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Both U.S. Under-17 MNTs Come Away With Draws During Third Day of Nike Friendlies at IMG Academy Park in Bradenton, Fla.

    * Ryan Soroka and Preston Zimmerman Score as Older U-17s Draw 2-2 With So Cal United  
    * Younger U.S. Under-17 MNT Draws With Australia U-17 MNT 1-1 in Earlier Match 
    * Day Two of Nike Friendlies Coaching Symposium Will Be Held Tonight, U.S. MNT Strength and Conditioning Coach Pierre    Barrieu and Director of Advanced & International Referee Development to Speak

BRADENTON, Fla. (Dec. 4, 2004) — On a dreary day where the sun hardly ever shone through the thick cloud cover, both U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Teams came away with draws on the third day of the 2004 Nike Friendlies at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The older Under-17 MNT battled a talented So Cal United U-18 squad to a 2-2 draw, getting goals from Ryan Soroka and Preston Zimmerman, while the younger Under-17s scored first against Australia, but let their lead slip away for a 1-1 finish. 
The draws against So Cal United and Australia were the final matches each of the Under-17s will play during the Nike Friendlies, but there is still one more day for the rest of the more than 60 club teams that are participating in the event this year. A total of 96 games have been played in the first three days of the four-day event. For a complete list of results from all of today’s matches at the 2004 Nike Friendlies, log onto and click on the 2004 Nike Friendlies competition page.
In the older U-17 MNT’s match, the game kicked off to a surprising start as So Cal United scored on their first shot on goal in the 16th minute after a defensive mistake by the U.S.  So Cal forward Paulo DaSilva stole the ball at midfield and started a counter attack, which ended with him ripping a 20-yard shot into the upper-right corner of the goal. The U.S. struck back later in the half with two goals in a three-minute span by Ryan Soroka and Preston Zimmerman to take the lead, but in the second half the U.S. was reduced to 10-men and DaSilva scored his second on a well-placed free kick from the top of the box to again tie up the game.
“Once again I’m extremely pleased with the quality of today’s match against So Cal United,” said U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Hackworth. “For the second straight day we got the chance to be tested against a quality opponent that forced us to play at our highest level. I thought the players did well to come back after being down a goal and take the lead, and even when we went down a man we continued to fight and create chances.”
The game’s opening goal started when defender Blake Wagner was dispossessed near midfield by DaSilva, who pushed forward as the rest of the defense sprinted back to cut off his angle. Wagner was able to fight back and knock the ball away from DaSilva’s feet, but the ball fell to a trailing Lee Nguyen, who held the ball before pushing the ball back to DaSilva, now on his left. DaSilva dribbled to his left and then cut back to his right, losing his defender, before curling a well-struck ball into the top-right corner.
Despite being down, the U.S. held most of the possession and put some quality chances against goalkeeper Nicolas Christou and finally got the equalizing goal from Soroka on his second strike from distance in as many games. Soroka ran on to a loose ball about 23 yards from goal, taking a touch and then blasting the ball past a surprised Christou, who was off his line. Christou was able to get a piece of the shot to the upper-left corner, but was unable to keep it from hitting the back of the net.
Two minutes later, David Arvizu slipped a through ball behind the So Cal backline for Zimmerman, who was able to hold off central defender Chance Myers on the right side of the penalty area and bury his shot to the lower-left post past the outstretched arms of Christou.
In the second half, there were a number of tough tackles and the U.S. was reduced to 10 men after  Nikolas Besagno received his second yellow for a late challenge in the 49th minute near the top of the U.S. box. Besagno had picked up his first yellow card a couple minutes earlier for a similar late slide tackle.
On the ensuing free kick, DaSilva scored his second goal, curling his shot over the U.S. wall and into the upper-left corner past a sprawling Evan Newton to deadlock the match once again, this time for good. DaSilva’s deadly strike was the only shot on goal for So Cal in the second half.
Earlier in the day, the younger U.S. U-17 National team tied with the Australia Under-17 National team in a rematch of sorts for the Quantas Joeys. The USA scored first in the 9th minute off a free kick from midfield. Pat Rickards served the ball over the Australian defense, finding Josmer Altidore who sent it over the 'keeper for a goal.
Just eight minutes later, the Australians had their first dangerous opportunity on a rocket shot from the right side that American goalkeeper Brian Perk barely tipped over the crossbar for a corner kick. Nine minutes later, Australian David Williams scored a goal in the 26th minute after taking the ball up the middle past two U.S. defenders and firing a blast past Perk's outstretched hands.
Altidore had a chance to pull the U.S. back ahead in the 36th minute, when Eric Avila headed the ball in to Perica Marosevic. Marosevic, also using his head, dropped the ball to Altidore, who fired a shot that Australian goalkeeper Ben Cheyne barely managed to tip over the crossbar, sending the teams into the locker room tied 1-1.
In the second half, the U.S. had its best chance in the 62nd minute when Avila pulled a pass back from the endline in the penalty box to the front of the goal, but Altidore missed high on the open net.
The U.S. Under-15 Men’s National Team also tied this afternoon, grabbing a 2-2 draw with FC Delco. The U.S. fell behind early in the first half, but second-half substitute Brandon Tarr equalized in the 62nd minute.
U.S. Soccer is also host a Coaching Symposium and a Premier Referee Academy as part of the Nike Friendlies extended weekend. The two-day Coaching Symposium started last night with sessions led by U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Bruce Arena and U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Hackworth and continued this afternoon with a Match Analysis of the younger U.S. Under-17 MNT’s match by Hackworth. This evening,  U.S. Soccer’s Director of Advanced & International Referee Development Esse Baharmast and U.S. Men’s National Team Fitness Coach Pierre Barrieu will be the featured speakers. More information about the symposium is available at
U.S. Soccer’s Nike Friendlies is an annual competition in which the best youth soccer clubs around the United States in the U-16, U-17 and U-18 age divisions are invited to the IMG Academy in Bradenton for a high-level four-day event which stresses quality soccer and player development over wins and losses. Standings are not kept during the competition, in which each team plays four 80-minute games over the four days.
Notes: The U.S. was scheduled to play against the Pateadores, but the game was changed this morning to So Cal United.

