* San Jose Earthquake Forward Arturo Alvarez Gets Winning Goal On 25-Yard Free Kick
* U.S. Defense Gives Up First Goal in Four Games During Their 7-Day Training Camp in Sunrise
* Under-20s Finish Camp and Travel Home on Sunday
SUNRISE, Fla. (April 24, 2004) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team struggled in their fourth game in five days, but still managed to come away with a 2-1 victory against the South Florida Select behind goals from Jamie Watson and Arturo Alvarez this afternoon in Sunrise, Fla. The match brought the Under-20’s third camp of the year to a close, as the players will travel home on Sunday morning.
“We didn’t play the best to our abilities today, but I’m happy we still were able to come away with the victory,” U.S. Under-20 head coach Thomas Rongen said. “I am pleased with what I saw during the week and it was a plus to get positive results in all four matches, but more importantly, I had a chance to see how these 23 players performed against international competition. We’ll continue to evaluate the players in our pool as we move closer to qualifying for the U-20 World Championship in 2005, and begin to mold our roster for that tournament.”
The Under-20s were scheduled to play Haiti Select, which they defeated 1-0 on April 21, but Haiti informed the U.S. it was unable to participate late Friday afternoon. South Florida Select, a combination of the top college players in the area, was able to fill in at the last moment and provided the Under-20s with a quality opponent that tested their defensive backline. Without a goalkeeper, the USA’s Stephen Sandbo filled in for South Florida in front of the net.
The U.S. jumped out to an early lead in the third minute as Alvarez hit the ball with the outside of his right foot from midfield to a streaking Watson, who had gotten behind the South Florida defense. Watson collected the ball about 25-yards from goal and with just Sandbo to beat, calmly placed the ball to the upper-right side of the goal.
After falling behind, South Florida came to life and began dominating the flow of the game for the next 20 minutes by keeping possession and finding holes in the U-20 backline. South Florida’s first shot came in the 10th minute as midfielder Leo Souza got free down the left flank and sent in a cross to the back post to Sam Dzegede, but his header went wide left. Five minutes later, Dzegede height gave the U.S. trouble again. Hugh Leefha served in a ball from the right sideline and Dzegede rose above Danny Szetela to head a cross from back into the front of the goal for John Camare, who hit his volley over the bar.
In the 21st minute, South Florida found the equalizer with a nice give-and-go between Jared Rose and Camare in midfield. Holding possession about 40 yards from goal, Camare touched it to his right to Rose, who quickly knocked it ahead, back to Camare as he raced towards goal. The strong forward was able to hold off U.S. left back Nathan Sturgis, collect the ball and bury his shot past Andrew Kartunen into the upper right of the net.
The U.S. had two good chances to regain the lead, but Sandbo came up big for South Florida with stops on Will John and Watson in a four minute span. Szetela started the first chance in the 27th minute as he won a challenge at midfield and pushed the ball up the right flank for Watson. Watson crossed it in for forward John, who one-timer was saved by Sandbo as he just got a piece of to knock out for a corner kick. A few minutes later, Watson collected a ball just outside the penalty area and with a defender blocking Sandbo’s view ripped a shot that looked destined for the lower-left corner before the lanky ‘keeper stretched out a paw to knock it clear.
Alvarez gave the U.S. the game-winner in the 38th minute off a free kick awarded 25-yards from goal after a South Florida defender was called for a handball. The San Jose Earthquake forward powered the dead ball around the South Florida wall and into the upper-left corner of the goal, giving Sandbo no chance to make a save.
Sandbo made two more saves before half, to keep South Florida down by only a goal. In the 42nd minute, Watson crossed the ball to a wide-open Szetela at the top of the 18-yard box and the midfielder unleashed a bullet on goal, but Sandbo punched it out for a corner. Two minutes later, Alvarez took a free kick from almost the exact spot as the one he scored on earlier, but this time tried to find the upper-right corner, only to see Sandbo reach up and parry it over the bar.
At halftime, the Rongen subbed in a number of players or moved them to different positions. Justin Hughes replaced Kartunen in goal, Watson dropped back to midfield as Kamani Hill came in at forward and Szetela switched from an inside midfielder to outside right.
The second half, both sides had a number of opportunities to add to the score, but neither could convert.
The U.S. had the first chance in the 51st minute as second half substitute Christian Jimenez curled in a cross from the left flank that John headed just inches over the crossbar.
During the next 20 minutes, South Florida peppered the U.S. goal, but struggled to get their chances on goal. In the 62nd minute, it appeared South Florida had found the equalizer as Camare knocked in a rebound off a save by Hughes on a strike by Matias Asorey, but Camare was called offside.
Three minutes later, Asorey put another shot on goal as he drilled a knuckling ball from 35 yards out that had Hughes beat, but found the crossbar to allow the U.S. to keep their one-goal lead.
In the 69th minute it looked as though the U.S. would get some breathing room as Szetela slipped a through ball straight up the field to Hill, who had timed his run perfectly to beat the offside trap. With Sandbo coming off his line to cut off the forward’s angle, Hill hit his shot wide left of the target.
In the final minute of the match, Sturgis guaranteed the U.S. would finish their weeklong training camp with four victories as he headed the final South Florida shot off the line. On the play, Oscar Gil raced up the right sideline and sent in a low cross that Walter Yoder and Hughes both tried to win, colliding into each other and allowing the ball to continue to the far post. With Hughes on the ground, Asorey put a shot on goal, but Sturgis was there to head it clear.
Participants: U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team vs. South Florida Select
Location: Sunrise, Fla.
Date: April 24, 2004
Weather: Warm; 80 degrees
1st 2nd Final
United States 2 0 2
South Florida Select 1 0 1
USA – Jamie Watson (Arturo Alvarez) 3rd minute
SFS – John Camare (Jared Rose) 21st
USA – Arturo Alvarez (free kick) 38th
USA – 1-Andrew Kartunen (24-Justin Hughes, 46); 14-Kiel McClung (2-Patrick Phelan, 25), 5-Nathan Sturgis, 15-Brandon Owens (17-Mike Orozco, 46 ; 6-Erik Ustruck, 75), 3-Tim Ward; 9-Michael Bradley (21-Christian Jimenez, 46), 7-Danny Szetela, 12-Stuart Holden (20-Kamani Hill, 46), Arturo Alvarez (23-Kevin Long, 87); 13-Jamie Watson, 16-Will John.
SFS – 18-Stephen Sandbo; 2-Bobby Boswell, 6-Lugens Cajuste, 9-Hugh Leefha; 15-Jim Rooney, 3-Sam Dzegede (8-Matias Asorey, 36), 7-Jared Rose, 16-Leo Souza, 4-Walter Yoder (3-Sam Dzegede, 61); 11-Oscar Gil, 17-John Camare (4-Walter Yoder, 75).
Shots 13 10
Shots on goal 8 3
Saves 2 6
Corner Kick 4 4
Fouls 10 10
Offside 9 4
USA – Arturo Alvarez (caution) 34th minute