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U-18 MNT Take Jump to First in Slovakia Cup With Win Over Malta

NOVE MESTO, Slovakia (April 25, 2006) - The U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team leapfrogged the hosts this afternoon to take over first place in Group A of the Slovakia Cup with a 3-1 victory over Malta in Nove Mesto.

The U.S. got three goals in first half from Jonathon Villanueva, Cam Lamming and Dan Kelly to pace them to victory and give them four points after two games in Group A.  Similar to the U.S., Slovakia drew 2-2 in the other Group A match, allowing the U.S. to take over first place with a better goal differential (+2 to +1).

The U.S. and Slovakia will play their third and final Group A match on Thursday, April 27. The U.S. holds its own destiny to play in either the third place or championship match on Friday, April 28. A victory over Slovakia would guarantee them a spot in the championship match. With a draw, the U.S. could also advance to the championship if Hungary were to lose or draw to Malta. If Hungary beats Malta, the U.S. would finish second in Group A with a draw and would play in the third place match.

The U.S. dominated Malta right from the beginning, getting all three of their goals before the 23rd minute. The U.S. held Malta to just two shot in the entire match, and did a much better job of managing the game than they did against Hungary when they gave up two goals in the second half.

The U.S. was without Perica Marosevic, who received a red card against Hungary, but were energized by the return of Villanueva and Kelly. Both players had missed the first match due to injury.

“Both games we’ve come out really well in the first half, but against Hungary allowed them to pull even with two goals in the second half,” said U-18 MNT head coach Bob Jenkins. “Today, we did a much better job of keeping our composure and getting the victory. We’re looking forward to facing Slovakia in our final group match. Anytime you get the chance to play the hosts in a meaningful game it is a fun atmosphere and one the players can learn from at the same time.”

Former U-17 MNT midfielder Jonathan Villanueva put the U.S. on the board in the 11th minute with a fantastic 22-yard free kick. Villanueva bent a left-footed strike around the wall, dropping the ball into the lower right corner.

Five minutes later, Cam Lamming double the U.S. advantage on a pretty goal that started with a cross into the box by Jose Gonzales. Dan Kelly rose to flick the ball across the goalmouth, where Lamming was sitting at the six-yard box for the easy finish.

The U.S. suffered a bit of a scare in the 26th minute when goalkeeper Brian Perk came out of the box to clear a ball and ended up colliding with a Slovakian player. Jenkins subbed in Joe Bendik for Perk as a pre-caution. Perk received a knock on his hip and head, but the team doctor said he should be fine and available for the Slovakia match.

The U.S. put the game out of reach for the overmatched Malta squad in the 23rd minute when Kelly added a goal to his earlier assist. Kyle Davies sent in a long ball from the sideline into the area for Kelly, who hit a beautiful half-volley that deflected off a defender before finding the back of the net.

Malta pulled one goal back in the 50th minute when Bendik couldn’t control a loose ball after making a save on Xerri Jonathan. The ball got a bit away from Bendik and before he could pounce on it, Mintof John was able to poke the ball over the goal line.

In Group B play, the Czech Republic and Ukraine are still tied for first place after the two countries drew 1-1 this afternoon. Poland got its first points of the tournament with a 2-0 victory over Belgium and sits in third place.

U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team Match Report

 U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team vs. Malta
Competition:  Slovakia Cup 2006
Location: Nove Mesto, Slovakia
Date: April 25, 2006
Weather: Warm, 70 degrees

Scoring Summary: 
              1st   2nd    Final
USA        3       0          3
MLT        0       1          1

USA – Jonathon Villanueva                    11th minute
USA – Cam Lamming (Dan Kelly)        16.
USA – Dan Kelly (Kyle Davies)              23.
MLT – Mintof John                                    50.      

USA: 1-Brian Perk (18-Joe Bendik, 26); 2-Cam Lamming (3-Doug Ferner, 64), 6-Colin Givens, 16-Kyle Davies, 4-Greg Eckhardt; 8-Jose Gonzales (10-Kaoru Forbess, 67), 5-Blair Gavin, 13-Jonathon Villanueva, 15-Dan Kelly (11-Edgar Barajas, 58); 14-Michael Stephens (12-Kemo Djedovic, 76), 7-Casey Townsend (17-Eber Martinez, 64).

MLT: 1-Vella Nicholas; 2-Pisani Duncan, 4-Bonnici Steven, 5-Farugia Tyrone, 6-Gatt Baldacchino Clifford (15-Buhagiar Lawrence, 32); 8-Pulo Karl (3-Spiteri Clive, 67), 10-Zarb Daniel, 11-Gatt Daniel (7-Mintof John, 48), 13-Galea Lee; 14-Ellul Osbert (9-Quilin Refalo, 48), 16-Xerri Jonathan. 

Statistical Summary:
                              USA    MLT
Shots                      6          2
Saves                      1         2
Fouls                      14       14
Corner Kicks          3         2
Offside                    3          3

Misconduct Summary:

Slovakia Cup 2006 Standings/Results

Group A

Teams GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
USA 2 1 0 1 5 3 +2 4
Slovakia 2 1 0 1 3 2 +1 4
Hungary 2 0 0 2 4 4 0 2
Malta 2 0 2 0 1 4 -3 0

Monday, April 24
USA 2, Hungary 2
Slovakia 1, Malta 0

Tuesday, April 25
USA 3, Malta 1
Slovakia 2, Hungary 2

Thursday, April 27
USA vs. Slovakia
Hungary vs. Malta

Friday, April 28
Third Place Match
Championship Match

Group B
Team GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
Czech Republic 2 1 0 1 3 1 +2 4
Ukraine 2 1 0 1 3 1 +2 4
Poland 2 1 1 0 2 2 0 3
Belgium 2 0 2 0 0 4 -4 0

Monday, April 24
Czech Republic 2, Poland 0
Ukraine 2, Belgium 0

Tuesday, April 25
Czech Republic 1, Ukraine 1
Poland 2, Belgium 0

Thursday, April 27
Czech Republic vs. Belgium
Ukraine vs. Poland

Friday, April 28
Third Place Match
Championship Match