BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (July 10, 2005) - The U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team had their chances, but couldn't find the back of the net until late as they fell 2-1 to the older Cruzeiro Under-20 club team this evening in front of 45,000 fans in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
The large crowd was one of the largest on hand to ever watch a U.S. U-17 match. The youth match was the first of a doubleheader as the two main clubs in the city, Cruzeiro and Atletico, battled in the second match. The festive crowd provided the U-17s with a fantastic atmosphere, which included the fans chanting in favor of the visiting Americans at times throughout match.
The U.S., which is preparing for the FIFA U-17 World Championship in September, had an early letdown as Cruzeiro took the lead in the fourth minute. After Cruzeiro pushed up into the attack, it appeared the ball was last touched by a Cruzeiro player before going over the endline, but the referee called a corner kick. Cruzeiro took advantage, scoring off the corner to take the early lead.
The U.S. had their fair share of chances to find the equalizer, but couldn’t find the back of the net before Cruzeiro made it 2-0 in the 83rd minute after winning a penalty kick.
Forward David Arvizu pulled one back for the U.S. off a pass from Michael Farfan in the 90th minute, but the U.S. ran out of time in search of the equalizer.
"We actually played quite well, but just got unlucky on the corner kick call and the penalty," said U.S. U-17 Men's National Team head coach John Hackworth. "We had our chances, but just didn't finish when we could have at times. The atmosphere during the game was one of the best I've been involved with as a coach and I think the experience of playing in front of 45,000 fans is something that these kids will never forget."
The U.S. travels to Porte Alegre on Monday to participate in a four-team tournament, which includes Brazil and Uruguay, two of the three CONMEBOL World Championship representatives. The U.S. will face Brazil on July 13, Uruguay on July 15 and Selecao Gaucha on July 17 during the tournament, with all the games being played at Complexo Esportivo de Ulbra.
Hackworth will travel to Chicaylo, Peru after the Uruguay match to attend the draw for the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship, which will be held this Saturday, July 16, to determine the schedule for the 16-team tournament.
The tournament will take place from September 16-Oct. 2 in four venues in Peru – Chicaylo Lima, Piura and Trujillo. The 16 teams will be divided into four groups of four for first round play, with the top two teams advancing to the quarterfinals. The qualified teams along with the U.S. and host Peru are Mexico, Costa Rica, China, DPR Korea, Qatar, Ghana, Gambia, Cote d’Ivoire, Brazil, Uruguay, Australia, Turkey, Italy and the Netherlands. The U.S. is the only team that has qualified for all 11world championships at this age level.
Participants: U.S. Under-17 ‘88s Men’s National Team vs. Cruzeiro U-20s
Location: Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Date: July 10, 2005
Weather: Warm, 75 degrees
1st 2nd Final
USA 0 1 1
CRU 1 1 2
CRU – n/a (n/a) 4th minute
CRU – n/a (penalty kick) 83.
USA – David Arvizu (Michael Farfan) 90.
USA: 18-Brian Perk (24-Deigo Restrepo, 46); 3-Kevin Alston (2-Michael Balogun, 46), 4-Eric Lichaj (15-Daniel Kelly, 46), 5-Ofori Sarkodie (7-Carlos Borja, 46), 14-Amaechi Igwe; 11-Ryan Soroka (10-David Arvizu, 62), 8-Kyle Nakazawa (20-Bobby Warshaw, 62 ; 6-Quavas Kirk, 71), 16-Nik Besagno (12-Richard Edgar, 46), 17-Jeremy Hall (13-Blake Wagner, 46); 21-Omar Gonzalez (19-Michael Farfan, 62), 9-Preston Zimmerman.
Shots 13 16
Saves 8 4
Fouls 12 17
Corner Kicks 8 5
Offside 4 0
USA – Amaechi Igwe (caution) 58th minute
USA – Richard Edgar (caution) 77.