U.S. U-20s Top Canada 2-1 in Final World Championship Tune-Up
- Eddie Gaven and Freddy Adu Score to Provide the U.S. With a Come-From-Behind Win
- 17-Year-Old Lee Nguyen Gets First International Cap With Under-20s
- College Players Return to Camp at The Home Depot Center, While MLS Players Return to Clubs Before Team Leaves for Holland on June 1
BLAINE, Minn. (May 18, 2005) — The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team fell behind early, but bounced back with two goals in a five-minute span late in the first half to defeat Canada 2-1 this evening in cold and rainy conditions at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn.
The U.S. fell behind halfway through the first half as forward Will Johnson was able to blast a shot high into the net from close range, but was able to bounce back with a strike from Eddie Gaven and a penalty kick from Freddy Adu. Gaven, the catalyst for the U.S. in his attacking midfield role, scored the equalizer in the 34th minute and then helped set-up Adu’s game-winning penalty kick a few minutes later with a great individual effort.
The victory served as the final preparation match for the U.S. before the team departs for the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, which will take place from June 10-July 2 in Holland. The 15 college players will travel back to Carson, Calif., to continue their camp at The Home Depot Center, while the seven Major League Soccer professionals will return to their respective club. The college players will remain in camp until May 28, at which time Schmid will announce his final 21-man roster for the World Youth Championship.
The U.S. is tentatively set to leave for Holland on June 1 and will have about a week-and-a-half of training before the tournament begins. The U.S. will play all three of its group matches in Enschede, opening the tournament against Argentina on June 11, before facing Germany on June 14 and finishing Group D play on June 18 against Egypt.
“This was an important game for us and I think we showed some character by coming back after giving up a goal and having to play from behind,” said U.S. Under-20 head coach Sigi Schmid. “A number of players really played well tonight and this was a big step in finalizing our selection process in terms of the roster we will be taking to Holland for the World Youth Championship.”
The U.S. was the dominant team during most of the game, but Canada struck first when Johnson finished from inside the box in the 27th minute. Midfielder Tyler Rosendlund had the ball near the top of the area and was able to find Johnson inside the box near the right post. The Chicago Fire forward received the ball and quickly turned on his defender before blasting a shot from ten yards out high past U.S. goalkeeper Andrew Kartunen.
Along with Gaven, forwards Chad Barrett and Lee Nguyen, who was starting his first-ever international match for the Under-20s, were impressive up front and were able to create a number of chances for the U.S. including the equalizer in the 34th minute.
On the goal, Nguyen had the ball on the left flank, just over the halfway line and found Barrett in the midfield, who quickly turned and looked up field to see Gaven streaking toward the penalty area. Barrett slipped the ball past defender Brad Peetoom where Gaven was able to run onto the pass and get just enough of a touch on the ball to push it past Wagenaar as it slowly rolled over the goal line before any tracking defenders could clear it away.
A few minutes later, Gaven challenged a poor back pass to Wagenaar and was able to deflect the ‘keeper’s clearance. Gaven collected the deflection on the left side of the penalty area and played a ball into the box for Nguyen making a run in the box. After his initial touch, a Canadian defender took down Nguyen and the referee pointed to the spot.
Adu, who was playing with the U-20s for the first time since the qualifying tournament in January, stepped up to take the penalty kick in the 38th minute, finishing it to the left side of the goal as the ‘keeper dove the opposite direction. It was Adu’s third goal on the year (all penalties), good enough for second place on the team behind Gaven in first with four strikes.
Nguyen, who is the only high school player on the roster, was one of the most impressive players on the night in his first appearance. The 17-year-old was a last minute replacement as a sore back kept Jacob Peterson out of the starting linuep. During the match, he was a force up front, finding spaces in the Canada defense and creating chances on goal. After being part of both of the team’s goals in the first half, Nguyen almost scored his own goal in the second half on a fantastic move in the box where he cut back leaving two defenders in his wake, but he didn’t get enough on his shot and it was saved by Wagenaar.
The U.S. team was absolutely dominate in the second half on both ends of the field, forcing Wagenaar into seven saves and only allowing Canada to get one shot off, which wasn’t even on goal. Despite the numerous attempts the U.S. created, they were unable to find the back of the net to add some breathing room. Along with Nguyen, Adu, Patrick Ianni, and Will John all were stoned by Wagenaar, as he was able to allow Canada the chance to possibly find a late equalizer.
