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U.S. U-17s Fall to Spain, Set to Face Brazil in World Championship Quarterfinal

* The U.S. Finishes Second in Group D With Six Points
* U.S. Will Face Brazil in Turku in Quarterfinal Match on Sunday, August 24

LAHTI, Finland (August 20, 2003) – The U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team fell to Spain 2-0 this evening at Lahti Stadium in Lahti, Finland, to finish in second place in Group D of the 2003 FIFA Under-17 World Championship. The U.S. will face Brazil, winner of Group C, in the quarterfinals in Turku, Finland on Sunday, August 24 at 2 p.m. local / 7 a.m. ET live via's MatchTracker, presented by Phillips Electronics. 

Spain got an early goal in the 11th minute as a shot by forward Jurado took a lucky deflection to swirl into the U.S. net. The U.S. struggled against Spain’s defense and didn’t get a shot on goal in the entire first half, but looked to be in good shape as Spain was forced to play with only 10 men for the entire second half when Silva was sent off with a straight red card for a forearm to the head of Guillermo Gonzalez in first-half stoppage time. But despite being down a man, Cesc blasted in Spain’s second goal twenty minutes before the end, finishing the U.S. hopes of finding the equalizer.  

“We had our hands full with Spain from the opening whistle and couldn’t seem to really get much going offensively,” said U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Ellinger. “In the second half we obviously played better up a man, but their second goal kind of broke our spirits a bit. Now, we just have to put this game behind us and look towards another tough opponent in Brazil in the quarterfinals.”

Going into the match, Spain already knew it was assured a place in the quarterfinals after Korea Republic beat Sierra Leone in the earlier group match, making the contest a battle to see who would finish atop Group D. Both teams suited up slightly different line-ups compared to their first two matches, as the U.S. had five different starters in the line-up and Spain had four.

Spain put the U.S. backline on its heels early as they controlled most of the possession and did well to get the ball out to the flanks to serve in dangerous crosses. In the first 10 minutes, Spain was penetrating into the penalty area, but the U.S. defenders were doing well to keep them from getting a shot on target.

Spain finally broke through on a fortunate deflection off a Jurado shot as the U.S. gave up the opening goal for the third straight game. Silva began the attack, collecting the ball from about 30 yards out before finding Jurado on his right. With the ball at his feet, Jurado dribbled towards the top of the penalty area, splitting U.S. players Brian Grazier and Eddie Gaven. With a collection of defenders in front of him, Jurado took a weak shot that deflected off the heel of Adrian Chevannes, causing it to spin into the air past surprised ‘keeper Quentin Westberg and dropping inside the right post.
Without Adu in the line-up, Jamie Watson struggled to get any kind of pressure on the Spanish defense with first Guillermo Gonzalez and then Gaven playing in the second forward position during the first half. However, Watson did get a couple of chances early. In the 13th minute, midfielder Danny Szetela was able get a sliding boot on a clearance by Spain ‘keeper Mandaluniz, knocking it into the penalty area to Watson. Watson cut inside past the first defender, but Sanchez was able to get back and poke the ball from the U.S. forward.

One minute later, Watson had his best chance of the night when he tore into the penalty area from the left flank. A quick touch to his right gave him an opening for a shot, but the ball knocked off a Spanish defender and went out for a corner.

After the two U.S. opportunities, Spain came right back with a chance of their own. Sisi raced down a loose on the right of the U.S. penalty area and served up a perfect cross into the box. Defender Raul Llorente rose at the back post between two U.S. defenders and drove a header right a Westberg, who did well to parry the ball over the goal.
Spain continued to get into the attack quickly, as they were able to intercept poor passes out of the back by U.S. defenders. In the 28th minute, Westberg came up with another big save, leaving his feet to stretch out for a 20-yard left-footed blast from Silva.

