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U.S. to Conclude U-17 World Championship vs. Nigeria on Wednesday; Ed Johnson to Rejoin Dallas This Weekend for MLS Cup Playoffs

BACOLET, Tobago (Tuesday, September 18, 2001) -

ED JOHNSON CONTINUES SCORING AT RECORD RATE: U.S. striker Ed Johnson scored the last of the USA’s three goals against France on Sunday, extending his record international strike rate to 23 goals in 24 matches and 15 goals in 12 matches in 2001. Johnson ended a three-game international scoring drought with the goal, his second-longest drought without a goal at the Under-17 level. From August 12, 2000 to May 30, 2001, Johnson scored in eight of nine international matches, totaling 15 goals.

CHANGE OF PACE: John Ellinger switched things up for the U.S. on Monday, and instead of training at the Dwight Yorke training field, the team played soccer tennis on the hotel tennis courts and then hit the pool for a workout in the water. The U.S. returned to the training field on Tuesday for a 10 a.m. practice. The team went through an extended warm-up and then went into a possession games before wrapping up with a 6 v 6 scrimmage. U.S. goalkeeper Ford Williams sat out the second half of training, and U.S. assistant coach Cam Rast stepped into the nets for the scrimmage.

JOHNSON WILL RETURN FOR MLS PLAYOFFS: If the U.S. had advanced to the quarterfinals, they would have kicked off on Sunday at Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago. Instead, Ed Johnson will be with the Dallas Burn playing in the MLS Playoffs against Chicago at Dallas' Cotton Bowl on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. CT. The two heated rivals will kick off what is destined to be a memorable playoff series on Thursday night at Soldier Field in Chicago. The Burn went 1-1-1 against the Fire during the regular season, with each match going to overtime. Ed Johnson had two goals and made 10 appearances for the Burn during the regular season of his rookie year.

PARENTS ARRIVE: When the U.S. took the field on Friday to open the Under-17 World Championship, they were unable to see the U.S. flags and jerseys that they expected to see in the stands. With the tragic affairs in the United States, none of the U.S. parents were able to make it to the 0-1 loss to Japan. One set of parents arrived prior to the France match, and in the USA’s finale against France, six sets of U.S. parents will be in attendance at Dwight Yorke Stadium.

BLACK ARMBANDS TO COMMERORATE AMERICAN LIVES LOST: The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team will continue to wear black armbands on the sleeves of their jerseys in Wednesday’s match against Nigeria. The armbands will be worn to honor the people who tragically lost their lives in the tragic incidents that took place earlier this week in the United States. The U.S. also wore the armbands in Friday’s opening match with Japan and Sunday’s loss to France.

BACOLET ADOPTS NIGERIA: Nigeria have undoubtedly been the crowd favorite at Dwight Yorke Stadium after the first two matchdays in Tobago. The Super Eaglets brought the most supporters with them, but the locals have also adopted the Africans as their own. After each Nigerian goal (six in two matches) Dwight Yorke Stadium erupts, with Nigerian flag waving, horns blaring and fans screaming with delight. The Green and White of Nigeria's jerseys easily outnumber French, Japan and American jerseys in the stands, and the locals have grown to love the Nigeria's free-flowing, offensive-minded approach to each game.

UNLUCKY NUMBER 14: After two matches, the U.S. sits in 14th position at the FIFA Under-17 World Championship.

U.S. FALLS TO FRANCE, 5-3, ON SUNDAY: The United States Under-17 Men were beat by a talented French side, 5-3, on Sunday night at the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago. With the loss, the United States cannot advance to the quarterfinals. The U.S. effort was much improved from Friday’s loss to Japan, but they ran into a French team – led by the strikeforce of Florent Sinama Pongolle and Anthony Le Tallec - operating on all cylinders. Sinama Pongolle’s hat trick was the first of the 2001 Under-17 World Championship, and his two goals in five minutes midway through the second half proved to be the difference. Mike Magee and Ed Johnson added to a French own goal for the USA.

