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U.S. Defeats Malawi 1-0 In Second Game of 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup

KANO, Nigeria (Oct. 29, 2009) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team rebounded in their second game of the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup, defeating Malawi 1-0 with a goal from midfielder Alex Shinsky at Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano, Nigeria.

Shinsky volleyed home a rebound from the top of the box in the 54th minute after a Marlon Duran shot, and the ball found its way through the arms and legs of Malawian goalkeeper Cuthbert Seengwa for the game winning goal.

The win moves the United States into a tie for second place in Group E with three points, but United Arab Emirates currently have the edge on the goals scored tiebreaker. With two wins, Spain moves into the top place in the group with six points, and have secured a berth to the knock-out stage. Malawi currently sits on zero points and will play the group leaders on Sunday.

Cabrera’s squad will have a chance to move onto the round of 16 when they play their third and final opening round game against the UAE on Sunday, Nov. 1, at 10 a.m. ET. With Daylight Saving Time ending at 2 a.m. Sunday morning, remember to set your clocks back one hour in order to catch the match that will be broadcast on ESPNU, and Galavision.

“Today was a tough game. We were both motivated teams on the field,” said U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Wilmer Cabrera. “The United States’ record against African teams isn’t so good, but today we moved the ball and worked hard and we got the goal we needed. Now, we have a chance to move to the next stage, and we have to focus on UAE because that is a very important game.”

Cabrera made two changes to his starting lineup, giving Jared Watts the captain’s armband with Eriq Zavaleta replacing Perry Kitchen while forward Stefan Jerome was replaced up top by Victor Chavez. Both new starters were second half substitutes in the first game against Spain.

The match began promisingly for the United States, as they attacked down into Malawi’s end immediately after kickoff and earned a corner kick less than a minute into the match. Taken by Tyler Polak, the inswinger was cleared out by the Malawi defense, but the U.S. would not relent. The U.S. earned three corners in the first six minutes, with the best chance coming from a forceful Jack McInerney header that was saved by Malawi goalkeeper Cuthbert Seengwa.

Malawi’s offense was restricted to attempting through balls, but the U.S. back line held strong under the guidance of Watts to continually force Malawi offside. Their first shot of the game came in the 10th minute of the match, when forward Maxwell Mwangyongo hit a hard, low shot to the left of U.S. goalkeeper Earl Edwards, who did well to get down and hold onto the ball with a Malawian attacker lurking for the rebound.

McInerney earned the first booking of the match in the 18th minute, after a collision with Seengwa at the top of the box while running onto a pass.

Heading into halftime, the statistics showed the frustration of both teams. Despite having seven corner kicks, the U.S. had only three shots on goal while Malawi’s 11 offside calls belied their main style of attack.

Picking up where they left off at the break, the U.S. earned a corner kick in the first minute of the second half, continuing their tenacity to push into the attack. In the 53rd minute, the U.S. again drove forward, this time beginning with distribution from Edwards. Duran received the ball at midfield and passed to Luis Gil on his right. Gil attempted to cross it to Shinsky on the left side of the box, but it was intercepted and headed down but not out. Falling to the top of the box, McInerney ran onto the loose ball but blasted his shot just wide to the left of the goal.

Stealing possession after the ensuing goal kick, substitute Andrew Craven, who had replaced Chavez seconds earlier, immediately took the ball down the left side and sent a cross to the far post. Overshooting the onrushing U.S. attack, the ball fell to Gil on the right edge of the box. After Gil's clever backheel pass over a defender found Duran, he ripped a shot from a sharp angle on the right side of the goal, but Seengwa blocked it into the air. The rebound was poorly headed out by a defender, and Shinsky was able to volley the ball straight back at Seengwa. The Malawian goalkeeper mishandled the shot and it went through his arms and legs as he bent down to catch it, eventually rolling across the line for a 1-0 U.S. lead.

Despite the fortuitous bounce, it was a well earned goal for a U.S. squad that ended the match with an 11-2 advantage on corner kicks. The game continued with much of the same from the first half, as both teams tried to find attackers behind their opposing back lines. Malawi were consistently called offside, ending the game with 18 infractions, and only once threatened Edwards’ goal.

In the 77th minute, Malawi attacked, keeping good possession in the U.S. end. Attempting to clear, Polak fouled Kelvin Hanganda approximately 35 yards from goal in the center of the field. Stepping up to take the free kick was captain Bruno Milanzi, who rocketed a shot towards the roof of the net. Edwards took no chances on the rising shot, tipping the ball over the goal for the corner.

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

Match: U.S. U-17 MNT vs. Malawi
Date: Oct. 29, 2009
Competition: 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup; Group E
Venue: Sani Abacha Stadium; Kano, Nigeria
Kickoff: 4 p.m. local time (11 a.m. ET)
Attendance: 9,000
Weather: 93 degrees, cloudy

Scoring Summary: 1    2     F
USA                         0     1     1
MWI                         0     0     0

USA – Alex Shinsky           54th minute

USA: 1-Earl Edwards; 6-Zachary Herold, 2-Jared Watts (capt.) (20-Boyd Okwuonu, 87), 15-Eriq Zavaleta, 3-Tyler Polak; 10-Luis Gil, 11-Nick Palodichuk, 5-Marlon Duran, 8-Alex Shinsky (14-Carlos Martinez, 66); 9-Jack McInerney, 19-Victor Chavez (18-Andrew Craven, 54)
Subs not used: 4-Perry Kitchen, 7-Stefan Jerome, 21-Keith Cardona, 12-Spencer Richey, 13-Dominick Sarle, 17-William Packwood, 16-Juan Agudelo
Head Coach: Wilmer Cabrera

MWI: 1-Cuthbert Seengwa; 2-Pilirani Zonda, 6-Peter Mselema, 8-Bongani Kaipa, 13-Francis Mulimbika; 7-Tonny Chitsulo (9-Adrew Mpetiwa, 75), 15-Takondwa Issah (12-Gilbert Chirwa, 63), 17-Mike Kaziputa, 18-Kelvin Hanganda, 11-Maxwell Mwanyongo (4-Patience Kalumo, 61); 10-Bruno Milanzi (capt.)
Subs not used: 5-Robert Simkonda, 16-Victor Nangwale, 19-Kingston Chindebvu, 20-Willie Saenda, 21-Jailos Kapalamula
Head coach: John Kaputa

Stats Summary: USA / MWI
Shots: 11 / 7
Shots on Goal: 5 / 5
Saves: 5 / 4
Corner Kicks: 11 / 2
Fouls: 9 / 7
Offside: 2 / 18

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Jack McInerney     (caution)       18th minute
MWI – Kelvin Hanganda   (caution)       57

Referee: Massimo Busacca (SUI)
Assistant Referee 1: Matthias Arnet (SUI)
Assistant Referee 2: Manuel Navarro (SUI)
Fourth Official: Subkhiddin Mohd Salle (MAS) Man of the Match: 
Alex Shinsky