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U.S. Under-20 MNT Down Jamaica 1-0 in Sunrise, Fla.

SUNRISE, Fla. (April 20, 2004) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team got a goal from defender Brandon Owens in the second half to beat Jamaica 1-0 in an international friendly this afternoon at the Sunrise Hilton in Sunrise, Fla. The U.S. will next face a Haiti Select team on Wednesday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m. at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

“I was happy to get a victory in our first international game this week,” said U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Thomas Rongen. “We wanted to start off on a good note today and I think the guys responded well. We’ll be looking for the same result tomorrow with a different eleven players.”

In the first ten minutes of the match, the U.S. was able to push forward and find some openings in the Jamaican defense, led mostly by the play of left midfielder Christian Jimenez. In just the fourth minute of the match, Jimenez got free and sent in a cross to an open Kevin Long, but his header went high and didn’t find the frame.

Jamaica settled down after the first twenty minutes and began taking control of possession, but wasn’t able to penetrate deep into the U.S. defense, which did a good job of keeping their speedy forwards, Laton Shelton and Richard West, at bay and holding the Reggae Boyz to one shot on goal during the entire match. Taking what the defense gave them, defender Rodolph Austin attempted a couple of powerful strikes from 35 yards out, but his shots went wide of the target.

In a two-minute period near the end of the first half, the U.S. and Jamaica traded quality chances. The U.S. just missed first as Tim Ward found Danny Szetela, who came on for Adrian Chevannes after spraining his knee in a collision, on the right wing. Szetela quickly drilled a ball across the goulmouth, but forward Will John just missed on a diving header. Jamaica came back right away with a cross by Shelton from the left flank that bounced in a crowed penalty area before Richard West pounced on the ball, but his volley went high over the bar.

The U.S. got two more chances before the end of the half, but Jamaican ‘keeper Ryan Thompson made a great play to snatch the ball off Kamani Hill’s foot in the penalty area after a great through ball by John. A minute later, Hill met Szetela’s cross at the far-left post, but headed it over the frame.

After a scoreless first half, the match started to get a bit rough as both teams committed some hard fouls while looking to take the lead in the second half. At one point, two U.S. players were laying on the ground as two different Jamaican defenders had fouled them during one attacking series.

The U.S. took the lead in the 62nd minute off a Jimenez corner kick. Jimenez served in a ball to the near post where Owens latched onto, outjumping his defender and heading it home past Jamaican ‘keeper Ryan Thompson. The tally was the UCLA freshman’s first goal in just his fourth game with the U-20s.

Jamaica had its best chance of the game to score 10 minutes later, but weren’t able to finish in an open net. Jermaine Taylor sent in a free kick from the left flank to the top of the 18-yard box finding West, who headed the ball into the penalty area. U.S. ‘keeper Stephen Sandbo came out to punch it colliding with Dean Thompson and causing Sandbo to punch it back toward West, but his one-timer caromed off his foot high into the air and away from the open net.

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

Participants:  U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team vs. Jamaica
Competition: Friendly
Location: Sunrise Hilton; Sunrise, Fla.
Date: April 20, 2004
Weather: Warm; 85 degrees
Scoring Summary:
                                                1st     2nd     Final
United States                           0        1          1
Jamaica                                   0        0          0

USA – Brandon Owens (Christian Jimenez)         62nd minute

USA – 18-Stephen Sandbo, 23-Kevin Long, 2-Patrick Phelan (14-Kiel McClung, 60), 15-Brandon Owens; 3-Tim Ward, 22-Adrian Chevannes (7-Danny Szetela, 31 ; 6-Erik Ustruck, 60), 12-Stuart Holden, 21-Christian Jimenez (5-Nathan Sturgis, 87), 17-Mike Orozco; 16-Will John, 20-Kamani Hill.
Subs not used: 1-Andrew Kartunen, 4-Eddie Gaven, 8-Craig Capano, 9-Michael Bradley, 10-Arturo Alvarez, 11-Freddy Adu, 13-Jamie Watson, 24-Justin Hughes.

JAM – 1-Ryan Thompson; 14-Adrian Reid, 19-Jermaine Taylor, 31-Keiron Bernard, 5-Rodolph Austin; 17-Merrick Howard (7-Duran Myton, 60), 11-Akeem Priestley, 22-Rafe Wolfe (18-Ricardo Cousins, 60), 8-Howard Wong (6-Keneil Moodie, 60); 10-Richard West, 9-Katon Shelton (21-Dean Thompson, 60).
Subs not used: 23-Ricardo Taylor, 20-Nicholi Rindlayson, 30-Ralston Robinson

Statistical Summary:
                          USA        JAM
Shots                   9              5         
Shots on goal     4              2
Saves                  2              3                  
Corner Kick        5              2            
Fouls                  12            11           
Offside                1              1            

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Danny Szetela (caution)            61st minute
JAM – Jermaine Taylor (caution)            67th

Head Referee: Brian Proeshel

Post-Match Quotes

Head Coach Thomas Rongen
On the victory against Jamaica…
“To me, winning is contagious. Our previous (Under-20) group did the same thing and won a lot of games. We wanted to start on a good note and I think our guys responded well today. I hope our other group tomorrow will do the same thing. It was a positive first impression.”

On the Haiti match on Wednesday...
“We’ll have a completely different starting 11 for (the Haiti match). That was plan for this trip as we have four games in a very short amount of time, including three games in three days on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We felt that for the first two games we needed two full teams to get the results that we want and bring in more players, evaluate all of them and eventually get down to our top 20 players that will represent the U.S. in qualifying and hopefully go on to the World Championship.”

Christian Jimenez
On his play today…
“I don’t think I had a great game today. I had a lot of chances with the ball in the midfield and I was happy to get the assist on the corner kick.”

Brandon Owens
On how he thought the backline played as a unit…
“I think we played pretty well. It was our first camp together as a unit, so we didn’t have the best communication. I think it was there, but it is something that can get better. We have to be as organized as I can.”

On scoring the goal…
“It feels really great. I’ve had some experience in international games, so I was excited to score and help my team get the result.”