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U.S. Under-17s Draw 1-1 on Injury-Time Equalizer; Under-18s Fall 3-0 to West Region at U.S. Amateur Soccer Festival

CHICAGO (Tuesday, July 31, 2001) - The United States Under-17 Men's National Team was minutes away from snatching a victory against an older, more experienced Midwest Region Team, but the USA allowed an equalizing goal in injury-time and was forced to take a 1-1 draw at the the sixth annual U.S. Amateur Soccer Festival at Trinity Christian College in Palos Haights, Ill. In a later match on Tuesday evening, the U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team lost 3-0 to the West Region Team and fall to 0-2 in the Soccer Festival.

In Tuesday night's other matches, the South Region Team hammered the Under-20 team of Mexican club side UNAM Pumas 4-1. The East Region Team edged the Illinois State Select Team 2-1.

The U.S. Under-17s received a boost from forward Ed Johnson, who was playing in his only match of the U.S. Amateur Soccer Festival. The Nike Project-40 player flew into town Sunday night and will return to the Dallas Burn on Wednesday morning. In the 17th minute, U.S. central defender Chad Marshall served a long ball out of the back that Ed Johnson raced onto and received 40 yards from goal. The Burn striker, who tallied his first professional goal in just his third game with the Burn, carried the ball into the penalty box and beat the Midwest goalkeeper to give the U.S. an early lead for the second straight match. Ed Johnson has now scored an amazing 24 goals in 27 matches in 2001.

U.S. head coach John Ellinger started five players in Tuesday's match who didn't start in Sunday's match, including offensive standouts Ed Johnson, Mike Magee and Craig Capano. In Sunday's opener, the U.S. Under-17s got on the board in the first half via Justin Mapp, but allowed two second-half goals to fall 2-1 to the South Region Team.

In a later match on Tuesday, the U.S. Under-18s fell behind in the 35th minute, and were never able to crawl back into the match. The Under-18s have allowed seven goals in two Soccer Festival matches. Even the introduction of defender C.J. Klaas into the line-up could not shut down the West attack. Klaas missed the opener due to commitments with the Chicago Fire Reserves.

The U.S. Under-17s play their third game in five days on Thursday, when they face the UNAM Pumas Under-20 side at 8 pm on the Trinity Christian College Stadium field. The Mexican squad opened the tournament with a 1-0 win against the Midwest Region on Sunday. The U.S. Under-18s will play their third game of the tournament on Thursday against the Illinois Select State team that drew 1-1 with the West Region Team on Sunday to open the tournament.

After two days of competition on the Men's side of the Festival, the South Region Team and the East Region Team are the sole undefeated teams remaining. The East topped the U.S. Under-18 National Team 4-1 on Sunday, while the South used two second-half goals to comeback and defeat the U.S. Under-17 National Team 2-1.

The U.S. Under-16 Girl's National Team returns to action Wednesday, when they face the West Region Team that drew 2-2 with the Midwest Region Team on Monday. The U.S. Under-16s held the more experienced East Region Team to a 0-0 draw on Monday. The Under-16s are undefeated in 2001, with a 5-0-1 record that includes three straight shutouts.

The U.S. Soccer Festival runs through Sunday, August 5th, when the tournament will conclude with a women's soccer doubleheader. The U.S. Under-16 Girl's National Team will face a National Amateur Select Team at 11 a.m. and will be followed by the U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team making their only appearance of the Festival against the Mexican Under-18 Women's National Team.

This year's U.S. Soccer Festival follows a successful 2000 Amateur Soccer Festival that was held in Kingston, Rhode Island. The first Amateur Soccer Festival was held in San Antonio in 1996, and previous Amateur Soccer Festivals have also been held in Portland (1999), Manchester, N.H. (1998) and Blaine, Minn. (1997).

Recognizing the need to continue the development of young American players and needing a forum to identify other up-and-coming players, the United States Amateur Soccer Association has developed this event to serve those needs through its partnership with the United States Soccer Federation and a grant from the U.S. Soccer Foundation.

The U.S. Amateur Soccer Festival was originally conceived when the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) discontinued staging their annual U.S. Sports Festival in 1995.

The U.S. Amateur Soccer Festival, which is sponsored and organized by the USASA, has incorporated the concept used in the U.S. Sports Festival and has expanded it to also include several U.S. National Teams, and for the third consecutive year, international teams.

The 2001 Amateur Soccer Festival is being hosted this year by the Illinois State Soccer Association, who received a grant of $179,000 from the state of Illinois to plan, promote and host the U.S. Soccer Festival, as well as the Midwest Regional Tournament of State Champions and the local qualification phase of the Tournament of the Mexican-American Communities of the U.S.A.

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

U.S. Goalscoring:
USA - Ed Johnson (Chad Marshall), 17.

Line-up: Ford Williams; Jordan Harvey (Chefik Simo, 46), Tyson Wahl (Brian Plotkin, 60) (Hunter Freeman, 79), Chad Marshall, David Chun (Gray Griffin, 46); Chris Lancos, Jordan Stone, Craig Capano, Mike Magee (Erwin Diaz, 67) Justin Mapp (Arturo Alvarez, 64); Ed Johnson.

U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team Match Summary

U.S. Goalscoring:

Line-up: Noah Palmer; Ryan Cochrane, John Hartman, Troy Roberts (Greg Dalby, 80), C.J. Klaas; Kirk Dinnal (Andre Schmid, 71), Miguel Saavedra (Joe Vide, 12), Michael Enfield, Ned Grabavoy; Brett Wiesner (Ryab Alexander, 63), Knox Cameron.