EZEIZA, Argentina (April 26, 2006) - The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team finished out their training camp in Buenos Aires with a tough 0-4 defeat at the hands of the defending World Champions, Argentina. The match was played at the AFA training grounds in Ezeiza, outside of the city.
Despite the lopsided scoreline, the U.S. held their own in the opening half as both teams fought hard with no ball going uncontested. However, it was the Argentine squad that went into the half with a one goal cushion, courtesy of a decision by the referee.
In the 34th minute, Pablo Mazza found his way around Blake Wagner in the box. As Wagner challenged, Mazza fell to the ground and the referee awarded the penalty. Hernan Fredes of Independiente put the spot kick away. The U.S. pushed on, but could not find the equlizer as the final pass in the Argentine third of the field eluded them.
The opening of the second half saw both teams continue their even match. The U.S. began to challenge, creating dangerous chances on goal, but a costly give away in the 59th minute ended the American's momentum. A poor restart led to an Argentine counter down the left flank, Gaston Schmidt crossed the ball into the box and it was chested down and slotted home by Christian Maidana of Banfield. The goal seemed to unease the U.S. and they lost their focus.
In the next eight minutes, Maidana would score another and set up a third leaving the US with little hope. As frustration set in, the U-20s conceded another penalty in the 75th minute. However, Maidana ruined the chance for his hat trick when he pushed his shot wide.
In the end, though disappointed with the day’s result, U.S. U-20 head coach Thomas Rongen thought the week went well for the team.
“It was a great learning experience for both the players and the coaches," said Rongen. "Playing matches against opponents of this caliber here in Argentina is a great tool to evaluate not just the players we’re looking at for the team next year, but also the level of youth football in the US versus the rest of the world. There’s no substitute for match experience.”
The U.S. Under-20s will have two more training camps and a few friendly games before CONCACAF qualification for the World Youth Championship in January/February 2007.
U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Match Report
Participants: USA vs. Argentina
Competition: International Friendly
Location: Ezeiza, Argentina
Date: April 26, 2006
Weather: Sunny, warm; 70 degrees
1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
ARG 1 3 4
ARG – Fredes (penalty kick) 34th minute
ARG – Maidana (Schmidt) 59.
ARG – Maidana (Acosta) 63.
ARG – Schmidt (Maidana) 66.
USA: Steve Sandbo; Quavas Kirk, Neven Subotic (Eric Lichaj, 67), Carlos Borja (Chance Myers, 67), Blake Wagner; Anthony Wallace (Nicoles Torres, 78), Nikolas Besagno, Corben Bone (Dax McCarty, 46), Sal Zizzo (David Arvizu, 78); Preston Zimmerman (Estuardo Sanchez, 67), Josmer Altidore (Rodrigo Lopez, 81).
Head Coach: Thomas Rongen
ARG: Sergio Romero (Javier Hernán García, 66) ; Fabián Coronel (Santiago Villafañe, 46), Gabriel Mercado, Matías Cahais, Gonzalo García; Hernán Fredes (Nicolas Ledesma, 46), Mauricio Pedano, Sebastián Battaglia (Gaston Schmidt, 46); Pablo Mazza, Roberto Dovetta (Lautaro Acosta, 46), Pablo Mouche (Cristian Maidana, 46).
Head Coach: Francisco Ferraro.
Shots 5 9
Saves 4 2
Fouls 14 10
Corner Kicks 3 3
Offside 1 5