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U.S. Falls 1-0 to China in World Youth Championship Opener; Under-20s Face Chile on Wednesday, June 20


MENDOZA, Argentina (Sunday, June 17, 2001) -

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The United States Under-20 Men's National Team fell 1-0 to China in their opening match of the XIth FIFA World Youth Championship in a cold and chilly Malvinas Argentinas Stadium in Mendoza, Argentina. Despite controlling play for the majority of the second half, the United States was unable to penetrate the Chinese defense and was shutout in an international for the second consecutive match.

The U.S. gets a chance to restart their trek to the second round when they face Chile on Wednesday, June 20, in what will be the second game of the tournament for both teams. That game can be seen on same-day delay on Galavision's East Feed (Eastern/Central/Mountain except Arizona) at 9:00 p.m. ET, and on Galavision's West Feed (Pacific/Arizona/Alaska/Hawaii) at 9:00 p.m. PT.

"I am a little disappointed with the result, but on the other hand I thought we saw two good teams out there playing good soccer for the first game in this tournament," U.S. head coach Wolfgang Suhnholz said. "I know that China is a very good team and they gave us a lot of problems in the first half. Finally in the second half we came out and got the game under control. I think we did most of the attacking in the second half."

While the U.S. did most of the attacking in the second half, they also did much of the defending in the first half. D.J. Countess came up huge in nets for the USA, especially in the first 45 minutes when he recorded four saves. His best save of the game kept the match scoreless in the first half when he elevated to palm a Gao Ming blast over the bar. Countess came up with five saves in the match.

The problem for the U.S. was an offense that did not click in the final third of the field. The U.S. had several good scoring chances, but in what would become a theme of the afternoon, were never able to find the final touch or the final pass. Landon Donovan has maybe the USA's best chance in the 33rd minute when his left-footed blast from 24 yards out was tipped by Chinese goalkeeper An Qi just wide of the right post. Kyle Martino also had a shot sail just wide in the 16th minute.

The Chinese finally put one by Countess in the 50th minute, when a splitting through ball put Qu Bo in behind the U.S. defense in the right side of the penalty box. Qu carried the ball in to a one-on-one with Countess and placed the ball past the sliding goalkeeper. Qu Bo also scored against the full U.S. Men's National Team earlier this year, in a 2-1 U.S. win in Oakland, Calif.

Alecko Eskandarian replaced Conor Casey in the second half, and shortly thereafter found himself with a pair of opportunities to even the game. But the striker who was so surefire in the Toulon Festival last month was unable to bury the ball. After a brilliant combination between Alex Yi and Bobby Convey, Convey's cross to the back post found Eskandarian all alone, but he could do nothing with it. Minutes later the University of Virginia striker found himself with the ball and time at the top of the box, but he hurried his shot and An Qi made the save from 15 yards.

"You can't play good all the time," Donovan said. "We just had a bad day."

Oguchi Onyewu and Alex Yi produced solid performances in the backline, and Kelly Gray played a solid 90 minutes in his role as a defensive midfielder.

The U.S. will next face Chile, in what will almost be a home match for Argentina's neighbors, on Wednesday, June 20. The U.S. will wrap up the tournament on June 23 against Ukraine, the UEFA runner-ups. The top two teams from each four-team group advances to the Round of 16, as do the top-four third-place group finishers.

Ukraine hammered Chile 4-2 on Sunday, with Chile scoring a last-minute goal for the final scoreline.

Notes: The U.S. team wore their red shirts with blue shorts and red socks ... The Chinese wore their all-white kits ... All 20 field players wore long sleeve jerseys ... China kicked off to start the match ... The loudest cheer of the afternoon in the stadium came when the announcer announced the first goal of the Argentina - Finland match ... The city of Mendoza saw snow flurries Sunday morning.

2001 U.S. UNDER-20 MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT

Participants:U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team vs. China
Competition:XIth World Youth Championship, Group C
Venue:Malvinas Argentinas (Mendoza, Argentina)
Date:June 17, 2001 - Kickoff 2:00 p.m. local
Weather:32 degrees (Cloudy, Wet)

Scoring Summary:1st2ndFinal
United States
000
China
011

CHN - Qu Bo (Marco Ferro) 50.

Lineups:
USA - 1-D.J. Countess; 5- Alex Yi, 4-Nelson Akwari (Capt.), 3-Oguchi Onyewu; 11-Bobby Convey, 6-Kelly Gray, 15-Brian Carroll (2-PhilipSalyer, 86), 13-Kyle Martino (17-Edson Buddle, 63), 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 10-Landon Donovan, 17-Conor Casey (8-Alecko Eskandarian, 57).

CHN - 1-An Qi, 3-Du Wei (Capt.), 4-Zhou Lin, 5-Wang Sheng, 6-Hu Zhaojun, 8-Gao Ming, 10- Yan Song (13-Wang Xinxin, 65), 14-Xu Linag, 15-Yaokun Zhang, 16-Qu Bo (2-Ma Yi, 64), 17-Yu Tao.

Statistical Summary:USACHN
Shots . . . . . . . . . .
88
Saves . . . . . . . . . .
52
Corner Kicks . . . . . .
29
Fouls . . . . . . . . . .
127
Offside . . . . . . . . .
32

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY:
CHN - Xu Liang (caution), 69.
CHN - n/a (caution), 93.

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