U.S. Under-20 Men Finish in Second Place at Suwon Tournament with 1-0 Victory Over Egypt
- Midfielder Arturo Alvarez Scores Game-Winning Goal With 25-Yard Blast in 62nd Minute
- Schmid Increases International Record to 9-1-0 Since Becoming Head Coach Last October
- U-20s Leave Korea With Victories Over Both Teams They Will Meet in FIFA World Youth Championship
SUWON, South Korea (March 26, 2005) — The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team took second place at the Suwon International Youth Football Tournament after defeating Egypt 1-0 in their third and final match this afternoon at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, South Korea.
Despite the scoreline, the first half was extremely active with the U.S. and Egypt getting good looks on goal as the momentum swung back and forth between the two teams that will face each other in Group D of the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in June. The U.S. was the better team on the day, but struggled with the final pass and didn’t finish well until Arturo Alvarez provided the U.S. with the game-winner in the 62nd minute, burying a shot from beyond the penalty area.
After the U.S. won, they had to wait for the second match of the doubleheader between Argentina and South Korea to see where they would finish in the tournament. Korea was reduced to 10 men late in the first half and Argentina scored a goal in the 87th minute, but a controversial penalty in extra time provided Korea with the draw and a first place finish in the tournament.
“I thought we played well today, but if we could have finished our early chances we could have taken Egypt out of the game a lot sooner,” said U.S. head coach Sigi Schmid, who increased his international record to 9-1-0 since taking over the U-20s last October. “There was a moment where Egypt had a few chances, but I think overall we were in control for most of the match.”
“Overall, this was a great three games for us. I’d like to thank the Korean Federation for inviting us to this tournament as playing in competitions like this is very helpful to our preparation for the FIFA World Youth Championship.”
Schmid started a line-up more similar to their first game against Argentina compared to the one fielded against South Korea. Alvarez and defenders Sean Franklin and Nathan Sturgis started their second straight game, while Patrick Ianni was back in the starting lineup, this time as a defensive midfielder.
Forward Chad Barrett was a handful for the Egyptian defense in the early going and had a couple of great chances for the U.S., but the usually deadly finisher couldn’t find the back of the net. The first opportunity came in the sixth minute when the Chicago Fire forward intercepted a lazy back pass by left midfielder Elbahrawy Ahmed on the right side at the top of the box, putting him one-on-one with Egyptian goalkeeper Ahmed Hamada. Barrett tried to beat the ‘keeper with a low strike towards the left post, but Hamada did well to dive down and get a hand on the ball for the save.
After another shot a minute later from the top of the area went over the bar, Barrett’s next opportunity came in the 13th minute off a corner kick. Alvarez weighted a perfect ball to the back post to Barrett, but the striker’s eight-yard header went directly to the waiting arms of Hamada.
About 30 seconds later, Barrett’s counterpart upfront got his first look on frame. Franklin pushed the ball up to Eddie Gaven on the right side and the MetroStars midfielder led Jacob Peterson into the box with a nice one-touch. Peterson unleashed from 16 yards out, but his left-footed blast found the stadium seats.
In the 28th minute the U.S. was dealt a blow when Eddie Gaven had to be replaced after fracturing the ring finger on his left hand. The midfielder received the injury when he broke his fall after appearing to getting tripped up – despite no foul being called – when he tried to split two defenders on the dribble at the top of the box. Seton Hall midfielder Sacha Kljestan came on in reserve.
Egypt began to gain confidence in the final 15 minutes of the half and got in behind the U.S. defense, but once again goalkeeper Quentin Westberg was up to the challenge. In the 35th minute, Nasr Hossam was sent through on the left side past Sturgis, but his low strike was just wide of the left post. Two minutes later, Darwish Ahmed ran straight up the center of the U.S. defense onto a through ball, but Westberg greeted the midfielder with a sliding kick save at the top of the box to keep the game scoreless.
The U.S. had the last say in the first half with another great scoring chance off a corner kick served in from the left foot of Alvarez, but Ianni’s header six yards out at the back post was wide left.
After a possession battle at the beginning of the second half, the U.S. got the first look on net in the 56th minute. Kljestan toe-poked a ball away from an Egyptian defender in and then pushed the ball to his right for Will John at the top of the area. John took a settling touch with his right foot before cracking a left-footed shot on goal that Hamada was able to save by getting both hands up to deflect the ball away from his net.
The U.S. finally broke through in the 62nd minute Franklin won a 50-50 ball and was able to poke it up the right flank to Kljestan, who quickly found a wide open Alvarez in the middle of the field. The FC Dallas midfielder had time to set up his shot before unleashing a left-footed blast from 25 yards out that curved away from the outstretched hands of Hamada and just inside the right post.
Egypt turned up the intensity in their attack after the goal as the next five minutes were a bit harrowing for the U.S. defense. In the 65th minute a free kick got through the U.S. wall and skipped to Hossam planted in front of the goal. The forward got a touch on the ball but wasn’t able to turn to get a shot on goal.
Three minutes later, Egypt touched the ball around the box in tight spaces and finally found Mohammed Addallah near the penalty spot, but his shot was blocked by Sturgis and Ianni and then Ward cleared the ball out of danger.
Three minutes from time, Egypt had its last attempt to pull out a late draw. Substitute Hassan Sherif dribbled across the top of the area before hitting a right-footed blast towards the lower-right corner, but Westberg stretched out to get his left glove to it and push it to the outside of the post.
