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U.S. U-17 MNT Falls to Brazil in Quarterfinals of World Championship

TURKU, Finland (August 24, 2003) — The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team was knocked out of the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Championship this afternoon after falling to Brazil 3-0 in the quarterfinals at Turku Stadium in Turku, Finland. Despite the loss, the U.S. will finish in the top eight for the fourth time in 10 appearances.

“Our plan was to keep the ball more and create opportunities to score and I think we did that,” said U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Ellinger. “But, in the end Brazil did a great job of finishing today and that was the big difference.

“I’m not disappointed in the play of our guys at all. They worked extremely hard for two years and accomplished getting to the quarterfinals, which is something to be proud of.”

The U.S. struggled to find a rhythm in the beginning of the game on the soaked pitch as Brazil controlled most of the possession. The Brazilians created a number of attacks up the right flank with their outside back, Leo, pushing forward to create dangerous crosses into the penalty area. Brazil’s midfielders and forwards were also able to get looks on goal and didn’t shy away from taking a number of strikes from beyond the penalty area.

In the 10th minute, the U.S. nearly gave up the first goal when Arouca blasted a shot from 35 yards out that nicked the crossbar.

Leonardo opened up the scoring in the 18th minute to give Brazil a 1-0 lead. Off a corner from the right side of the field, Arouca got a quick touch to Jonathan, who broke clear for a cross and curled the ball into the penalty area. Leonardo, coming in from his central defensive position, rose to head the ball down past U.S. ‘keeper Phil Marfuggi. Marfuggi dove to his right and managed to get a piece of the header, but couldn’t stop in from dropping into the net.

After the Brazil goal, the U.S. was able to control possession in the middle of the field, but struggled to penetrate through Brazil’s backline. The U.S. was only able to get one shot on goal in the first half, as a number of through balls to Jamie Watson were swallowed up by speedsters Leo and Joao. Brazil also kept a keen eye on forward Freddy Adu, collapsing on him with two or three defenders every time he touched the ball.

The U.S. didn’t get its first shot until the 38th minute. Midfielder Danny Szetela slotted a through ball into space for Watson towards the top-right corner of the penalty area. Watson ran the ball down, turned on it and hit it first time towards the far-left post. Watson didn’t get much power behind the shot, but Brazil ‘keeper Bruno was still forced to dove to his right to prevent the shot from rolling on into the net.

In the second half, the U.S. came out a different team and in the first 10 minutes was able to pressure Brazil’s backline. The U.S. had its best opportunity on goal in the 47th minute when Bruno had to make a reflexive save on a shot by Freddy Adu. Midfielder Eddie Gaven started the attack, winning a header near the center circle. Watson collected the ball and passed it to his right to Adu, just in the penalty area. With defenders rushing in, Adu took a quick shot that deflected off a Brazilian player and forced Bruno to dive to his left and knock it away.

Brazil broke the game open in the 61st minute when Ederson lofted in a stunning goal. Collecting the ball on the left side of the penalty area, Ederson was able to dribble between a couple of U.S. defenders and chip the ball over ‘keeper Phil Marfuggi, who had come off his line, into the right side netting.

Three minutes later, Brazil ended the scoring as Evandro blasted home a cross Marfuggi was unable to handle. As the ball rolled toward the endline to the left of the U.S. goal, Leo raced it down and put in a dangerous cross near the six-yard box. Marfuggi came out to snag the service, but couldn’t hold on as it squirted from his grasp and bounced out to Evandro. From about 12 yards out, Evandro buried the loose ball into the back of the net.

The U.S. never quit, continuing to push forward in an attempt to get one back. In the 69th minute, Adu was taken down near the top of the penalty area as he tried to turn towards goal. On the resulting free kick, Steve Curfman’s drive dipped towards the lower-left post, but Bruno was able to quickly drop down to reel it in and keep his clean sheet.

Notes: This was the first time the U.S. Under-17 MNT had conceded three goals in a match since May 31 against South Korea in the Busan International Youth Tournament … Every single field player saw playing time during the World Championship … Brazil’s third goal was the 100th for the tournament … Brazil will move on to play Colombia, who they lost to in qualifying 1-0, in the semifinals … Attendance for the game was 6,150.

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

Match-up: U.S. Under-17 MNT vs. Brazil
Date: August 24, 2003
Competition: FIFA U-17 World Championship
Venue: Turku Stadium; Turku, Finland
Kickoff: 2 p.m. local / 7 a.m. ET
Attendance: 6,150
Weather: 65 degrees, mild

Scoring Summary:    1   2    F
USA                             0   0    0
Brazil                           1    2    3

BRA – Leonardo (Jonathan) 18th minute
BRA – Ederson 61st
BRA – Evandro 64th

USA – 1-Quentin Westberg; 2-Kyle Helton (14-Julian Valentin, 87), 3-Jonathan Spector, 5-Brandon Owens, 12-Steve Curfman; 4-Eddie Gaven, 15-Corey Ashe, 17-Danny Szetela, 8-John DiRaimondo (9-Michael Harrington, 78); 11-Freddy Adu, 13-Jamie Watson (19-Jacob Peterson, 78).
Subs not used: 6-Chris Germani, 7-Brian Grazier, 10-Guillermo Gonzalez, 16-Adrian Chevannes, 18-Quentin Westberg, 20-Steve Sandbo.

BRA – 1-Bruno; 2-Leo (15-Felipe, 67), 3-Joao (capt.) (13-Marlon, 86), 4-Leonardo, 6-Sandro; 5-Junior,7-Jonathan, 8-Arouca, 10-Ederson; 11-Evandro (9-Thyago, 81), 18-Abuda.
Subs not used: 12-Marcelo, 14-Arthur, 16-Juliano, 17-Tody, 19-Hugo, 20-Walisson.

Stats Summary: USA BRA
Shots 3 18
Shots on goal 2 7
Saves 3 2
Corner Kicks 4 10
Fouls 15 9
Offsides 3 3

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Jamie Watson (caution) 51st minute
BRA – Leo (caution) 56th

Referee: Martin Hansson (SWE)
Senior Assistant Referee: Henrik Andren (SWE)
Junior Assistant Referee: Stefan Wittberg (SWE)
Fourth Official: Petteri Kari (FIN)