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U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team Topples U-18 Manchester United 2-1

MANCHESTER, England (August 7, 2003) - The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team responded with two goals in 10 minutes after allowing an early goal and held on for a 2-1 win against U-18 Manchester United this afternoon at Carrington Training Center in Manchester, England.

The match was the third game the U.S. has played here in England as the team gets prepared to compete in the FIFA Under-17 World Championship in Finland from August 13-30. The U.S. will face the Nigeria U-17 Men’s National Team in its final preparation match on Saturday, August 9 at Manchester United’s Carrington Training Center.

After allowing an early goal that deflected off a U.S. defender, Freddy Adu answered with a goal and an assist to lead the team back to victory. United’s goal in the 10th minute proved to be their only shot on goal during the entire game.

The U.S. got the first good look on goal in the 5th minute, when midfielder Guillermo Gonzalez hit the crossbar. Gonzalez stepped in front of a United pass in their own half, quickly turned up field and dribbled towards his left. With ‘keeper Luke Daniels a bit off his line, Gonzalez ripped a shot from about 30 yards out, but Daniels was just able backtrack to get a hand on the ball knocking it up and off the crossbar.

United struck five minutes later, scoring on their only shot on goal. Forward Sylvan Blake, a well-built speedster who gave the U.S. defense trouble all day, received a pass as he streaked down the left flank. With defender Adrian Chevannes on his heels, Blake pushed the ball down the endline and then curled the ball back into the penalty area to midfielder Marcus Neumayer. A bit off balance, Neumayer’s one-time volley had little pace on it as it dashed towards the crowded goalmouth, but it ricocheted off defender Julian Valentin and rolled in the back of the net.

United had a great chance to go up by two goals as Blake slipped through for a wide-open net, but midfielder Steve Curfman hustled back to make an astonishing foot save to clear Blake’s shot wide of the goal. Blake collected the ball in the right side of the penalty area and pushed it to his left forcing ‘keeper Quentin Westberg to come out. Westberg went to the ground, but Blake pushed it to his left again around the keeper and had an open net. Blake tried to place it in the net, but Curfman came from behind to slide in front knock it wide.

In the 15th minute, Michael Harrington nearly had his first goal during the three preparation matches, but a well-timed save by Daniels thwarted his opportunity. Gonzalez slotted a perfect through ball to Harrington, who was left with a one-on-one with Daniels. Harrington tried to slip the ball to the lower left past Daniels, but he dove to his right to keep United’s 1-0 advantage.

Three minutes later, Chris Germani, who started at left midfield, almost knocked in a header for the equalizer. Making a near post run, Germani pounced on Gonzalez’s free kick from the right sideline, but Daniels was in perfect position to pull in the attempt.

The U.S. finally got the equalizer in the 40th minute, after a United giveaway near the center circle. Harrington quickly got the ball out wide left to Germani, who brought the ball towards the endline and glided a ball on the ground across the goalmouth to a wide-open Adu. Adu, making a run from midfield, easily knocked it in from the edge of the six-yard box.

Early in the second half, the U.S. broke the tie as Jamie Watson got his second goal in the past three games in the 50th minute. The U.S. was awarded a free kick from the left side of the penalty area after Adu was taken down while possessing the ball against two United defenders. Adu crossed in the free kick and substituted United ‘keeper Lee Crockett misread its movement as it bounced near the six-yard box, allowing Watson to slide in and knock the ball home.

The U.S. had a couple of other chances, most of which were created by second half substitute Corey Ashe at the left midfield position. Ashe worked diligently up the left flank, starting attacks on goal with Adu and Watson.

United last opportunity came in the 71st minute off a corner kick from Neumayer. The service from the right side found Kyle Moran at the back post, but his header went high.

In injury time, the U.S. had a bit of a scare as Adu went down in the box after a shot attempt. Being defended on the attempt, Adu knocked into the United player and came down oddly on his ankle. Adu stayed on the field and got treatment for a few minutes before walking off on his own power. The injury was said to be a slight ankle sprain and there was no swelling.

He is listed as day-to-day and it is uncertain whether he will play against Nigeria.


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

Participants: U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team vs. Manchester United U-18
Competition: World Championship Preparation Match
Location: Carrington Training Center
Date: August 7, 2003
Weather: Warm; 75 degrees

Scoring Summary:
                        1st 2nd Final
United States      1   1      2
Manchester U-18 1    0     1

MAN – Marcus Neumayer (Sylvain Blake) 10th minute
USA – Freddy Adu (Chris Germani) 40th
USA – Jamie Watson (Freddy Adu) 50th

USA – 18-Quentin Westberg; 14-Julian Valentin (5-Brandon Owens, 46), 3-Jonathan Spector, 16-Adrian Chevannes (4-Eddie Gaven, 46); 19-Jacob Peterson (2-Kyle Helton, 22) 12-Steve Curfman, 6-Chris Germani (8-John DiRaimondo, 46), 7-Brian Grazier (17-Daniel Szetela, 46), 10-Guillermo Gonzalez (15-Corey Ashe, 46); 11-Freddy Adu, 9-Michael Harrington (13-Jamie Watson, 46).
Subs not used: 1-Phil Marfuggi, 28-Steven Sandbo

MAN – 1-Luke Daniels (13-Lee Crockett, 46); 3-Michael Lee, 5-Paul McShane, 4-Flo Ngalula, 2-Mitchell Booth; 7-Marcus Neumayer, 8-Richard Jones (17-Jamie Mullen, 57), 6-Kiernon Lee, 11-Aaron Burns; 9-Sylvain Blake (12-Kyle Moran, 61), 10-Phil Marsh.

Statistical Summary:
                   USA  MAN
Shots             8       1
Saves             0      6
Corner Kick     4      7
Fouls             15     15
Offside            3      0

Misconduct Summary: