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U.S. U-17 MNT Fall 2-0 to Mexico at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Match Marks Final Game for U.S. Under-17 ’88 Men’s National Team
Largest Crowd to Ever Witness U.S. Under-17 Match in the United States

Los Angeles, Calif. (December 7, 2005) — The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team fell 2-0 to recently crowned FIFA Under-17 World Champion Mexico this evening in front of a spirited crowd of 22,157 fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The match marked the final match together for this group of U-17s that finished fifth at the FIFA U-17 World Championship in Peru last October. The pro-Mexican crowd was the largest to watch a U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team match played on American soil.

“We gave up an early goal in the first half and against a team like Mexico, you can’t make those mistakes,” said U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Hackworth, who suffered just his fifth international loss. “We tried to push numbers forward to get back into the game and left ourselves open to a counter-attack and in the end they got the second goal to put the match away.”

“It’s disappointing to go out with a loss with this group, but I hope these players get the chance to play a lot more games like these. They need to be exposed to this level of play and type of atmosphere to get better down the road.”

The talented Mexicans created more dangerous chances throughout the match, but the Americans were pressing hard for an equalizer late in the game. The U.S. was buzzing around the Mexican penalty area, only to get countered and give up the clinching goal in the 83rd minute.

Mexico took the lead in the 14th minute, capitalizing on a mishap from U.S. goalkeeper Brian Perk. Enrique Esqueda collected the ball along the left side of the penalty area before cutting back to create a sliver of space in front of U.S. defender Jeremy Hall. The Mexican forward unleashed a low, dipping drive towards the near post. Perk seemed to have the shot covered, but misread the bounce as it skipped over his outstretched hands and into the back of the net.

The U.S. only mustered two shots on goal in the first half and didn’t get the first until the 18th minute when Hall collected a headed clearance and quickly turned to put a shot on goal, but it was easily collected by goalkeeper Alejandro Gallardo. Five minutes later, David Arvizu got his head to a Preston Zimmerman cross from the right sideline, but his attempt also went directly into the waiting hands of Gallardo.

The U.S. almost gifted Mexico their second goal in the 36th minute, but Perk was able to come up with a crucial sliding save to keep the deficit at one. Ofori Sarkodie misplayed a back pass, letting the ball slip by him and Javier Hernandez zipped in to steal the ball and drive in on goal. Perk came off his line well and made the diving stop. The deflection bounced to the right corner of the box where Esqueda darted in and unleashed a blast, but it was high and wide.

The U.S. did get a good chance just before halftime when Arvizu stole a pass in midfield and dribbled in on goal before cutting back and laying a pass into the path of Kyle Nakazawa. The U.S. midfielder touched to his right and tried to chip the ball into the far corner, but his attempt went just over the bar.

The U.S. made two changes at halftime, bringing on Gabriel Farfan for Ryan Soroka, who suffered a slight injury to his knee and replacing Neven Subotic in central midfield as Blake Wagner moved from center back while sub Nikolas Besagno took his place in the central defense.

The U.S. had a chance in the 70th minute as Nakazawa, who scored on two free kicks during the World Championship in Peru, line up a free kick from 25 yards out. He got it up and over the wall well, but it skipped outside the left post.

The last 20 minutes of the match saw a committed U.S. team pushing for a goal. In the 73rd minute Gabe Farfan flighted in a cross to 6-foot-5 forward Omar Gonzalez, but his header from distance once again flew right at the ‘keeper.

While the U.S needed a fortunate bounce to find the net, it was Mexico that got it, as they caught the U.S. pressing into the attacking and launched a quick counter-attacking after a clearance flew out to the left flank. Froylan Roldan collected the ball just over midfielder and with Omar Arellano streaking down the middle of the field unmarked, hit him perfectly in stride. U.S. captain Ofori Sarkodie gave chase, but he couldn’t make up that much ground in time and Arellano struck a perfect finish past Perk into the right side of the net from just inside the penalty area.

The match got a bit testy at the end with both teams seeing players ejected. The USA’s Blake Wagner was red-carded in the 90th minute for a nasty tackle from behind and Mexico’s Cesar Villaluz was sent off in stoppage time after getting tangled up on the ground and scuffling with U.S. defender Nikolas Besagno.

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

Participants: USA vs. Mexico
Competition: International Friendly
Location: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum; Los Angeles, Calif.
Date: December 7, 2005
Weather: Cool, 60 degrees
Attendance: 22, 157

Scoring Summary:
                1    2    F
USA        0    0    0
Mexico    1    1    2

MEX – Enrique Esqueda (unassisted) 14th minute.
MEX – Omar Arellano (Froylan Roldan) 83.

USA: 18-Brian Perk; 2-Amaechi Igwe, 5-Ofori Sarkodie (capt.), 13-Blake Wagner, 4-Eric Lichaj (19-Michael Farfan, 80); 17-Jeremy Hall (6-Josmer Altidore, 60), 8-Kyle Nakazawa, 14-Neven Subotic (16-Nikolas Besagno, 46), 11-Ryan Soroka (12-Gabe Farfan, 46); 9-Preston Zimmerman, 10-David Arvizu (7-Omar Gonzalez, 70).
Subs not used: 1-Bryant Rueckner, 3-Richard Edgar, 15-Daniel Kelly, 18-Deigo Restrepo.
Head Coach: John Hackworth

MEX: 1-Alejandro Gallardo; 14-Manuel Viniegra, 2-Patricio Araujo, 7-Jose Lopez (16-Forylan Roldan, 65), 4-Jesus Bogar, 15-Juan Silva; 3-Efrain Juarez (5-Marco Cisneros, 90+), 18-Cesar Villaluz; 20-Enrique Esqueda, 9-Javier Hernandez (11-Eduardo Zavala, 50), 13-Edgar Andrade (8-Omar Arellano, 61).
Subs not used: 12-Cristian Flores, 17-Pedro Valverde, 10-Ever Arsenio Guzman, 6-Francisco Uribe.
Head Coach: Jesus Ramirez Ruvalcaba

Statistical Summary:
                               USA    MEX
Shots                      8       14
Shots on Goal      4         8
Saves                     6         5
Fouls                    22       18
Corner Kicks         8        4
Offside                   3         1

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Kyle Nakazawa (caution) 40th minute
USA – Gabriel Farfan (caution) 62.
MEX – Jesus Bogar (caution) 68.
MEX – Efrain Juarez (caution) 71.
USA – Blake Wagner (ejection) 89.
MEX – Cesar Villalus (ejection) 92+ is the official site of U.S. Soccer, the governing body of soccer in the United States.