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

Match-up:  U.S. Under-17 MNT vs. So Cal United U-18
Date:  Dec. 4, 2004
Competition:  International Friendly
Venue:  IMG Academy Park – Bradenton, Fla.
Kickoff:  2 p.m. (ET)
Attendance: 200
Weather: 60 degrees; rainy

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

SCU – Paulo DaSilva (Lee Nguyen)                   16th minute
USA – Ryan Soroka                                          31st
USA – Preston Zimmerman (David Arvizu)         33rd
SCU – Paulo DaSilva                                         53rd

USA: 1-Bryant Rueckner (18-Evan Newton, 41); 4-Eric Lichaj (3-Kevin Alston, 80), 7-Ofori Sarkodie, 10-Carlos Borja, 13-Blake Wagner; 16-Nikolas Besagno, 14-Kyle Nakazawa, 11-Ryan Soroka (20-Gabriel Farfan, 80), 23-Anthony Ampaipitakwong (33-David Arvizu, 66); 6-Quavas Kirk, 9-Preston Zimmerman.
Subs not used: 1-Bryant Rueckner, 26-Eddie Ababio, 30-Joel Smith, 31-Ernest Mariscal, 21-Amaechi Igwe, 17-Jeremy Hall.

SCU: 1-Nicolas Christou; 5-Chance Myers, 12-Josh Underwood, 3-Hugo Ayala, 22-Liam Leonard; 11-Lee Nguyen, 4-Dylan Riley, 19-Danny Rodriguez, 15-Evan McNeil; 9-Paulo DaSliva, 10-Rafael Macedo.
Subs not used: 16-Michael Nierath, 14-Dean Seuritz, 6-Dan Ortega, 20-Ben Grossman, 22-Corwin Castellau.

Stats Summary:     USA    SCU
   Shots                         6         6
   Shots on Goal           4         2  
   Saves                        0         2
   Corner Kicks            4          2
   Fouls                       17        13
   Offside                      2          2

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Kyle Nakazawa (caution)         8th minute
SCU – Evan McNeil (caution)              34th
SCU – Liam Leonard (caution)           45th
USA – Nikolas Besagno (caution)      47th
USA – Nikolas Besagno (ejection)     49th
USA – Ryan Soroka (caution)             58th
USA – Eric Lichaj (caution)            6   8th