FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. (April 21, 2004) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team edged the Haiti Select team 1-0 behind a goal from midfielder Craig Capano tonight in front of 9,105 fans at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The victory is the second for the U-20s during their weeklong camp in South Florida as a day earlier the U.S. defeated Jamaica 1-0 in Sunrise.
“We played a good game tonight and beat a good Haiti team,” said U.S. Under-20 head coach Thomas Rongen. “I’m pleased with the result. As we continue to move forward our ultimate goal is to continue winning, gain team chemistry and evaluate our best players as we work towards the world championship next year.”
The first half was fast paced as both teams pushed forward and had chances on goal, with the U.S. getting the majority of opportunities, but Haiti hit the post just seconds before the halftime whistle. The U.S. outshot Haiti nine to four in the first half, putting six on goal, but Haitian ‘keeper Jonathan Barraza was the best player on the field, making numerous highlight-reel saves.
In the seventh minute, the U.S. had a nice run of play that started with a tough tackle by midfielder Danny Szetela at midfield. Szetela’s slide tackle knocked the ball towards Freddy Adu, who played a give-and-go with Capano, receiving the ball near the top of the penalty area. With a quick juke, Adu pushed it past his defender on the right and dribbled into the box, before heeling the ball back to Watson, who’s left-footed attempt was off the mark.
Two minutes later, Haiti showed its ability to cause havoc on the other end of the field as midfielder Ricardo Pierre-Louis got free down the left flank and sent in a dangerous cross, but knocked it too deep for forward Fuerto Charles to chase down.
Capano took his first strike of the game in the 18th minute after a good buildup got him an open look. Starting on the right sideline, Adu slipped a pass between defenders to Eddie Gaven, who slyly let it pass through his legs to Szetela at the top of the penalty area. Szetela looked for a shot, but with a defender fronting him, pushed it to his left to Capano, who took an off balance shot that went just to the outside of the lower right post.
Five minutes later, Capano put his next shot on goal, curling a 28-yard free kick to the lower right corner, but Barraza did a remarkable job to dive down with his left paw to knock it out for a corner kick.
Forward Jamie Watson created a number of chances in the first 45 minutes as well, taking a number of shots at all areas of the field. In the 38th minute, Watson had his best chance with a great individual effort only to be denied by Barraza. The speedy forward dispossessed Haiti’s left back, dribbled into the box and with Adu running with him on his right, juked his defender before ripping a shot from eight yards out. It looked like Barraza was going to get beat to the near post, but the ‘keeper made a reflexive save to parry it over the bar.
The action-packed half went all the way up to the final minute as both teams put shots on frame. The U.S. was first as Gaven forced a turnover inside Haiti’s penalty area and quickly dropped the ball back to Adu, who shot on goal was saved by Barraza. Moments later, Haiti came inches from taking a lead into the half as Pierre-Louis got free atop the 18-yard box and pulled the trigger, hitting the crossbar.
The second half picked up where the first half left off as the U.S. put even more shots on target, starting with a great opportunity in the 52nd minute off a free kick. Adu swerved in the dead ball from the left sideline and Gaven rose to flick it back across the goal with his head to a wide-open McClung. With Barraza out of position, the defender’s header hit the crossbar and bounced back to Watson, who tried to bang it home, but hit it over the bar with a defender on his back.
In the 64th minute, second half substitute Kamani Hill got into the action just three minutes after stepping on the field. The forward received a perfect through ball by Gaven on the left side of the penalty area and hit a well-struck ball that beat Barraza, only to hit the right post and stay out of the net.
Seven minutes later, Capano was able to break the tie and get the eventual game winner. Capano received a square ball from Gaven at the top of the box, took a few quick touches to the right and hit a cracker back across the goal, just getting the left post and deflecting into the net.
“Earlier in the game I had been taken shots from outside, but I wasn’t hitting good shots and I was hitting them off people, so I was looking to pass initially,” said the Chicago Fire midfielder. “Then, I took a touch and things opened up and I just smacked it.”
The U.S. almost doubled their lead in the 74th minute when Adu sent in a corner kick from the left side to the back post where Tim Ward was able to head it back across to McClung. Sitting in the same spot as before when he headed off the post, McClung volley out of the air just zipped over the bar.
In the final 10 minutes, Haiti pushed into the U.S. backline looking for the equalizer, but both of their attempts went safely over the bar.
