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U.S. Under-17 MNT Notes - Sixth Edition of Jules Undercover Journal

U.S. Under-17 MNT Notes
August 15, 2003
Lahti, Finland

After a rousing 6-1 win over Korea, the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National is looking towards its second match in Group D of the World Championship against CAF runner-up Sierra Leone on Sunday, August 17.  Kickoff is at 3 p.m. local time / 8 a.m. ET and the match will be broadcast live on Galavision. Fans can also follow the match live on’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

Sun., Aug. 17    USA-Sierra Leone (live, 7:55 a.m. ET / live 6:55 a.m. CT / delay 7:55 a.m. PT)
Wed., Aug. 20    USA-Spain (live, 12:55 p.m. ET/ delay, 1 p.m. PT)

Sierra Leone and Spain clashed in Lahti Stadium directly after the U.S. match, putting on an entertaining match as the sides ended up drawing 3-3. Spain took a commanding 2-0 only 15 minutes in, but after defender Arzo was given his second yellow and sent off, Sierra Leone mounted a tremendous comeback. Samuel Barlay notched two goals and Sierra Leone got an own goal to put them on top with a 3-2 advantage. Sierra Leone looked like it was going to come away with three points, but Spain got the equalizer in the 6th minute of injury time.

Freddy Adu currently sits atop the goal scoring table for the tournament after one of Samuel Barlay’s goals was confirmed an own goal today. Barlay was originally awarded a hat-trick for Sierra Leone in its match against Spain, but the FIFA Technical Study Group reviewed the tape of the game and decided the second goal was an own goal from Spanish player Ruz.

According to the disciplinary rules governing the FIFA U-17 World Championship Finland 2003, three cautions (instead of two in other FIFA tournaments) issued in three different matches will automatically lead to a suspension for the next match. Also, at no stage of the tournament will a single yellow card be canceled for a subsequent round. Three U.S. players – Danny Szetela, Jonathan Spector and Freddy Adu – received cautions during the game against Korea.

The U.S. went through a light training session this morning as the starters from yesterday’s match recuperated. All the players went through a short warm-up and then the reserves played a small field game of 5v5 with full-size goals. The three ‘keepers – Phil Marfuggi, Quentin Westberg and Steve Sandbo – got a workout as they rotated between the two goals and contributing as a field player to make the teams even.

The entire U.S. team made a trip to Helsinki this afternoon to hang out with friends and family that made the trip to Finland and are staying in the country’s biggest city. There are about 80 people that are part of the USA’s friends and family, with at least one family member for every player making the trip to Finland.

*  With his hat trick in last night’s game against Korea, Freddy Adu became the leading scorer for the U.S. in 2003 with 22 goals. Guillermo Gonzalez is second with 20.

*  Adu also has 12 international goals, twice as many as teammates Corey Ashe and Gonzalez (6 each).

*  Brandon Owens’ game-winner was just his second goal of the year.

*  Jamie Watson, who has come on of late to earn a starting spot, has more goals (13) than starts this year (10)

*  The U.S. improved its overall record in 2003 to 37-7-10 (146 GF, 44 GA) and its international record to 11-3-4 (44 GF, 15 GA).

Defender Steve Curfman’s only two career international goals with the U.S. U-17 MNT have both been memorable jaw-dropping finishes. His deft chip from the top right corner of the penalty area that found the far left post and deflected in last night for a 4-1 lead was one of the best goals of the tournament so far. The goal was a shrewd attempt as Korean ‘keeper Ki Seok Cha was out of position after coming off his line to punch the corner kick out. His first goal is also linked to Korea, as it was the location for his 40-yard blast against Poland in the Busan International Youth Tournament. After being unable to break through Poland’s defense in the final game of the tournament, Curfman ran onto a ball that was knocked out after a corner and ripped the optimistic shot, which curled into the upper-right corner. The astonishing goal opened the flood gates, as the U.S. went on to win 5-0 to help them secure a second place finish in the tournament.

“I wouldn’t have minded it, but as long as it goes in. It could have been Phil (Marfuggi) our keeper who put it in and it still would have been the same.” – forward Jamie Watson on if he wanted to take the penalty kick against Korea.

“It was just instinct. I had the ball and I was actually looking for someone to pass the ball to, but I saw my opening and took advantage of it. Fortunately for me I got through and scored.” – forward Freddy Adu on his first goal.

“The ball was crossed in and usually I crash, but that time I felt like it was going to pop out, so I kind of faked in and stepped back, and the ball came to me. It hit off my thigh and then I just hit it low. It just felt really good to get that weight off my shoulder and get a goal. It was the best feeling.” – defender Brandon Owens on scoring the game-winner after knocking in an own goal.

It’s been a few days and he has plenty to talk about as your favorite player/journalist Julian “Jules” Valentin returns with his next journal entry to inform you all about what’s been happening behind the scenes with the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team in Finland. In this entry, Jules talks about the inadequate seat he had on the bench for the game, the teams’ trip to Helsinki, gives the undercover on Adrian Chevannes, and grills assistant coach John Hackworth on his not-so good “Play of the Day.”

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