US SoccerUS Soccer

U.S. Falls to Korea Republic to Close Out Opening Round

  • U.S. Finishes Group C in Third Place, Can Still Advance Pending Results of Groups E and F
  • Germany Takes Top Place in the Group, with Korea Republic Finishing Second

SUEZ, Egypt (Oct. 2, 2009) – The U.S. rounded out group play at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup in third place with three points following a 3-0 loss to Korea Republic at Mubarak Stadium in Suez, Egypt.

Despite the loss, the U.S. finished in third place in Group C, meaning they still have a chance to advance to the Round of 16, based on results in other groups who have yet to play their respective third games.

Germany won 3-0 against Cameroon to take the group title with seven points from three games while keeping Cameroon on three points and behind the U.S. due to goal differential. Korea Republic began the day needing a win to stay alive, and used their victory against the U.S. to propel themselves to four points and second place in the group.

With England and Uzbekistan tying 1-1 in the nightcap in Suez, the U.S. has finished ahead of Uzbekistan, who had one point after three matches to finish in third place ahead of England. Third-place finishers Italy, from Group A, and Nigeria, from Group B, have already finished ahead of the U.S. team. To advance, the U.S. needs to finish ahead of one of the third-place teams in Group E or F after the final day of group play on Saturday night.

The U.S. team will stay in Suez through Saturday night, and if they advance they will travel to Cairo on Sunday, Oct. 4 to prepare for a Round of 16 match against Egypt, winners of Group A.

“First we congratulate Korea, because clearly today they were the better team and deserved the three points and to move on,” said U.S. head coach Thomas Rongen after the match. “Unfortunately in today’s game, to be really frank, technically and tactically Korea was superior to the U.S. You just have to move on. We’re bitterly disappointed in the result. We came in with high expectations. We always set the bar high. But at the end of the day, we just weren’t good enough to get the result that we needed.”

Both the U.S. and Korea Republic started off the game frantically, with neither team able to settle into a rhythm and both exchanging turnovers. After an unsettled opening 20 minutes, the match sprang to life, with Korea carving out the first real chance of the match. A dangerous corner kick was not cleared fully, and Korean captain Koo Ja-Cheol took a touch in the area before drilling a shot at goal from 12 yards out. U.S. goalkeeper and captain Brian Perk flung his body at the shot and bravely deflected it onto the crossbar.

Picking up the rebound, Perk rolled the ball out and ignited a U.S. counterattack. Moving the ball forward, Brek Shea found Tony Taylor who laid the ball off to Bryan Arguez. The midfielder's shot was tipped over by the Korean goalkeeper in what was his only save of the day.

Korea opened the scoring three minutes later, with the danger again coming from a corner kick. The outswinging ball was only partially dealt with before falling to Kim Young Gwon near the penalty spot. Kim took one touch before curling the ball off the inside of the post and past a helpless Perk.

The U.S. searched for a positive response but just before halftime they were pegged back further. Park Hee-Seong clipped a ball to the far post over the leaping Sheanon Williams. The ball dropped on the foot of Kim Bo-Kyung who took a quick touch before lashing a left-footed shot into the bottom left-hand corner of the U.S. goal past an outstretched Perk.

The U.S. went on a quest for a goal in the second half but Korea was equal to the task. With Jorge Flores and Williams getting forward on the flanks, the USA was finding space in dangerous areas. However, ball after ball into the penalty area was cleared without any danger by the resilient Koreans, who were clearly content with their two goal advantage.

Danny Cruz had the best chance of the second half for the USA, after a flowing counterattack move finished with second-half sub Peri Marosevic feeding the ball to his teammate inside the area. Cruz wound up for a shot but his effort was blocked well by Korean defender Kim Min-Woo.

In the 75th minute the result was all but confirmed when defender Ike Opara was adjudged to have brought down Koo. Opara challenged Koo in the area and though the Korean captain made the most of the tackle, the referee pointed to the spot and gave Opara his second yellow of the day. Koo stepped up and buried the penalty himself, the third spot kick of the tournament to go against the USA.

The Americans looked to try to get a goal back in the remaining 15 minutes, but, down to 10 men and having already used the three allotted substitutions, their effort fell short and the game finished 3-0.

In addition to Opara’s suspension, should the U.S. advance to the Round of 16 they will be without the service of Williams who earned his second yellow card of the tournament.

The game was the third meeting between Korea Republic and the U.S. in the last four Under-20 FIFA World Cups, and the teams now have an even 1-1-1 record with the U.S. winning in 2007 and a draw coming in 2003. 

                            - U.S. UNDER-20 MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT -

Match: U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team vs. Korea Republic
Date: Oct. 2, 2009
Competition: 2009 FIFA Under-20 World Cup
Venue: Mubarak Stadium; Suez, Egypt
Kickoff: 6:45 p.m. (12:45 p.m. ET)
Attendance: TBA
Weather: 87 degrees, clear

Scoring Summary: 1     2     F
USA                         0     0     0
KOR                         2     1     3

KOR – Kim Young-Gwon (Moon Ki-Han)         23rd minute
KOR – Kim Bo-Kyung (Park Hee-Seong)          42
KOR – Koo Ja-Cheol (penalty kick)                 75

USA: 13-Brian Perk (capt.); 4-Sheanon Williams, 2-Gale Agbossoumonde, 16-Ike Opara, 19-Jorge Flores; 8-Jared Jeffrey (6-Kyle Davies, 73), 17-Bryan Arguez (11-Mikkel Diskerud, 62), 10-Dilly Duka; 5-Danny Cruz, 7-Tony Taylor (9-Peri Marosevic, 46), 20-Brek Shea
Subs not used: 1-Sean Johnson, 18-Josh Lambo, 3-Dillon Powers, 12-Aaron Maund, 14-Gerson Mayen, 21-Michael Stephens
Head coach: Thomas Rongen

KOR: 12-Kim Seung-Gyu; 2-Oh Jae-Suk (18-Lee Seung-Yeoul, 52), 3-Kim Min-Woo, 5-Kim Young-Gwon, 6-Hong Jeong-Ho, 7-Koo Ja-Cheol (capt.), 11-Seo Jung-Jin, 14-Moon Ki-Han, 17-Yun Suk-Young, 19-Kim Bo-Kyung, 20-Park Hee-Seong
Subs Not Used: 1-Lee Bum-Young, 21-Kim Da-Sol; 4-Lim Jong-Eun, 8-Seo Yong-Duk, 9-Kim Dong-Sub, 10-Cho Young-Cheol, 13-Jeong Dong-Ho, 15-Choi Sung-Guen, 16-Jang Suk-Won
Head Coach: Hong Myung-Bo

Stats Summary: USA / KOR
Shots: 10 / 11
Shots on Goal: 1 / 7
Saves: 4 / 1
Corner Kicks: 1 / 5
Fouls: 16 / 8
Offside: 1 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Gale Agbossoumonde (caution)         29th minute
USA – Bryan Arguez (caution)                     48
USA – Ike Opara (caution)                          66
USA – Ike Opara (caution)                          74
USA – Ike Opara (sent off)                          74
USA – Kyle Davies (caution)                        76
USA – Brek Shea (caution)                          78
USA – Sheanon Williams (caution)               90+4

Referee: Roberto Rosetti (ITA)
Assistant Referee 1: Paolo Calcagno (ITA)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefano Ayroldi (ITA)
Fourth Official: Hector Baldassi (ARG)