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U-17 MNT Draw Finland 3-3 in Northern Ireland

LARNE, Northern Ireland (April 25, 2006) - The U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team pulled out a back-and-forth 3-3 draw against Finland in their second match of the Ballymena International Tournament in Northern Ireland. With the draw, the U.S. sits in second place in Group A with four points. 

The game started off as a shootout as four goals were scored in the first 14 minutes, but at the end of the barrage no team had an advantage as they were even at 2-2. The U.S. took an early lead with an own goal in the fifth minute, but Finland struck back with two goals before the 12th minute to take the lead. Two minutes later, Jared Jeffrey tallied to pull the teams even for the third time in the game, and that’s the way it stayed until halftime.

Finland gained the advantage once again in the 59th minute and it appeared they’d come away with three points, but Brek Shea finished from close range in injury time to split the points.

“We started the game off brilliantly and got the early goal, but that also hurt us at the same time as I think we let our guard down and let Finland get some quick goals,” said U-17 MNT head coach John Hackworth. “We definitely didn’t play to our best ability, but at the same time there’s something to be said for coming from behind once again.”

“We’ll put this game behind us and concentrate on Northern Ireland. It will be a tough task as Northern Ireland has a strong side and they are all the rage here in Ballymena with their fans. They’ve won two in a row, and both games handedly, so we will have our hands full if we want to advance to the final.”

Despite the draw, the U.S. still holds it’s own destiny. With a victory over Northern Ireland, who defeated Switzerland 3-0 today, the U.S. would advance to the championship match for the David Cairns Memorial Trophy. The U.S. and Northern Ireland will play on Wednesday, April 26.

The U.S. couldn’t have asked for a much better start to the match when a cross in by Alex Dixon was accidentally knocked into the net by defender Henri Toivomaki for an own goal.

The early lead was just a mirage though as Finland quickly re-grouped and struck back with two goals in the 9th and 12th minutes. The first goal oddly enough came off a U.S. throw-in in their own defensive half. Brandon Lee threw an errant ball straight to Tapio Heikkila and he quickly hit a half-volley from 40-yards out that caught U.S. ‘keeper Josh Lambo off his line, going over his head and into the net.

Three minutes later, Finland secured the lead when Andre Karring got past Tommy Meyer inside the box and then finished past Lambo from an almost impossible angle. Karring was impressive throughout the game, giving the U.S. backline fits.

The U.S. kept its composure and found the equalizer before even a fourth of the game was finished when Ellis McLoughlin fed Jeffrey, who ripped a 16-yard half-volley off the post and in.

The match never found much of a rhythm after that and the scoring slowed down until almost 20 minutes into the second half. Finland regained the lead when Toivomaki headed home a Mikko Sumusalo corner kick.

With just injury time left, the U.S. pulled out the crucial one point when McLoughlin stole the ball and crossed it into the area. Shea didn’t get a good touch to the service, but it was enough as the ball trickled into the back of the net.

In Group B action, the Czech Republic continued their strong run with a 4-0 victory over Canada to keep control of first place. Belgium got their first points of the tournament with a 2-0 victory and is in second place, just ahead of Canada with a better goal differential. 

U.S. Under-17 '90 Men's National Team Match Report

Participants:  U.S. Under-17 ‘90s Men’s National Team vs. Finland
Competition:  Ballymena International Tournament
Location: Ballymena, Northern Ireland
Date: April 25, 2006
Weather: Overcast and rainy, 60 degrees

Scoring Summary: 
               1st   2nd    Final
USA         2       1         3
FIN           2       1         3
USA – Own goal (Henri Poivomaki)                    5th minute
FIN – Tapio Heikkila                                               9.
FIN – Andre Karring                                                12.
USA – Jared Jeffrey (Ellis McLoughlin)              14.
FIN – Henri Poivomaki (Mikko Sumusalo)        59.
USA – Brek Shea (Ellis McLoughin)                   80+

USA: 18-Josh Lambo; 13-Mattt Uy (6-Brek Shea, 66), 3-Tommy Meyer, 5-Ian Kalis, 2-Brandon Lee (16-Brandon Zimmerman, 41); 15-Bryan Dominguez (11-Jesse Paredes, 41), 14-Jared Jeffrey, 7-Danny Wenzel, 12-Alex Dixon (17-Brandon Tarr, 62), 9-Sheanon Williams, 10-Ellis McLoughlin.

FIN: 1-Samttu Malam; 3-Henri Poivomaki, 4-Teemu Nikander, 5-Samuel Carter, 18-Mikko Sumusalo; 7-Tapio Heikkila, 8-Felix Akerlumu (13-Tuomas Markkula, 74), 9-Konsta Rasimus (15-Joni Kaoko, 77), Jaakko Lepola; 6-Pepperi Pennaneu (16-Teemu Pukki, 70), 11-Andre Karring. 

Statistical Summary:
                              USA    FIN
Shots                      13      11
Saves                       3        7
Fouls                        9      15
Corner Kicks          9        3
Offside                     0        2

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Jared Jeffrey (caution)                 58th minute

Ballymena International Tournament Standings

Group A

Teams GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
Northern Ireland 2 2 0 0 9 0 +9 6
USA 2 1 0 1 5 4 +1 4
Finland 2 0 1 1 3 9 -6 1
Switzerland 2 0 2 0 1 5 -4 0

Monday, April 24
USA 2, Switzerland 1
Northern Ireland 6, Finalnd 0

Tuesday, April 25
USA 3, Finland 3
Northern Ireland 3, Switzerland 0

Wednesday, April 26
USA vs. Northern Ireland
Finland vs. Switzerland

Friday, April 28
Placement Matches vs. Group B

Group B

Teams GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
Czech Republic 2 2 0 0 6 1 +5 6
Belgium 2 1 1 0 3 2 +1 3
Canada 2 1 1 0 1 4 -3 3
Scotland 2 0 2 0 0 3 -3 0

Monday, April 24
Czech Republic 2,  Belgium 1
Canada 1, Scotland 0

Tuesday, April 25
Czech Republic 4, Canada 0
Belgium 2, Scotland 0

Wednesday, April 26
Czech Republic vs. Scotland
Belgium vs. Canada

Friday, April 28
Placement Matches vs. Group A