U.S. Line-up: 18-Adam Schuerman; 8-Jordan Harvey (capt.), 12-Gray Griffin, 14-Chad Marshall, 2-David Chun (4-Paul Johnson, 65); 15-Jordan Stone, 16-Craig Capano, 7-Mike Magee (6-Chris Lancos, 71); 3-Justin Mapp (11-Chefik Simo, 46), 10-Ed Johnson, 9-Santino Quaranta.

THREE AND OUT: The United States’ team will finish their participation in the tournament on Wednesday night against Nigeria. The U.S. team has not advanced out of group play in five of the previous eight Under-17 World Championships, including consecutive early departures in 1995 and 1997.

INJURY UPDATE: The U.S. will enter the match against Nigeria with a few bumps and bruises. Santino Quaranta is still nursing a sore right quad. Ed Johnson had an injury scare at the end of training on Tuesday when he rolled an ankle and Ford Williams missed the second half of training after falling on his right hip while going through goalkeeping drills. All three players are undergoing treatment and are questionable for tomorrow’s game.

U.S. FINDS CRACKS IN TOUGH FRENCH DEFENSE: When the U.S. put three goals past French goalkeeper Florent Chaigneau, it marked quite an accomplishment. The French, who have quite an offense - as demonstrated by their five goals - displayed an equally competent defense at the continental championship held in England earlier this year. While outscoring their opponents 17-1, the French shut out their first five opponents in the European Championship, before allowing one goal - a penalty kick - in the 0-1 loss to Spain in the final.

GROUP OF DEATH OR GROUP OF GOALS? When the draw for the World Championship was announced, it was unanimous that Group B would be the most difficult group. After two matchdays at Dwight Yorke Stadium, Group B is confirming that it is the “Group of Death.” But Group B is also turning out to be the “Group of Goals.” Twelve goals were scored in two matches in Bacolet on Sunday, including three by the USA. Only France and Nigeria have scored more than three goals in a match at the 2001 Under-17 World Championship. The U.S. tallied three goals in a losing effort to France’s five goals, and Nigeria tallied four times in a shutout against Japan.

FINAL U.S. FIRST ROUND GAME ON GALAVISION: When the U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team wraps up group play on Wednesday, Sept. 19, Galavision will show the match on same-day delay at 7 p.m. ET & PT.

  • U.S. vs. Nigeria - Wednesday, Sept. 19, Galavision
    DELAYED: 7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT / 5 p.m. MT / 7 p.m. PT TO FEATURE MATCHTRACKER ON U.S. U-17s: Fans of U.S. Soccer and the U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team will be able to follow the USA's final match via U.S. Soccer's website and the "MatchTracker" system. In addition to being the home for daily notes and digital images of the team, will provide up-to-the-minute in-game coverage of the U.S. vs. Nigeria match starting at 5 p.m. ET.

SURPRISE! Each team has played two matches at the 2001 Under-17 World Championship, and Burkina Faso has emerged as the surprising team of the tournament. Burkina Faso opened the tournament with a 2-2 draw with Argentina after giving up a controversial penalty kick in the match's dying moments. On Monday night, Burkina Faso marched to an impressive 1-0 win against European champions Spain. With a win or a draw against Oman, Burkina Faso will advance to the quarterfinals in just the country’s second appearance at the Under-17 World Championship. Ironically, Burkina Faso nearly didn’t qualify for the 2001 World Championship, losing in the CAF semifinal to Guinea. Shortly thereafter, Guinea was disqualified from the tournament, and Burkina Faso advanced to the African final, where they lost to Nigeria, 3-0. The African country finished 10th at New Zealand ’99.

DOWN TO THE WIRE: Each team has one match left in the first round, and six spots in the quarterfinals are up for grabs. Only Brazil and Nigeria have clinched spots in the next round heading into Wednesday’s matches. Among the tantalizing matchups on the final two days of group play are Spain-Argentina on Thursday and Japan-France and Croatia-Australia on Wednesday. Spain, the European Champion, needs a win against Argentina to advance if Burkina Faso beats winless Oman. France will advance with a win or a draw against Japan, and Australia only needs a draw against Croatia to advance.