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U.S. U-20s Finish Suwon Tournament Against Egypt

U.S. Under-20 MNT Notes
Suwon, South Korea
March 25, 2005

Despite falling 1-0 to host South Korea on Thursday, the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team still has the chance to finish first in the Suwon International Youth Football Tournament when they face Egypt in their third and final match on Saturday. Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m. local time (10:30 p.m. ET on March 25) at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, South Korea. Currently sitting in third place with three points from their opening match victory over Argentina, the U.S. would need to defeat Egypt bit (at least by four) and have Argentina defeat South Korea 1-0. The first tiebreaker if teams end up tied on points is goal difference in all group matches, followed by greater number of goals scored in all group matches  and then goal difference resulting between the teams concerned.
Suwon International Youth Football Tournament
Team           GP  W   L   T   GF   GA   GD   Pts.
South Korea  2   2     0    0    2      0      +2     6
Argentina      2   1     1    0    5      2      +3     3
USA              2   1     1    0    2      2       0      3
Egypt            2   0     1    0    0      5       -5     0

Tuesday, March 22
USA 2, Argentina 1
South Korea 1, Egypt 0

Thursday, March 24
Argentina 4, Egypt 0
South Korea 1, USA 0

Saturday, March 26
USA vs. Egypt 12:30 p.m. local time (10:30 p.m. ET on March 25)
Argentina vs. South Korea 3 p.m. local time (1 p.m. ET)

Egypt advanced to the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, their third straight, with a second place finish in the African Youth Championship. The Egyptians gave up their title as African champs when they fell to Nigeria 2-0 in the final. Out of the 18-man roster that participated in their qualifying tournament, 12 have made their way to Korea. The Pharaohs have yet to score during the Suwon Cup, falling to the host 1-0 in the opener before being reduced to 10 men against Argentina in the ninth minute and never recovering as they fell 4-0.

The U.S. Under-20s last faced Egypt during the Round of 16 in the 2001 FIFA Youth World Championship in Argentina, falling to the African team 2-0. The Pharaohs went on to finish in third place.

The U.S. players woke up on Friday morning hoping they would once again get the chance to see the NCAA Tournament as the Sweet 16 tipped-off back in the States, but they had no such luck as the Armed Forces Network was not showing the games. With only four games played and four left, the players are hoping Saturday’s games will be on, but they will only see part of the first half before they leave for the stadium.

After the USA’s 2-1 victory over Argentina, there has been a little bit of gamesmanship going on between the players from each team in the hotel. In the basement there is a business center with two computers where the players from all four teams are able to check their email and surf the Internet. The Argentina players have been the most regular users as it seems one of the players is always on a computer, making it difficult for the U.S. team to sneak in some time. When a few of the U.S. players finally did, they put the picture of Kamani Hill celebrating his winning goal as the wallpaper for one of the computers. The following day, the Argentina players had changed the wallpaper to Maradona holding the World Cup trophy.

The U.S. players are reminding their friends and family back home to record the U.S.-Mexico qualifying match on March 27 as most will not get the chance to see it live. The team flies back to the U.S. that Sunday, but doesn’t land until 9:40 a.m. PT at LAX. While some only have a quick drive before plopping in front of their television to catch the 10 a.m. PT kickoff, the majority will be connecting for their final destination and won’t get the chance to catch it on ESPN2.

The U.S. players had an interesting finish to their practice on Friday as they got the chance to interact with two local high school soccer teams from Suwon and Daegu. The United States Embassy set up the meeting and the 20 Korean players came to the team’s practice and watched the U.S. team train. After practice, head coach Sigi Schmid, through an interpreter, introduced the players to the Korean team and talked about why they were in Korea. The U.S. and Korean players then mixed into four games of keep-away, playing for about 15 minutes. The U.S. players were impressed with the Korean’s skills and after the session answered some of the Korean players’ questions and provided them with U.S. Soccer pins. At one point, one of the Korean players joked about Benny Feilhaber’s mullet, the interpreter telling Benny that he said he liked his hair. The entire U.S. team got a kick out of it, but Benny took it in stride greeting the Korean with a big hug. Also attending the practice were five soldiers from the Osan Air Force Base, who are members of the soccer team that was created at the base last August. The Mustangs play local teams in the Suwon area. The head coach who started the team at the base actually went to the same high school as Sacha Kljestan, only 15 years before the U.S. midfielder.