BRADENTON, Fla. (Thursday, September 6, 2001) - In the United States' final match before departing on Sunday for the Under-17 World Championship in Trinidad & Tobago, the USA fought to a hot, humid 0-0 draw with Australia at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The U.S. was denied on a trio of great chances late in the game, and John Ellinger's squad was forced to settle for a physical draw. The draw ends the USA's record 11-game international winning streak that dated back more than a year to June 9, 2000.
The United States' defense continued its impressive play, notching a second consecutive shutout against a talented offensive squad. In six qualifying matches for the 2001 World Championship, Australia went undefeated and outscored their opponents 52-0. But the U.S. defense kept the Aussies at bay for most of the afternoon. U.S. goalkeeper Adam Schuerman recorded just two saves in the shutout.
U.S. striker Erwin Diaz, who replaced an injured Santino Quaranta in the 13th minute, nearly gave the U.S. the lead twice in the 72nd minute. He raced behind the Australian defense, but had his one-on-one shot blocked by the onrushing goalkeeper. Moments later Diaz intercepted a back pass and one-timed his effort toward the lower left corner, only to be denied by a great reaction save from the Australia goalkeeper.
Justin Mapp, a second-half substitution, came inches from an 89th-minute gamewinner, but the Australian goalkeeper dove to full extension and just pushed his 23-yard shot wide of the post.
The U.S. also had the best opportunities early in the match, as Quaranta shook a defender and blasted just high from 15 yards. Two minutes later, Ed Johnson pulled the ball back and set up Chirs Lancos', but Lancos' right-footed blast went just wide of the left post.
Each side used the match to get quality play out of their benches, made six substitutions apiece. Ellinger started four players who didn't start in the USA's 1-0 win over Brazil on Sunday.
The game was a rematch of the 1999 Under-17 World Championship semifinal, where the Aussies topped the USA in a penalty kick shootout after a 2-2 draw. Australia went on to draw with Brazil in the final and then fall in penalty kicks to finish second.
The United States will train in Bradenton, Fla., until Sept. 9, when they will fly to Tobago in advance of their Sept. 14 opening match against Japan. The team will continue first round play on Sept. 16 against France, the runner-up in Europe, (6:30 p.m. ET) and Sept. 19 against Nigeria, champions of Africa, (5 p.m. ET). All three of the USA's first round matches will take place at Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago.
2001 U.S. UNDER-17 MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team vs. Australia|
|Venue:||IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)|
|Date:||September 6, 2001|
USA - 18-Adam Schuerman; 2-David Chun, 12-Gray Griffin, 20-Tyson Wahl (5-Hunter Freeman, 65), 8-Jordan Harvey (capt.); 13-David Johnson (19-Greg Dalby, 46), 6-Chris Lancos (16-Craig Capano, 38), 11-Chefik Simo (3-Justin Mapp, 52), 4-Paul Johnson (7-Mike Magee, 46); 10-Eddie Johnson, 9-Santino Quaranta (21-Erwin Diaz, 13).