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U.S. Under-17 MNT Downs Australia 1-0

MANCHESTER, England (August 4, 2003) – Freddy Adu scored on a penalty kick awarded in the first half and the U.S. defense didn’t allow a shot on goal during the entire match as the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team defeated Australia 1-0 this afternoon in Liverpool, England. The game was the second of four World Championship preparation matches the USA is playing in England this week. The U-17s will next face a Manchester United youth team at 2 p.m. on Thursday, August 7.

The U.S. defense was stringent throughout the game, which was marred by numerous fouls committed by Australia as they tried to use their size to their advantage and were extremely physical throughout the match. Australia, who will also compete in the FIFA Under-17 World Championship, finished with 27 fouls, compared to only nine for the U.S. The U.S. backline was well organized by ‘keeper Phil Marfuggi and central defender Jonathan Spector as Australia wasn’t able to get one shot on goal.

“Going up against Australia, who will also compete in the World Championship, was a great challenge for us today,” said U-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Ellinger. “Australia committed a number of fouls, but we still were able to get the ball down and control most of the tempo. I would have liked another goal for some breathing room, but our defense did a good job to shut down their offensive attacks.”

Adu got the game-winning goal in the 41st minute after a nice give and go between midfielders Corey Ashe and Eddie Gaven. With the ball on the right sideline, Gaven gave a quick touch inside to Ashe and made a dash into the penalty area. Ashe was able to slip a pass through to Gaven, who collected the ball near the endline as defender Adrian Leijer sprinted towards him to defend. Gaven made a swift move to the inside and was tripped up by Leijer, giving the U.S. the attempt from the spot. 

Adu buried the penalty to the lower right, easily past the outstretched hands of Australian ‘keeper Nathan Hughes.

Despite the performance from the U.S. defense, Australia was never out of the game and was able to get some dangerous chances. The two best attempts for Australia both came on U.S. defensive miscues that almost led to own goals early in the second half.

The first came off an Australian free kick from about 30-yards out that curled into the swarm of players in the penalty area and skimmed off Gaven’s head into the goal as he tried to clear in from danger. The apparent own goal was called off as the side linesman’s called an Australian player offside.

The second close call came in the 63rd minute, when defender Brandon Owens’ clearance attempt on a dangerous cross hit the crossbar. Owens was defending forward Serkan Oksuz, who had sprinted inside the six-yard box to finish the service by midfielder Matt Christensen from the right side. Owens did well to keep Oksuz from getting to the ball, but as he tried to clear it from danger Oksuz gave him a slight push from behind, causing Owens to almost knock in an own goal.  

The U.S. controlled most of the tempo during the game, but was only able to get two shots on goal. 

In the 15th minute, the U.S. executed a perfect free kick play, but wasn’t able to find the back of the net. On the free kick from about 24-yards out, Adu made a nice dummy run over the ball, leaving it for John DiRaimondo. Reacting quickly, DiRaimondo knocked it back to Adu, who had streaked into the penalty area behind the Australian wall. Adu fired a low cross that Jamie Watson was able to collect about 15-yards out near the back post, but his shot attempt was deflected out for a corner.

This was the second game the U.S. has played in England since the team arrived on July 30. In their first preparation match on Saturday (Aug. 2), the U.S. downed the U-18 Blackburn Rovers 4-2 as Adu scored three second half goals.
The U.S. is will play in Group D at the World Championship in Finland from Aug. 13-30. The U.S. will face South Korea on Aug. 14, Sierra Leone on Aug. 17 and Spain on Aug. 20.

- U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team Game Report -

Participants:  U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team vs. Australia
Competition: World Championship Preparation Match
Location: Everton FC Training; Liverpool, England
Date: August 5, 2003
Weather: Warm, 80 degrees
Scoring Summary:
                                                 1st     2nd     Final
United States                              1         0        1
Australia                 0         0        0

USA – Freddy Adu (penalty kick)         41st minute

USA – 1-Phil Marfuggi; 12-Steve Curfman, 3-Jonathan Spector, 5-Brandon Owens; 7-Brian Grazier (10-Guillermo Gonzalez, 46), 15-Corey Ashe, 8-John DiRaimondo, 17-Danny Szetela, 4-Eddie Gaven; 11-Freddy Adu, 13-Jamie Watson (16-Adrian Chevannes, 78).
Subs not used: 6-Chris Germani, 18-Quentin Westberg, 12-Jacob Peterson, 9- Michael Harrington, 2-Kyle Helton, 28-Stephen Sandbo, 14-Julian Valentin 
AUS – 20-Nathan Hughes; 5-Keegan Wolfenden, 15-Adrian Leijer, 2-Ben Griffen; 11-Adam Casey, 7-Kristian Sarkies, 8-Erik Paartalu, 16-Dane Richardson (14-Richard Cardozo, 55), 13-Matt Christensen (18-Matthew Deegan, 74); 9-Dez Giraldi (3-Lachlan Cahill, 55), 10-Serkan Oksuz.

Statistical Summary:
                        USA      AUS
Shots                   2             0
Saves                  0            0
Corner Kick        12           4
Fouls                   9           27
Offside                3            2

Misconduct Summary:
AUS – Dez Giraldi (caution)         46th minute
USA – Danny Szetela (caution)        63rd
AUS – Matt Christensen (caution)        69th