U-20 MNT Defeat Guatemala 2-1 in Boca Raton
BOCA RATON, Fla. (Nov. 15, 2006) — The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team came back from a goal down with strikes from Freddy Adu and Anthony Wallace in the second half to defeat Guatemala, 2-1, in front of 1,600 fans at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla.
In a game where both teams struggled offensively, Guatemala took the surprising lead in the 20th minute of the game, turning a goal-line clearance on a U.S. corner kick into a counter-attack that ended with Edward de la Roca finishing past goalkeeper Nicholas Skverer. Roca’s shot was just one of two on goal Guatemala had all game, both of them coming in the first half.
In the second half, Adu pulled the U.S. even with an impressive header off a cross from Quavas Kirk before Anthony Wallace tallied the game-winner with four minutes remaining with a low drive that Guatemala goalkeeper Carlos Reyes misplayed, allowing the ball to bounce over his outstretched hands and into the back of the net.
“I was impressed by Guatemala and at times we had trouble breaking them down,” said U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Thomas Rongen, who was leading the U-20s against Guatemala for the first time since 2001. “Let’s be real honest, we end winning the game on a goalkeeping mistake. In the end though, getting the result is important, especially being able to do it in a tight game where we had to come from behind. Now we have to understand that when qualifying begins in January we will have to be playing better if we want to qualify for the World Cup in Canada.”
While the U.S. had the majority of the possession in the first half, it struggled to create chances and only took three shots. Their best chance came in the 20th minute, but it quickly ended up backfiring for the U.S. as Guatemala went from goal line to goal line in a matter of moments.
Adu curled in a corner kick to the back post where Tim Ward hit a half-volley past the goalkeeper, but the ball was cleared off the line by midfielder Patrick Howell. The U.S. regained possession and quickly pushed back into the attack, but Wallace’s pass for Adu on the right sideline was intercepted and Guatemala knocked the ball up the field with numbers. Roca darted past the U.S. backline to collect a pass from midfield and forced Skverer to come off his line before finishing past the former Dutch U-17 goalkeeper, who earned his first cap with a U.S. national team.
As the U.S. continued to struggle on the offensive end, Guatemala almost doubled their lead in the 37th minute off a free kick from the left side of the penalty area. Expecting a cross into the box, midfielder Marco Papa surprised Skverer with a tough-angled shot, but the ‘keeper was able to get a hand on the ball to parry it over the bar.
With two-thirds of the match gone, the U.S. finally began to break down Guatemala’s defense and found the equalizer in the 63rd minute when Adu headed home for the sixth U-20 goal of his career. Kirk collected the ball along the right flank and created enough space to knock a cross into the box where Adu headed the ball across the goal and past Reyes into the left side of the net. The assist was the first for Kirk with the U-20s.
While being outplayed, Guatemala still put a bit of pressure on the U.S. defense, but all four of their shots in the second half were off target.
Adu once again set up one of him teammates off a restart, this time sending in a accurate free kick to the head of Dax McCarty in the penalty area in the 75th minute. One of the shortest players on the field, McCarty rose for his header just inside the box, but his attempt went just wide left.
Despite missing the header, McCarty did end up getting a point when his simple pass from 30 yards out to Wallace led to the USA’s game-winning goal. The University of South Florida freshman collected the ball near the left corner of the penalty area and looked up at goal before hitting a ball that appeared to be a bad cross. The low drive bounced along the ground and took a small hop to allow what seemed to be an easy collection for Reyes, a disastrous mistake that allowed the U.S. to come away victorious.
“I didn’t think it was going in,” said Wallace, whose game-winning goal was the first of his U-20 career. “I got the shot of, and everyone said they thought it was a cross, but I know it was a shot, and it started to bounce a little bit before it went into the back of the net. I was just relieved.”
The U.S. could end up playing Guatemala again during the 2007 CONCACAF Final Round Qualifying Tournament early next year. The U.S. and Guatemala are two of the eight qualified teams that will be split into two groups of four with Group A taking place from Jan. 17-21 in Panama City, Panama, and Group B from Feb. 21-25 in Culiacan, Sinaloa, which is on the west coast of Mexico. The draw to determine which teams will be in Group A and Group B will be held on Nov. 24 during the CONCACAF Executive Committee Meeting in Los Angeles.
The other four qualified teams are Costa Rica, Haiti, St. Kitts & Nevis and the winner of a home-and-away series between Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago. The top two squads from each group will qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada, which will take place from June 30-July 22 across six cities – Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Burnaby and Victoria.
In preparation for qualifying, the U.S. will be back in camp starting Dec. 12 in Bradenton, Fla. The team will be finish camp on Dec. 23, but return on Dec. 28 and train until Jan. 7. The players and staff will have one week off before getting together once again for a few days in Florida and then head to either Panama or Mexico for qualifying.
U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Game Report
Participants: USA vs. Guatemala
Competition: International Friendly
Location: Florida Atlantic University Varsity Field; Boca Raton, Fla.
Date: Nov. 15, 2006
Weather: Cool, 60 degrees
1 2 F
USA 0 2 2
GUA 1 0 1
GUA – Edward de la Roca 20th minute
USA – Freddy Adu (Quavas Kirk) 63.
USA – Anthony Wallace (Dax McCarty) 86.
USA: 1-Nicholas Skverer; 2-Tim Ward; 5-Nathan Sturgis, 4-Neven Subotic (13-Kyle Davies, 46; 16-Kris Banghart, 81), 14-Anthony Wallace; 7-Danny Szetela (8-Dax McCarty, 46), 11-Freddy Adu, 3-Bryan Arguez ; 6-Quavas Kirk, 9-Johann Smith, 19-Miguel Gonzalez (10-David Arvizu, 62).
Subs not used: 15-Ellis McLoughlin, 18-Zac MacMath
Head Coach: Thomas Rongen
GUA: 1-Carlos Reyes, 6-Jamie Vides, 2-Pablo Solorzano, 3-Ricardo Sandoval, 14-Rafael Morales; 11-Edward de la Roca (22-Carlos Del Valle, 89), 4-Cristian Noriega (15-Manuel Leon, 80), 5-Patrick Howell (captain), 7-Julian Friego, 8-Marco Papa (10-Marco Ciani, 65); 9-David Aroohe (18-Abner Trigueros, 72).
Subs not used: 00-Jonathan Lopez, 13-Allan Secaida, 19-Wilber Perez
Shots 7 6
Shots on goal 3 2
Saves 1 0
Fouls 11 21
Corner Kicks 2 2
Offside 1 2
GUA – Jamie Vides (caution)
GUA – Ricardo Sandoval (caution)