U.S. captain Kenneth Cutler hit the final shot of the match just over the crossbar, allowing Australia to grab a spot in the finals with a 7-6 advantage in penalty kicks.
The team will now face the winner of the Brazil-Ghana semifinal (being played later tonight in Auckland) in the third-place game on Saturday in North Harbour Stadium in Auckland (Friday night in the U.S. at 7 p.m. ET live on the DISH Network). The final will be played following the match at 10 p.m. ET.
"I am incredibly proud of this team," said head coach John Ellinger after the match, "as our entire country should be. Just a great group of guys who are hurting a lot right now."
For the fourth time in five games, the USA allowed the first goal of the match, this time surrendering a third-minute goal to Australia's Aaron Goulding, who slotted an easy left-foot shot home from inside the goalkeeper area after an Aussie corner kick slid past the U.S. defense into the area.
The second Socceroo goal came from Scott McDonald, who was freed into the left side of the penalty area, turned to beat U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu and fired home to the far post on 35 minutes to double the Australian lead.
Just one minute later, though, the dynamic U.S. offense cashed in on a brilliant strike from forward Landon Donovan, his team-leading third goal of the tournament. After receiving a corner kick on the right wing, Donovan ran a perfect give-and-go with Beckerman which freed himself up running across the top of the penalty area. After two touches on the ball, Donovan, who earned Man of the Match honors, fired a blistering left-footed laser that curved into the upper left corner of the goal.
The U.S. drew even in the 51st minute with Donovan again being the catalyst. In a carbon copy of his headed game-winning goal against Uruguay, Oguchi Onyewu lept high at the far post and nodded into the right side of the goal an arching corner kick by Donovan to erase the Aussies' lead.
After a tense and exciting goalless overtime session, the match went to penalties where each of the first 15 shots were all on frame, with only the USA's DaMarcus Beasley (saved in second round) and Australia's Wayne Srhoj (saved in fourth round) missing prior to Cutler's final shot over the bar.
"This team's success over here, and for the last two years, is the essence of what Project 2010 is all about," added Ellinger. "I believe that in 10 or 11 years, these kids and other players that we are still out there scouting, are going to be challenging for a World Cup title when they are 28 and 29-years-old."
1999 U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||U.S. Men's Under-17 National Team vs. Australia U-17 National Team|
|Competition:||V FIFA U-17 World Championship|
|Venue:||Christchurch, New Zealand|
|Date:||Nov. 24, 1999|
AUS - Aaron Goulding, 3.
AUS - Scott McDonald, 35.
USA - Landon Donovan, (Kyle Beckerman), 36.
USA - Oguchi Onyewu, (Landon Donovan), 51.
AUSTRALIA PKs - Mark Byrnes (GOAL), Di Iorio (GOAL), Cansdell-Sherriff (GOAL), Srhoj (save), North (GOAL), MacAllister (GOAL), Aaron Goulding (GOAL), Kennedy (GOAL).
USA PKs - Donovan (GOAL), Beasley (save), Convey (GOAL), Akwari (GOAL), Thompson (GOAL), Gregorio (GOAL), Yi (GOAL), Cutler (high).
USA - 1-Delvin Countess, 4-Nelson Akwari (captain), 5-Alexander Yi, 17-Seth Trembly, 14-Oguchi Onyewu, 15-Kyle Beckerman (Kyle Beckerman, 79), 3-DaMarcus Beasley, 7-Kenneth Cutler, 8-Bryan Jackson (9-Adolfo Gregorio, 105), 10-Landon Donovan, 16-Jordan Cila (11-Bobby Convey, 105).
AUS - 1-Jess Kedwell-Vanstrattan, 3-Shane Cansdell-Sherriff, 4-Aaron Goulding, 5-Adrian Madaschi, 6-Mark Byrnes (captain), 7-Jade North, 8-Louis Brain (9-Joseph Di Iorio, 46), 10-Lucas Pantelis, 11-Scott McDonald (12-Joshua Kennedy, 69), 16-Wayne Srhoj, 17-Dylan Macallister.
|Wayne Srhoj (caution)||13,|
|Kenneth Cutler (caution)||92,|
|Seth Trembly (ejection)||115,|
|Joshua Kennedy (caution)||116.|