Right before the end of the half, Spain was reduced to 10 men as Silva was given a straight red card for flagrant forearm to the head of Gonzalez after a challenge. Gonzalez had attempted to get a piece of a Silva clearance near the right corner flag and slightly bumped the Spanish midfielder as he crossed in front of him. Silva’s retaliated with a right forearm, knocking Gonzalez to the ground near the sideline. The incident was clearly seen by the assistant referee and Silva was sent off.

Playing against only 10 men in the second half, the U.S. was able to put a bit more pressure on Spain’s backline. In the 65th minute, Ellinger put Adu into the game in the hopes of getting the equalizer, which helped open up play, but the U.S. was never able to create a legitimate scoring opportunity and finished with only three shots on goal. 

As the U.S. pushed to tie the match, Spain’s Cesc put the game out of reach with a world-class blast from 25 yards out in the 70th minute. Cesc collected the ball after it was knocked out after a Spain corner kick and zipped the shot past three U.S. defenders and a diving Westberg.

The U.S. had a few chances on goal in the next 10 minutes, but Mandaluniz was able to keep his clean sheet. After getting tackled outside the penalty area, Adu chipped in a quick restart to a streaking Gaven, but Mandaluniz was able to scoop it up before he could get a foot on it. In the 76th minute a Gonzalez free kick from about 25 yards out had to be punched over the goal Mandaluniz. A few minutes later, Szetela had a blast of his own right at the top of the box, but Mandaluniz was in the perfect position again to bring it in.

Notes: In 10 appearances in the FIFA U-17 World Championship, this is the fourth time the U.S. has been able to advance to the second round … The U.S. will travel the three-hour bus ride to Turku tomorrow.

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

Participants:  U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team vs. Spain
Competition: 2003 FIFA Under-17 World Championship
Location: Lahti Stadium; Lahti, Finland
Date: August 20, 2003
Weather: Cloudy and cool; 60 degrees
Attendance: 3,825

Scoring Summary:
                                                1st     2nd     Final
United States                             0        0         0
Spain                                         1        1         2

ESP – Jurado  (Silva)        11th minute
ESP – Cesc             70th

USA–18-Quentin Westberg; 3-Jonathan Spector, 2-Kyle Helton, 16-Adrian Chevannes; 17-Daniel Szetela, 8-John DiRaimondo (11-Freddy Adu, 66), 7-Brian Grazier (15-Corey Ashe, 45), 6-Chris Germani, 4-Eddie Gaven; 10-Guillermo Gonzalez, 13-Jamie Watson.
Subs not used: 1-Phil Marfuggi, 19-Jacob Peterson, 28-Stephen Sandbo, 14-Julian Valentin, 9-Michael Harrington, 5-Brandon Owens, 12-Steve Curfman.

ESP – 20-Mandaluniz; 2-Ruz, 3-Raul Llorente, 4-Francis (capt.), 5-Sanchez; 7-Sisi (18-Oskitz, 80), 8-Markel, 10-Silva, 11-Jurado (15-Javi, 82); 16-Xisco (12-Pallardo, 86), 17-Cesc
Statistical Summary:
                             USA      ESP
Shots                     5           15
Shots on goal      3           7
Saves                    5           3
Corner Kick          3           7
Fouls                   13         18
Offside                 7           2

Misconduct Summary:

ESP – Silva (expulsion)            45+ minute               
USA – Corey Ashe (caution)         63rd
ESP -  Francis (caution)            75th
ESP – Xisco (caution)            87th

Group D Standings
                                P    W  D  L    GF  GA       +/-    Pts.
Spain                     3     2   1   0      8     5         +3       7
USA                        3     2   0   1      8     4         +4       6
Korea Republic    3     1   0   2      6     11       -5       3
Sierra Leone        3     0   1   2      6     8          -2       1

Group D Results

Thursday, August 14
USA 6, Korea Republic 1
Sierra Leone 3, Spain 3

Sunday, August 17
USA 2, Sierra Leone 1   
Spain 3, Korea Republic 2       

Wednesday, August 20
Korea Republic 3, Sierra Leone 2    
Spain 2, USA 0