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U.S. Under-18s Top UVA 4-1 in Bradenton, Fla.

After falling to the University of Notre Dame on Tuesday, the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team bounced back to defeat the University of Virginia 3-1 this morning at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Christian Jimenez, Mike Grella, Danny Szetela and Charlie Davies scored for the U-18s, who will have one final game against the U.S. Under-17 ‘88s on Friday, March 12 to finish up their second camp of the year.

Early in the match, Virginia had a number of quality chances on goal, but couldn’t take an early lead. In the seventh minute, Zane Hill got free on the right side just outside the penalty area and ripped a shot on target that was easily saved by Chris Seitz.

Three minutes later, forward Mike Littlefield should have made it 1-0, but his point-blank header went wide left. Midfielder Kirk Dinnall raced down a ball on the right flank, getting to it near the endline and crossing it to the far left post where Littlefield was all alone. With Seitz racing back to cover, Littlefield mishit his header, pushing it wide of the open net.

The Cavaliers came inches from scoring in the 13th minute when Adam Cristman collected a loose ball near the top of the box and ripped a shot that hit the top of the crossbar. The ball deflected high off the crossbar and fortunately fell directly to Seitz, who was on the ground after reaching for Cristman’s shot.

After weathering Virginia’s attack in the first 15 minutes, the U.S. began to settle into a groove and produce chances of their own. In the 16th minute, Szetela’s free kick from 25-yards out deflected off Virginia’s four-man wall towards the underside of the crossbar before ‘keeper Ryan Burke parried it over for a corner kick.
The U-18s finally broke open the scoring off a succession of passes in the 20th minute, which was finished off by Jimenez. Off a throw-in near midfield, Grella flicked the ball on to Greg Folk on the right flank, who dribbled into the penalty area before slipping a ball to Bradley just a few feet to his left. With Virginia’s defense collapsing on Bradley, the recent MetroStars draft pick quickly laid the ball off to his left to a wide-open Jimenez, who hit a one-timer into the upper-right of the goal.

Virginia struck back in the 40th minute as former U-17 MNT midfielder Drew Harrison received a long ball near the top of the box on the left side and ripped a shot on goal. Seitz did well to knock away Harrison’s strike, but Dinnall was able to pounce on the loose ball and knock in the equalizer.

Two minutes later, Grella scored an amazing goal with only a few touches of the ball. With a defender on him and his back to the goal about 40 yards out, Grella flicked the ball over his head, spun and had space as he raced towards goal. With defenders closing in on him, Grella ripped a shot with the outside of his right foot just outside the penalty area, curling the ball inside the left post.

In the second half, the U.S. controlled most of the play and came away with their first goal on a penalty kick awarded in the 60th minute. Second-half substitute, Nico Colalluca raced down the left side of the pitch and served in a ball to Szetela near the right post. Szetela one-touched the ball to a streaking Jamie Watson, who was taken down in the middle of the box by a Virginia defender. Szetela took the subsequent penalty kick, placing it to the right side of the goal.

The U.S. got its final goal in the 79th minute when Rodrigo Hidalgo led Charlie Davies through the middle and he was able to hold off a defender before blasting a shot into the roof of the net.


- U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team Game Report -

Participants:  U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team vs. University of Virginia
Competition:  Friendly
Location: IMG Academy; Bradenton, Fla.
Date: March 10, 2004
Weather: Warm, 70 degrees

Scoring Summary: 1st 2nd Final
UVA                              1     0       1
USA                              2     2       4

USA – Christian Jimenez (Michael Bradley)        20th minute
UVA – Kirk Deneaule                                              40th
USA – Mike Grella                                                  42nd
USA – Danny Szetela (penalty kick)                      60th    
USA - Charlie Davies (Rodrigo Hidalgo)              79th

USA: 30-Chris Seitz; 76-Nathan Sturgis, 119-Tim Ward, 92-Julian Valentin, 66-Greg Folk; 101-Christian Jimenez (90-Jamie Watson, 46), 62-Michael Bradley (50-Charlie Davies, 64), 36-Danny Szetela, 102-Mike Videira; 58-Robbie Rogers (73-Nico Colalluca, 46), 59-Mike Grella (88-Rodrigo Hidalgo, 69).

UVA: 1-Ryan Burke; 8-Hunter Freeman, 2-Jeff Tuman, 3-John Hartman (26-Chris Mein, 46), 21-Ian Holder; 10-Joe Vide, 12-Drew Harrison, 25-Zane Hill (19-Sean Hinkle, 46), 6-Kirk Dinnall (13-Bryan Yi, 75); 9-Adam Cristman, 7-Mike Littlefield. 

Statistical Summary:     UVA      USA
Shots                                     9            8     
Saves                                    3            4
Corner Kick                          3            3
Fouls                                     11          11 
Offside                                  3            2

Misconduct Summary:
UVA – Joe Vide (caution)            15th minute
UVA – Adam Cristman (caution)   19th