The match was also preparation for Canada as the northern neighbor will also compete at the FIFA World Youth Championship in June. Canada is in Group E and will face Syria, Italy and Columbia.
U.S. Under-20 Head Coach Sigi Schmid
On having Freddy Adu back in the lineup:
“This is the first time we’ve had Freddy back in awhile and I think you could see that the understanding got better as the game when on, but in the first 15-20 minutes it was hit or miss and that is the reason we needed to get him in for games. As we prepare for Holland, what is important for us is figuring out how pieces of the puzzle fit together.”
On the play of Lee Nguyen, who got his first cap:
“I thought Lee Nguyen had a great first game. He’s a player who’s got very good quickness and very good feet. He just has an ability to find spaces in the box and is a very quick learner. He was involved in both goals today and one that we may need to find a spot for in Holland.”
On what the schedule is for players in camp before the team leaves for Holland:
“We still want to get some game next week, we’re not sure what. We will still continue to train with the college guys and we will begin our final phase of our fitness. We just want to be sharp and fresh and then give the guys some rest for two or three days before getting on the plane. Then, when we get there we will do about eight days of work before we play our opening match.”
Midfielder Eddie Gaven
On the first goal:
“The ball started on the left hand side and Lee (Nguyen) made a nice play to get the ball to Chad (Barrett). He was able to get the ball to me and I got a shot off before the ‘keeper came out. When I first hit it, I didn’t think I put enough on it. But I just watched it for three or four seconds hoping it would go in and it finally did.”
On the second goal:
“Before the game we were talking about how we needed to get pressure on their backline and when that ball was sent to the goalie it was kind of a bad pass. I just kind of stuck my leg out there and got it, found Lee (Nguyen) in the box and then Freddy (Adu) did his thing with the finish.”
Midfielder Freddy Adu
On how the team is looking as they get closer to the World Youth Championship:
“We’re still not there yet, because we haven’t all been playing together that much, but we’re getting there. We just need to work on moving the ball and on our space. In a matter of time we will get there and we’ll be ready for the world championship.”
Forward Lee Nguyen
On his getting his first cap:
“It was definitely a shock when (assistant coach) John (Harkes) came over and told me I was starting because Jacob (Peterson) was hurt. Before the game I had a big adrenaline rush. I was going real fast, but I had to settle myself down. After I got a few touches, it kept going from there.”
- U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Game Report -
Participants: USA vs. Canada
Location: National Sports Center; Blaine, Minn.
Date: May 18, 2005
Weather: Cool and rainy, 55 degrees
1 2 F
USA 2 0 2
Canada 1 0 1
CAN – Will Johnson (Tyler Rosendlund) 27th minute
USA – Eddie Gaven (Chad Barrett) 34.
USA – Freddy Adu (penalty kick) 38.
USA: 18-Andrew Kartunen; 2-Marvell Wynne (4-Hunter Freeman, 79), 5-Patrick Ianni (Capt.), 3-Nathan Sturgis, 16-Tim Ward; 11-Freddy Adu, 6-Greg Dalby, 10-Eddie Gaven (7-Sacha Kljestan, 84), 8-Benny Feilhaber (19-Danny Szetela, 68), 9-Chad Barrett (17-Charlie Davies, 87), 14-Lee Nguyen (20-Will John, 71).
Subs not used: 1-Justin Hughes, 12-Brad Evans, 13-Jacob Peterson, 15-Patrick Phelan, 22-Sean Franklin, 25-Michael Harrington.
Head Coach: Sigi Schmid.
CAN: 1-Josh Wagenaar; 2-Graham Ramalho, 3-Vince Stewart (13-Simon Kassaye, 46), 4-Andrew Hainault, 5-Brad Peetoom, 6-Carlo Schiavoni (14-Matthew Britner, 46), 7-Jamie Peters, 8-Tyler Rosendlund, 9-Ryan Gyaki (Capt.); 10-Will Johnson, 11-Franco Lalli (15-Cam Wilson, 66)
Subs not used: 12-Tomek Charowski, 22-Asmir Begovic.
Head Coach: Dale Mitchell
Shots 16 5
Shots on goal 10 3
Saves 2 8
Fouls 13 14
Corner Kicks 4 3
Offside 0 1
USA - Marvell Wynne (caution) 45th minute
Referee: Terry Vaughn (USA)
1st Assistant: Fotis Bazakos (USA)
2nd Assistant: Jeremy Schroeder (USA)
Fourth Official: Bob Petersen (USA)