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U.S. Under-17 MNT Dominates AIS 4-1

CARSON, California (July 21, 2003) - The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team played its best match since coming together two weeks ago after a month break, beating the Australian Institute of Sport 4-1 this morning at on a training field at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The game was the last match the Under-17s will play in the U.S. as they travel to England next week for preparation matches and then head to Finland for the FIFA Under-17 World Championship, which starts Aug. 13.

The U.S. played a much better match compared to Saturday when they struggled offensively and only managed a 0-0 draw with AIS. Throughout the game the U.S. dominated possession and put pressure on AIS’s backline, forcing them into poor decisions. The high pressure enabled starting forwards Jamie Watson and Freddy Adu to reek havoc upfront as they contributed to the majority of the 13 shots unleashed on AIS goalkeeper Joshua Fluss.

The U.S. pressured from the beginning getting its first two quality shots on goal in the 5th and 7th minute from Adu. On his first shot, Adu collected a pass from Watson at the top left of the penalty area, pushed the ball to his left past a defender and ripped a low strike towards the left corner, which was parried clear by Fluss. Two minutes later, Adu found himself about the same distance out on the right of the goal and tried to curl the ball into the upper left, just pushing it wide.

Keeping the pressure on, the U.S. finally got on the board in the 18th minute after Watson was taken down in the box. Midfielder Danny Szetela drove a low-liner towards the left hand corner from about 20-yards out, but Fluss did well to get a hand on it and it deflected back in front of the goal. Watson sprinted in to knock it home, but was taken down from behind by defender Aaron Downes as he closed in on the ball. Adu blasted the penalty to the left side of the goal over an outstretched Fluss.

Two minutes later, Watson got a goal of his own as the U.S. struck quickly off a goal kick. Szetela flicked ‘keeper Quentin Westberg’s goal kick forward onto Watson, who had made a nice run between two AIS defenders. Watson collected the ball about 30-yards out and held off a defender as he ran on to goal, slotting his shot past an onrushing Fluss.

The U.S. got its third goal of the first half in the 25th minute off a nice attack that started with defender Jonathan Spector. Spector placed a perfect long ball to Adu on the left side of the penalty area, which allowed Adu to one-time it across the penalty area to a waiting Eddie Gaven. Gaven ran onto the pass and slammed the ball to the lower-left corner of the goal from about 12-yards out.

In the second half, the U.S. continued to dominate possession and was unlucky to only get one goal, but it was AIS which struck first, getting one back in the 54th minute. Forward Adam Casey, who had come on as a substitute just a minute prior, used his fresh legs to get around defender Steven Curfman on the right side and swing in a dangerous cross. Westberg did well to cut off the service, but he couldn’t hold on to the ball and it squirted out to forward Dezman Giraldi, who easily knocked the ball in.

The U.S. got its final goal in the 71st minute from John DiRaimondo. Midfielder Corey Ashe, substituted for Steve Curfman who fell awkwardly on his lower back in the 57th minute, used his blazing speed to get past the AIS defense on the left flank and crossed the ball into the crowded penalty area. Watson was able to just get a touch on the ball to push it towards the back post to DiRaimondo, who slotted the ball under the outstretched arms of Fluss.

The AIS is a developmental program used to identify and develop players for Australia’s Under-20 Men’s National Team. The majority of the players on the squad were born in 1985, making them a year older than the U.S. players.

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

Participants: U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team vs. Australian Institute of Sport
Competition: Friendly
Location: The Home Depot Center; Carson, Calif.
Date: July 21, 2003
Weather: Warm; 80 degrees

Scoring Summary:
                          1st 2nd Final
United States        3    1     4
AIS                      0    1     1

USA – Freddy Adu (penalty) 18th
USA – Jamie Watson (Danny Szetela) 20th
USA – Eddie Gaven (Freddy Adu) 25th
AIS – Dezman Giraldi 54th
USA – John DiRaimondo (Jamie Watson) 71st

USA –18-Quentin Westberg; 3-Jonathan Spector, 5-Brandon Owens, 12-Steve Curfman (15-Corey Ashe, 57), 29-Tim Ward; 17-Daniel Szetela, 9-Michael Harington (8-John DiRaimondo, 63), 20-Jose Gomez (7-Brian Grazier, 68), 4-Eddie Gaven; 13-Jamie Watson, 11-Freddy Adu.
Subs not used: 1-Phil Marfuggi, 23-Jacob Peterson, 6-Chris Germani, 10-Guillermo Gonzalez, 28-Stephen Sandbo, 16-Adrian Chevannes, 22-Michael Bradley, 27-Robbie Rogers, 2-Kyle Helton

AIS – 1-Joshua Fluss; 3-Keegan Wolfenden, 7-Liam Lilly, 6-Nikolai Toror-Stanley, 17-Aaron Downes (12-Eli Gilfedder, 38); 8-Ivan Bosnar (14-Jobe Wheelhouse, 53), 4-Chris Tadrosse (20-Joel Theissen, 79), 16-Nick Ward, 15-Stuart Musilak; 11-Dezman Giraldi (13-Mark Nedelkovic, 76), 19-Matthew Deegan (9-Adam Casey, 53).

Statistical Summary:
                  USA     AIS
Shots           13         6
Saves            4         9
Corner Kick    4        4
Fouls             3        11
Offside           1        1

Misconduct Summary: