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U-20 MNT Defeat River Plate U-20 in Argentina

PLATENSE, Argentina (April 24, 2006) - In a tightly fought match, the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team defeated the Club Atletico River Plate U-20s, 1-0, at Platense Stadium, earning the first victory of their Argentina training camp. New York Red Bull forward David Arvizu tallied the winning goal in the 33rd minute.

The U.S. will next play their first international match of the year on Wednesday, April 26, when they go up against defending world champions, Argentina.

Despite the high humidity, the match started at a furious pace with River Plate putting the U.S. on their heels with high pressure and pace, quality touches and probing diagonal balls. The U-20s struggled to find their feet in the first ten minutes as head coach Thomas Rongen went with a noticeably different line-up than the one he put out against Arsenal two days ago.

The lack of match cohesiveness showed as the U.S. struggled to maintain possession and move the ball out of their end against a strong physical opponent. It was almost fifteen minutes before the U.S. created their first quality chance on goal. Despite being stuck in their end fending off the River attack, the U.S. put the ball into the net first.

A brief pause due to an slight injury to Arvizu gave the U.S.  the respite they needed to get their shape. Following the restart in the 33rd minute, play built up along the right flank. Quavas Kirk found an opening and crossed the ball into Arvizu, ghosting in from the left. His well-timed run beat his defender, and his header left the River Plate goalkeeper with no chance as the ball struck the right corner of the net.

"I was still kind of hurt from the tackle, but I made a run up the middle," said Arvizu. "I timed my run and the defender didn’t see me coming until it was too late. Quavas played a great chip ball into my path and I headed into upper right corner.” 

With a goal in their favor, the U.S. began to find their confidence and get on a more even footing with their opponent. The U-20s pushed into River Plate´s half with greater frequency and it was River who found themselves defending in earnest. The teams battled back and forth for the remainder of the match, but the tough, physical Argentine style took its toll on the U.S. squad. Before the end of the match, they would use all six of their field substitutions, but to good effect.

In one of his first touches after coming on in the 80th minute, Josmer Altidore, using his size and speed, created a one-on-one for himself, but the River 'keeper prevented the U.S. from putting the game way.

River Plate were not about to let the visiting Americans walk away with a win without a fight, and went at the U.S. with purpose in the four minutes of extra time. But it was another late U.S. substitute who put the game away, stopping River hopes with a defensive save. Preston Zimmerman came on in the 88th minute and found himself all the way back in the U.S. goal mouth, where he cleared a late River strike off the line to preserve the well-deserved victory.

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

Participants: USA vs. River Plate U-20
Competition: Friendly
Location: Platense, Argentina
Date: April 24, 2006
Weather: Sunny, warm; 70 degrees

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

USA – David Arvizu (Quavas Kirk)         33rd minute

USA: Steve Sandbo; Eric Lichaj (Chance Myers, 45 ; Nicoles Torres, 82), Carlos Borja (Neven Subotic, 45), Nikolas Besagno; Anthony Wallace, Dax McCarty (Blake Wagner, 45), Rodrigo Lopez (captain), Corben Bone (Preston Zimmerman, 88), Quavas Kirk; Estuardo Sanchez (Josmer Altidore, 74), David Arvizu (Sal Zizzo, 74)
Head Coach: Thomas Rongen

RIV: n/a

Statistical Summary:
                              USA    RIV
Shots                     11      11    
Saves                      4        6
Fouls                       9        6
Corner Kicks          2        7
Offside                    4        5

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Sal Zizzo (caution)        86th minute
RIV – n/a (caution)                    88.