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U.S. U-17s Finish in Second Place With 1-0 Loss to Czech Republic

BALLYMENA, Northern Ireland (April 29, 2005) - The U.S. Under-17 '89 Men's National Team hit the post and crossbar, but couldn't find the back of the net as they fell 1-0 to Czech Republic in the final of the Ballymena International Tournament this evening in Ballymena, Northern Ireland.

The U.S. finishes in second place for the third straight time, as they also were runner-up in 2004 and 2002. The U.S. has competed in four of the six Ballymena International Tournaments, also participating in 2000 and finishing in fourth place.

U.S. midfielder Anthony Wallace was named as co-player of the tournament along with Tomas Necid of the Czech Republic.

"We struggled in the first half a bit and they got their goal in the final seconds of the first half," said U.S. U-17 '89 assistant head coach Keith Fulk. "We were the better team in the second half, but it was just one of those days where we couldn't catch a break to find the equalizer. Overall, I thought our players did extremely well in their first international tournament and was pleased with our performance."

The U.S. had gotten through Group A with three shutout victories, but for the first time in the tournament struggled to control the pace of the game as the Czech Republic controlled the majority of the first half. The first shot of the game came in the 20th minute when Jan Dolak found some space in the U.S. defense, but his low blast was saved by a diving Brian Perk.

The only opportunities for the U.S. came a few minutes later when Eber Martinez and Perica Marosevic both unleashed shots from atop the penalty area, but the two attempts went just wide of the frame.

It appeared the teams would venture into the locker room tied at half, but the Czech Republic came away with the eventual game-winner just moments before the end of the first 40 minutes. Ivan Lacko got around the U.S. defense on the right side of the penalty area forcing defender Greg Eckhart to commit to the forward, allowing Lacko to lay the ball square to a wide-open Tomas Pekhart, who drilled the close-range shot past Perk.

The second half was a different affair as the U.S. moved from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3 and eventually a 3-4-3 late, dominating play and peppering the Czech Republic goal. The U.S. ended up empty handed after hitting the woodwork twice and watching the Czech Republic 'keeper come up with some huge saves.

Eckhart was inches from finding the equalizer late in the second half off a corner kick when he out-jumped his defender and headed the ball on goal, but it bounced off the left post.

Two minutes later, Josmer Altidore unleashed a 30-yard free kick that just skimmed over the crossbar.

Wallace also had a great look on target as he hit a bullet toward the lower-left post, but the Czech 'keeper just got his fingertips to it, pushing it wide of the target.

- U.S. Under-17 '89 Men's National Team Match Report -

Participants:     U.S. Under-17 ‘89s Men’s National Team vs. Czech Republic
Competition:     Ballymena International Tournament
Location:    Ballymena, Northern Ireland
Date:    April 29, 2005
Weather:    Cool, 60 degrees
Attendance:    300

Scoring Summary:    1st    2nd    Final
USA        0    0    0
CZE        1    0    0

CZE – Tomas Pekhart (Ivan Lacko)         40+ minute

USA: 1-Brian Perk; 8-Michael Stephens, 5-Greg Eckhardt, 3-Anthony Wallace, 14-Victor Cortez; 16-Perica Marosevic, 7-Andrew Giallombardo, 6-Bryan Arguez, 11-Joseph Sorrentino (17-Demitrius Omphroy, 59); 10-Josmer Altidore, 9-Eber Martinez (15-Daniel Kelly, 49).

CZE: n/a

Statistical Summary:
                              USA     CZE
Shots                       7           8
Saves                      3           2
Fouls                      17         16
Corner Kicks          3           5
Offside                    2           4   

Misconduct Summary:
CZE – Maznch Onbrej (caution)              26th minute
USA – Eber Martinez (caution)               47.
CZE – Dolak Van (caution)                     80.

Group A
Team    GP    W    L    T    GF   GA     GD    Pts.
USA      3        3    0    0     6       0        +6      9   
ISR        3        2    1    0     5       1        +4      6
SVK      3        1    1    0     5       3        +2      3
NIR        3        0    2    0     1       8         -7      0

Monday, April 25
USA 2, Slovakia 0
Israel 3, Northern Ireland 0

Tuesday, April 26
USA 1, Israel 0
Slovakia 5, Northern Ireland 1

Wednesday, April 27
Israel 2, Slovakia 0      
USA 3, Northern Ireland 0

Group B
Team    GP    W    L    T    GF   GA     GD    Pts.
CZE       3       2     1    0     5       2       +3       6
SCO      3       2     0    0     5       3       +2       6   
SUI         3       2     1    0     4       3       +1       6
FIN         3       0     3    0     0       6        -6       0

Monday, April 25
Czech Republic 1, Finland 0
Scotland 2, Switzerland 0

Tuesday, April 26
Switzerland 2, Czech Republic 1
Scotland 3, Finland 0

Wednesday, April 27
Czech Republic 3, Scotland 0    
Switzerland 2, Finland 0

Placement Matches   
Friday, April 29
Czech Republic 1, USA 0 (Championship - David Cairns Memorial Trophy)
Scotland 2, Israel 1 (Third Place - Larne Plate)
Switzerland 2, Slovakia 1 (Fifth Place - Larne Sheild)
Northern Ireland 4, Finland 2 (Seventh Place - Ballymena Bowl)