U.S. Under-20 MNT vs. Canada
Frank-Clair Stadium; Ottawa, Canada
June 1, 2007
READY FOR CANADA: The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team is ready to face World Cup host Canada after three days of preparation and training in Montreal, and will head to Ottawa on Saturday morning to train before Sunday’s game. The first of two matches against Canada kicks off at 4 p.m. ET and fans can follow the match on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
GETTING COMFORTABLE: The players and staff are using this trip to get acclimated with the host cities for the group stage of this summer’s World Cup. The team started the camp in Montreal, staying in the hotel that will be used for the World Cup and training for three days at various locations trying to find the best place for training during the World Cup. On Friday afternoon, the team took a tour of The Olympic Stadium, site of the first two Group D matches against South Korea (June 30) and Poland (July 3). On Saturday morning the team will travel to Ottawa to train, and will face Canada on June 3 at Frank Clair Stadium, site of their third and final Group D match against Brazil (July 6). The final leg of the camp will take place in Kingston, Ontario, where the U.S. and Canada will meet again on June 6 at 7 p.m. ET in Richardson Stadium.
FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD: Of the 16 players invited to the training camp by U.S. head coach Thomas Rongen, eight are professionals representing five different countries. Three players from Major League Soccer are joined by four who play abroad, each in a different country: Mitchell van den Beld of FC Utrecht in Holland, Johann Smith of the English Premier League's Bolton FC, Preston Zimmerman, who plays for Hamburg SV in the Bundesliga, and forward Gabriel Ferrari of Italy’s Sampdoria.
AND ALL OVER THE USA: Seven players are currently part of a strong collegiate contingent, representing Harvard (Andre Akpan), South Florida (Diego Restrepo), SMU (Steve Sandbo), UCLA (Sal Zizzo and Tony Beltran), Wake Forest (Jules Valentin) and Indiana (Ofori Sarkodie). There are also two representatives of the U.S. U-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla., in Sheanon Williams and Dane Shea. Nine different states are represented by players on the roster, including four from California, three from Florida, two each from Ohio and Texas, and one each from New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Washington.
Under-20 MNT Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Diego Restrepo (University of South Florida), Steve Sandbo (SMU)
DEFENDERS (5): Tony Beltran (UCLA), Amaechi Igwe (New England Revolution), Ofori Sarkodie (Indiana University), Sheanon Williams (Boston, Mass.), Julian Valentin (Wake Forest)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Bryan Arguez (DC United), Dane Shea (College Station, Texas), Anthony Wallace (FC Dallas), Mitchell van den Beld (FC Utrecht)
FORWARDS (5): Andre Akpan (Harvard), Gabriel Ferrari (Sampdoria), Johann Smith (Bolton FC), Preston Zimmerman (Hamburg SV), Sal Zizzo (UCLA)
FAMILIAR FOES: The U.S. and Canada have built up a bit of a rivalry in this age group over the years. Though only four players on this roster were a part of last year’s tour, the neighboring countries played twice in July. The U.S. picked up a 2-1 victory in the first battle in Ottawa, and the countries tied 1-1 in Ontario two days later on a U.S. goal by Amaechi Igwe. The three other players on that trip that are also here are defenders Julian Valentin and Tony Beltran, and midfielder Bryan Arguez.
WORLD CUP AWAITS: The match for the U.S. and Canada begins the final preparations for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, which will be held from June 30-July 22 in Canada. The U.S. was drawn into Group D with Korea Republic, Poland and Brazil. Argentina is in Group E with the Czech Republic, Korea DPR and Panama. This is the sixth straight appearance for the U.S. in the world championship and their 11th overall. The U.S. opens against Korea Republic on June 30, then faces Poland on July 3 and concludes group play on July 6 against four-time U-20 world champions Brazil. The U.S. will play Korea Republic and Poland at The Olympic Stadium in Montreal, before heading to Ottawa to face Brazil at Frank Clair Stadium. Every U.S. match at the U-20 World Cup can be followed live via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker. The 24-team field is divided into six groups of four, with the top two teams from each group and the top four (of six) third-place teams advancing to the Round of 16. The 52-match tournament will take place at six venues in Canada with games in Burnaby, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Victoria. The U.S. will play all their group matches in Montreal and Ottawa on artificial turf.
USA's FIFA U-20 World Cup Schedule - Group D
Date Match-up Venue Kickoff (ET)
June 30 Korea Republic vs. USA Montreal 2:15 p.m.
July 3 USA vs. Poland Montreal 7:45 p.m.
July 6 Brazil vs. USA Ottawa 7:45 p.m.
• Since 2006, this group of U.S. U-20s holds a 7-5-3 record in international play. So far in 2007, the U.S. is 3-1-1
• The U-20s' last victory was an impressive 2-1 victory over Haiti's full team on March 28 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. Freddy Adu and Gabriel Ferrari, who was in for his first-ever camp, scored the goals for the U.S.
• So far in 2007, the U.S. has outscored their opponents, 11-3. Two goals were scored by Haiti national teams (U-20 and full team), and one by Argentina
• The other three games on the year all came during the CONCACAF Final Round Qualifying Tournament in Panama City, Panama. The U.S. defeated Haiti, 4-1, drew, 0-0, with Guatemala and then cruised past Panama, 5-0
• Of the 16 players on the U.S. roster, five have no caps with the U-20s this year: Diego Restrepo, Steve Sandbo, Brek Shea, Sheanon Williams and Mitchell van den Beld. This is the first ever U-20 camp for van den Beld, Shea and Williams
• Along with the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama all qualified from CONCACAF for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. With Canada as host, CONCACAF has five teams in the tournament
• This is Rongen's second stint as the head coach of the U.S. Under-20s. Rongen also coached the team to the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship, guiding them to an impressive fifth place finish
• Andre Akpan is tied with Freddy Adu for most goals in 2007, as the Harvard product scored a hat trick in the opening match of qualifying against Haiti