Notes: Before the match, a moment of silence was given in memory of Nicole Megaloudis, the stepdaughter of Rongen, who died in a car accident two months ago at the age of 19 … A portion of the proceeds from the game will benefit the Nicole Megaloudis Foundation … The U.S. will play two more games before the end of camp, facing Jamaica on Thursday and Haiti on Saturday.
Participants: U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team vs. Haiti Select
Competition: International Friendly
Location: Lockhart Stadium; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Date: April 21, 2004
Weather: Warm; 75 degrees
1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
Haiti Select 0 0 0
USA – Craig Capano (Eddie Gaven) 71st minute.
USA: 1-Andrew Kartunen; 6-Erik Ustruck, 14-Kiel McClung, 5-Nathan Sturgis; 4-Eddie Gaven, (16-Will John, 86), 8-Craig Capano (capt.) (12-Stuart Holden, 81), 9-Michael Bradley (3-Tim Ward, 61), 10-Arturo Alvarez, 7-Danny Szetela; 11-Freddy Adu (17-Mike Orozco, 89), 13-Jamie Watson (20-Kamani Hill, 61).
Subs not used: 18-Stephen Sandbo, 23-Kevin Long, 2-Patrick Phelan, 15-Brandon Owens, 21-Christian Jimenez, 24-Justin Hughes.
Injured: 22-Adrian Chevannes.
HAI: 1-Jonathan Barraza; 3-Lugens Cajuste, 5-Ricardo Champagne (capt.) (8-Sebastien Vorbe, 67), 7-Leo Sousa (6-Fabrice Noel, 46); 10-James St. Cyr (4-Mathias Vorbe, 67), 11-Ricardo Pierre-Louis (19-Junior Borno, 46 ; 2-Junior Moise, 80), 12-Frantz Almanar, 14-Miko Karim (13-Judes Maceus, 46), 16-Moise St. Thil; 17-Ralf Rousseau, 18-Fuerto Charles (9-Marco Vorbe, 90).
Subs not used: 15-Andre Kercens.
Shots 20 6
Saves 3 12
Corner Kick 6 1
Fouls 23 19
Offside 1 6
HAI – Fuerto Charles (caution) 8th minute.
USA – Michael Bradley (caution) 20.
HAI – Lugens Cajuste (caution) 75.
Head Referee: Hector Tobon
Assistant: Reginald Rutty
Assistant: Brian Poeschel
4th Official: Adam Nehme
Post Match Quotes
Head Coach Thomas Rongen
On if he was pleased with the victory…
“Our objectives this week is first to get results. We are 2-0 right now as we beat Jamaica yesterday and then a good Haiti team today. For me there is no substitution for winning as it breads a good feeling. I’m pleased we were able to create enough chances to win the game. We did a good job of getting the result.”
On looking ahead…
“We’re trying to build team chemistry right now and look at some new players. There were a few players that played today that I didn’t know much about, which was the same as yesterday. There is an ongoing process of evaluation of finding the best 20 players.”
On the atmosphere at the stadium…
“I think the large crowd showed that people cared. I told my assistant coaches that this was a really exciting match and the crowd was really getting into the game, which made it even better. This turned out to be a very, very special evening that I think everyone will be able to enjoy for a long time.”
On the pace of the match…
“I told my assistant coaches that this was a great game, it was enjoyable. It was a tribute to both teams that they wanted to attack and play good football.”
Forward Freddy Adu
On his performance in the match…
“I did alright. It was a really good atmosphere and we got the win. That’s the most important thing, so now everybody is happy.”
On his ankle injury…
“It’s just a reoccurring ankle injury. It is one of those things when you think it is going away and then it comes right back. After that I was a little scared to go in because whenever I got hit there it hurt pretty bad, but if you want to be the best you have to suck it up and play through an injury.”
Midfielder Eddie Gaven
On the number of chances the U.S. got…
“I thought we moved the ball well at times. There was definitely a lot of space out there, especially near the end of the game when guys were getting tired. There were stretches in the game where we played really well and we just need to keep it at that level throughout the game more.”
Midfielder Arturo Alvarez
On the play overall…
“It was a good game. We knew we were going to play a good side, so we were prepared for it. I’m happy with the win.”
On how the team is coming together…
“We’re trying to find the best team to put out there, so we can represent our country and qualify for the Under-20 World Championship in 2005. The more games we get the better. We get to know each other on and off the field and that is something good for the team.”