but he wasn’t able to get a good strike on the ball as it spun off his foot and wide right of the target.
Adu came close to giving the U.S. an equalizer a short time later as he got free at the top of the box and ripped a low screamer that went just wide left of the post. Later in the match, Adu dove to get his head to a Kamani Hill cross, but it was blocked by a Brazil defender and cleared out of danger.
Brazil was able to create some chances as well, and finally got some breathing room in the 77th minute. Leo dribbled up the right flank and curled in a weighted ball to Evandro inside the box. The forward ripped a 12-yard shot right at Westberg, who tried to punch it clear only to see it fall to the feet of Neto at the six-yard box. With Purdy on his back, Neto was able to hold him off and then roof his shot into the top of the net.
In the final five minutes, the U.S. generated two more chances. Hill broke free on the left side and cut into the box before firing a shot on goal, but Renan did well to smother the opportunity. A few moments later, Charlie Davies intercepted a pass and raced up the left flank. He crossed in a high ball to a wide-open Adu near the top of the box, but put a bit too much air under it, allowing Renan to snatch it up.
Notes: Freddy Adu, Eddie Gaven, Craig Capano and Arturo Alvarez will not travel with the team to Korea as they will had back to their respective MLS teams ... Patrick Phelan, who was on the original camp roster, went back home on Tuesday after an ankle injury he had suffered a few weeks earlier was determined by the U.S. medical staff to still be too severe for him to play against Brazil or travel to Korea.
- U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Game Report -
Participants: U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team vs. Brazil
Location: Lockhart Stadium; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Date: June 16, 2004
Weather: Warm; 80 degrees
1st 2nd Final
United States 0 0 0
Brazil 1 1 2
BRA – Wagner (Leo) 12th minute
BRA – Neto 77th
USA – 1-Quentin Westberg; 6-Steve Purdy, 2-Kiel McClung, 5-Nathan Sturgis; 7-Eddie Gaven (3-Tim Ward, 82), 8-Craig Capano (capt.), 11-Arturo Alvarez (21-Charlie Davies, 88), 12-Danny Szetela (22-Stuart Holden, 65); 10-Freddy Adu, 13-Jamie Watson (20-Kamani Hill, 46), 9-Guillermo Gonzalez (16-Will John, 68).
Subs not used: 4-Julian Valentin, 15-Will Hall, 17-Steve Curfman, 14-John DiRaimondo, 18-Andrew Kartunen, 19-Nico Colaluca.
BRA – 1-Renan Soares; 2-Leo, 3-Halisson (14-Levi, 82), 4-Edcarlos, 6-Felipe Soares (16-Andre, 67); 5-Rafael, 17-Tiago Matos (8-Jose Antonio Junior, 67), 7-Rodrigo (18-Ernane, 59), 10-Wagner; 9-Evandro (19-Vinicius, 79), 20-Neto.
Subs not used: 12-Diego Carreira, 13-Ilson Junior.
Shots 10 7
Shots on goal 6 3
Saves 1 6
Corner Kick 4 6
Fouls 17 13
Offside 1 3
BRA – Tiago Matos Castro (caution) 9th minute
BRA – Neto (caution) 57th
USA – Will John (caution) 72nd
Referee: Hector Tobon (USA)
Assistant: Joe Caroccio (USA)
Assistant: Tom Wilde (USA)
4th Official: Reggie Rutty (USA)
U.S. Head Coach Thomas Rongen
On the match…
“They are a good team and we knew that going in. We actually relished the chance to play them. We came out in the first 10 minutes and put it to them, with Arturo (Alvarez) and Freddy (Adu) creating some chances. I think we did really well for a team that has only been together for a few days. We were a little poor in the final third, but overall we did well.”
On Leo, Brazil’s right fullback…
“Their right fullback (Leo), is at his age maybe one of the best players in the world. He created some problems for us.”
On the team…
“I have to give our team some kudos as we are still in the developing stage and still looking for which players we are going to take for qualifying. I was very proud of the way the team played today and relish the great crowd that we had out here today. It’s a lot of fun for these guys.”
On what he got out of this game…
“This game wasn’t easy for Brazil and that’s all that I wanted to get out of here. We are able to walk out of here and say we can compete against them. It doesn’t mean we can beat them, and that would be tough, but I think we were able to stand our ground and play good football.”
U.S. Midfielder Freddy Adu
On what he came away with after the match…
“We have proven that we can play against the best in the world today. And we went head-to-head with Brazil, but you know what, they’re Brazil and they find a way to win.”
On how he played…
“I felt like I did my job and put some pressure on the defense. I was able to knock some dangerous balls in, but unfortunately no one was able to crash in on them. It was just unfortunate. This boosts my confidence so much more. The first time we played Brazil with the Under-17s (in the 2003 World Championship) I played poorly. I didn’t play well, but today I felt like I did alright.”
On why he played better this time…
“I felt great before the game and was able to play my game. Peter Nowak, the D.C. United coach, flew in to watch the game and that was extra motivation to prove that I deserve to out on the field week in and week out.”
On Brazil’s first goal…
“It took a lot out of us. We were playing very, very well to start the game off. Actually, we were still playing well after they scored as we were able to keep our composure. But, like I said they’re Brazil and you can’t get down because they will frustrate you.”
On Brazil’s defense…
“We respected them, but we weren’t scared of them. That’s why we were able to meet up with them. They have good defenders, but they face players like me every day."
On his shot that went just wide of the goal in the second half…
“I got a good look. I felt like I was a little bit free and I figured I’d just take the opportunity. I might have been able to take a few more touches, but they are quick, fast and probably would have closed it down. So, I just saw the opening, hit it and tried to get in on target.”
U.S. Midfielder Danny Szetela
On the match...
“I thought Brazil was a really good team, but I thought we played well. We had opportunities in both halves, but just couldn’t finish our chances.”
On how the U.S. played...
“The level of soccer in the U.S. is getting better and I think we kind of showed that tonight. We’ll see them again in South Korea and it will be a good game.”