In the final moments, Kamani Hill almost doubled the U.S. victory when he collected the ball in the midfield and went on a pretty 20 yard dribbling run before getting defender Abdellah off balance and ripping a shot that whizzed just a few feet past the upper-right corner.
U.S. Quote Sheet
U.S. Head Coach Sigi Schmid
On the match:
“We had three of four really quality chances early in the game, but we didn’t finish those chances and allowed Egypt to get back into the game. If we had scored on those early chances the game would have been a lot different. In the second half we were able to take control the match again and I think overall our guys did well.”
On how the defense played:
“I thought defensively we did well, but at times we may have given Egypt a little too much space. I thought Nathan Sturgis played well today, as did Patrick Ianni, which was pleasant to see. It was a very good tournament for Nathan Sturgis in general. Overall, I think it was a situation where we bent at times, but we really didn’t break and that was important.”
On how important the tournament was in preparation for the FIFA World Youth Championship in June:
“It’s good for us. We played well against the two teams we will face in the world championship and we won both those games. I know better soccer is still ahead of us. This tournament was important to be able to see and watch our opponents and get our confidence up and know we can play with them. We’ll be a better team offensively and defensively as we move closer to the world championship.”
On the tournament:
“I thought it was a good tournament. I thought it was good that we played two teams that will be in our group at the world championship to see how they play and see how we could do against them. I think we showed that we can definitely play with them, so hopefully we can keep on getting better on things as we get closer to the world championship.”
On his injury:
“I got a ball from Chad (Barrett) and I saw some space so kind of shot through it and I got sandwiched by two guys. I fell and my finger bent and broke.”
On the goal:
“I thought I put myself in a good spot to get a ball from Sacha (Kljestan) and (head coach) Sigi (Schmid) has been telling us to shoot, so I just went ahead and pulled the trigger. It ended up being a good shot.”
On his play during the tournament:
“I’ve been wanting to play well this whole time with the U-20s. At the qualifying tournament I really didn’t play much. I want to get on the field more, so I need to improve my game and if I keep doing that maybe I’ll play more. I just got to keep working hard and do good things.”
On the goal:
“I got the ball from Sean (Franklin) and when I turned and saw the field I saw Arty wide open and just gave it to him. Then he did the rest.”
On having to replace Eddie Gaven early in the first half:
“You just have to get yourself ready real quick as I only had a couple minutes to warm up. Once I got in there I tried to get the ball moving quickly. It took me a bit of time to adjust, but I think the second half was better than the first when I got in.”
- U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Game Report -
Participants: USA vs. Egypt
Competition: Suwon International Youth Football Tournament
Location: Suwon, South Korea
Date: March 26, 2005
Weather: Clear and cold; 50 degrees
1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
Egypt 0 0 0
USA – Arturo Alvarez (Sacha Kljestan) 62nd minute
USA: 1-Quentin Westberg; 20-Tim Ward, 2-Patrick Phelan (12-Greg Dalby, 46), 5-Nathan Sturgis, 3-Sean Franklin (6-Hunter Freeman, 65); 8-Benny Feilhaber (16-Will John, 46), 9-Eddie Gaven (Capt.) (7-Sacha Kljestan, 34), 4-Patrick Ianni, 11-Arturo Alvarez (17-Danny Szetela, 88); 10-Jacob Peterson (15-Kamani Hill, 76), 13-Chad Barrett.
Subs not used: 18-Andrew Kartunen, 22-Robby Rogers, 23-Brad Evans.
Head Coach: Sigi Schmid.
EGY: 1-Ahmed Hamada; 6-Abdellah Abdellah, 14-Elbahrawy Ahmed (4-Kenawi Ahmed, 87), 15-Siam Islam, 8-Darwish Ahmed; 10-Fadlalla Mahmoud, 12-Abdou Abdallah (Capt.), 13-Zekry Karim, 17-Salama Mohamed (5-Mohamed Mohamed, 89); 11-Mohamed Abdallah (19-Elmokadem Ibrahim, 87), 9-Nasr Hossam (18-Hassan Sherif, 81).
Subs not used: 2-Ahmed Mohamed, 7-Mohamed Ahmed, 16-Ibrahim Mohamed, 22-Morsy Mohamed.
Shots 19 8
Saves 4 5
Fouls 12 8
Corner Kicks 10 2
Offside 3 3
EGY – Nasr Hossam (caution) 41st minute
USA – Nathan Sturgis (caution) 63rd
EGY – Darwish Ahmed (caution) 67th
USA – Chad Barrett (caution) 89th
Referee: Yong Hee Ahn
1st Assistant: Boo Keun Kim
2nd Assistant: Jin Ho Hong
Fourth Official: Deok Cheol Kim
Suwon International Youth Football Tournament Standings
Team GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
South Korea 3 2 0 1 3 1 +2 7
USA 3 2 1 0 3 2 +1 6
Argentina 3 1 1 1 6 3 +3 4
Egypt 3 0 3 0 0 5 -5 0
March 22 USA 2, Argentina 1
South Korea 1, Egypt 0
March 24 Argentina 4, Egypt 0
USA 0, South Korea 1
March 26 USA 1, Egypt 0
Argentina 1, South Korea 1