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U.S. U-20 MNT Defeats Canada, 2-0, in Bradenton

BRADENTON, Fla. (Dec. 20, 2006) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team defeated Canada, 2-0, this afternoon at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., in their only international match of the final 10-day training camp before head coach Thomas Rongen names his 20-player World Cup Qualifying roster.

Rongen played two different squads in each half, providing almost all 26 players in camp 45 minutes to help him evaluate which players would make the final qualifying roster. Forward Josmer Altidore, midfielder Alejandro Bedoya and goalkeeper Steve Sandbo did not play due to injuries, while the U.S. was also missing some of its top players as Michael Bradley and Robbie Rogers (Heerenveen), Johann Smith (Bolton) and Preston Zimmerman (Hamburg) are all still in Europe.

The squad in the first half clearly dominated Canada despite not having some of their best players on the field, outshooting their northern neighbors 8-1 and notching two goals by Rodrigo Hidalgo and Sal Zizzo.

Hidalgo’s goal came off a corner kick from Dax McCarty in the 22nd minute, as the University of South Florida forward rose to head home the service from the six-yard box. Four minutes later, Zizzo doubled the lead with a nice finish at the right post. McCarty knocked the ball up to forward Mike Grella on the right side and the Duke product crossed it in for Zizzo who beat his defender to the ball and finished high into the net.

Rongen made the wholesale change at halftime, and the second 11 struggled in the attack for the final 45 minutes but still managed to deflate Canada’s pressure and hold them to just two off-target shots.

The U.S. will have two more days of camp, including an instrasquad scrimmage on Friday, Dec. 22. Rongen will pick his final 20-player qualifying roster at the end of this camp and the selected players will have a week off for the holidays before returning to Bradenton on Dec. 30 for an eight-day camp.

During that camp, the U-20s will play three games in five days (Jan. 2, 4 and 6) to mirror their qualifying schedule. The opponents for those three matches are yet to be determined, but will likely include a match against the U.S. U-17 MNT. Once again, there is a chance the European-based players will be unavailable, but Rongen will not invite in any additional players to fill any vacant spots. After the camp, the players will head home for three days and then regroup on Jan. 10 in Fort Lauderdale where they will train before heading to Panama for the CONCACAF Final Round Qualifying Tournament on Jan. 14.

The U.S. is in Group A of the 2007 CONCACAF Final Round Qualifying Tournament with Guatemala, Haiti and host Panama. The U.S. will open the tournament in Panama City, Panama, against Haiti on Jan. 17 at 6:30 p.m. ET before taking on Guatemala on Jan. 19 at 6:30 p.m. ET and then finishing against the hosts on Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. ET. Every match will be played at Rommel Fernandez Stadium.

The top two teams in the 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. The U.S. will be attempting to qualify for their sixth straight U-20 FIFA World Cup (formerly FIFA World Youth Championship). The other two of the four CONCACAF berths (not including Canada, which gets an automatic berth as host) will come from Group B, which will occur a month later from Feb. 21-25 in Culiacan, Sinaloa, located on the west coast of Mexico. Competing with the hosts will be Costa Rica, St. Kitts & Nevis and Jamaica.

- U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Game Report -

Participants: U.S. U-20 MNT vs. Canada
Competition: Friendly
Location: IMG Academies; Bradenton, Fla.
Date: Dec. 20, 2006
Weather: Warm; 70 degrees

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

USA – Rodrigo Hidalgo (Dax McCarty) 22nd minute
USA – Sal Zizzo (Mike Grella) 26.

U-20: 18-Brian Perk (24-Chris Seitz, 46); 2-Tim Ward (6-Quavas Kirk, 46), 14-Julian Valentin (15-Kyle Davies, 46), 12-Ofori Sarkodie (5-Nathan Sturgis. 46), 21-Blake Wagner (25-Matt Besler, 23 ; 4-Amaechi Igwe, 46); 19-Anthony Beltran (7-Danny Szetela), 23-Anthony Wallace (3-Bryan Arguez, 46), 8-Dax McCarty (11-Freddy Adu, 46); 9-Sal Zizzo (17-Jeremy Hall, 46), 20-Mike Grella (22-Andre Akpan, 46), 16-Rodrigo Hidalgo (10-Jonathan Villanueva, 46)

CAN: 1-David Monslave (22-Zach Kalthoff, 46); 16-Kent O’Connor, 5-Stephen Lumley, 6-Nana Attakora-Gyan, 2-Adam Lang (7-Mike D’Agostino, 29); 4-Jonathan Bourgault, 11-A.J. Gray (13-Brandon Bonifacio, 75)3-Masumi Turnbull (8-Massimo Di Ioia, 32); 12-Gabe Gala (15-Alex Elliot, 46), 10-Andrea Lombardo, 9-Selvin Lammie (14-Daniel Revivo, 62)

Statistical Summary:
Shots: 11/3
Shots on goal: 6/2
Saves: 1/3
Fouls: 11/13
Corner Kicks: 11/1
Offside: 3/2

Misconduct Summary: