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U.S. Under-17s Conclude U.S. Soccer/Nike Friendlies With Shortened 2-0 Win

BRADENTON, Fla. (Monday, December 9, 2002) – Rain and unsafe field conditions shortened the final day of competition at the U.S. Soccer / Nike Friendlies today in Bradenton, Fla.  The younger U.S. Under-17 squad had their match cancelled, and the older U.S. team had their match called off in the 61st minute, moments after Brandon Owens scored to give the team a 2-0 lead over Sockers FC.

The U.S. finished with a 6-0-1 record at the Friendlies, including six straight shutouts to conclude the event.  In all, the U.S. outscored their opponents 21-3 in seven matches.

The U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team was split into two squads for this event – an older team made up primarily of players born in 1986 and a younger team made up primarily of players born in 1987 – with the older team competing in the Under-18 age group and the younger team in the Under-17 bracket.

The wet field conditions dictated much of the play today, as both teams tried to find ways to play in, through, around and over the puddles that gathered on the field.  After pressing the Sockers defense throughout the first 15 minutes with nothing to show for it, the U.S. broke through - thanks to Eddie Gaven.

Gaven, who was invaluable for the U.S. up top, but did not score in the tournament, helped the U.S. get onto the board when he earned a penalty kick after being clipped from behind in the penalty area.  Gaven chested down a ball at the top of the box, beat a defender on the turn and headed to the goal when he was brought down.  Guillermo Gonzalez, who scored on each of the first three matchdays, had no problems scoring from the penalty spot for his team-leading 27th goal of the year.  Gaven also earned a penalty kick after being taken down in the penalty area in yesterday’s 5-0 win over the Bethesda Alliance.

With the field conditions getting worse and the rain continuing to pour down, the game was called in the 61st minute, just moments after Brandon Owens headed in a Gonzalez free kick.  Gonzalez flighted a bending ball into the penalty area from the left wing, and Owens skied above a crowded penalty area to knock in his second goal of the year.

The next scheduled matches for the U.S. Under-17s will occur at the Disney Soccer Showcase in Orlando, Fla., from December 26-30.  The U.S. will follow that with a game against AC Milan on January 1 at the Seminole / Lake Sylvan Sports Complex in Sanford, Fla. 

- U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team Game Report -

Participants:  U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team vs Under-18 Sockers FC
Competition:  2nd Annual U.S. Soccer / Nike Friendlies
Location: IMG Academy Park
Date: December 9, 2002


Scoring Summary:
            1st   -   2nd   -   Final

USA    1  -  1  -  2
SOC   0  -   0  -  0

USA – Guillermo Gonzalez (penalty kick) 19th minute
USA – Brandon Owens (Guillermo Gonzalez) 60. 

USA:  1-Phil Marfuggi; 19-Kyle Helton, 3-Jonathan Spector, 5-Brandon Owens, 12-Brandon Oot; 15-Corey Ashe (23-Jacob Peterson, 41), 7-Brian Grazier, 10-Guillermo Gonzalez, 14-Jose Gomez, 9-Mike Harrington, 4-Eddie Gaven.