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U-20 MNT Defeats Wales, 3-0, in Milk Cup Opener

The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team defeated Wales, 3-0, in the opening match of the 2006 Milk Cup at the Coleraine Showgrounds in Coleraine, Northern Ireland.

The U.S. tallied all three goals in the first half with Jonathan Villanueva and Dax McCarty registering the first and third goals, respectively. In between, a strike by Tony Beltran was ruled an own goal after deflecting off a Wales defender.

The U.S., which is attempting to retain its Milk Cup title after the U.S. Under-18 squad won the tournament in 2005, sits atop the six-team Elite Group after earning three points from the first match, and is in a prime position to advance to the championship match. The U.S. next faces Denmark on Wednesday, Aug. 5. Denmark drew 1-1 with Turkey in their opening match today, while Paraguay upended the hosts, 3-1. A victory would ensure the U.S. a spot in the final on Friday, Aug. 6.

The U.S. quickly took control of the game when Jonathan Villanueva scored in the fifth minute. The attack started from a Blake Wagner throw-in on the right side near the center line. Wagner threw it in to Villanueva, who flicked it to Brad Ring and the midfielder quickly swung the ball to the right side of the field for Rodrigo Lopez. The Chivas USA midfielder dribbled past two defenders at the top of the penalty area before slotting the ball across the 18-yard line to a streaking Villanueva, who took a great first touch forward to put him around defender Chris Gunter before burying his left-footed shot inside the left post.

Seven minutes later, the U.S. double their lead when Beltran unleashed a 30-yard blast that deflected off a defender and ended up in the net. Beltran's attempt came off a corner kick that was cleared out by the Wales defense, but McCarty was able to bring it down and drop it back to the UCLA midfielder for the blast.

McCarty finished off the scoring in the 35th minute. The U.S. pushed the ball deep into the right corner for Sal Zizzo and he pulled the ball back before slipping it to McCarty near the top of the box. McCarty took a few touches and then unleashed a 20-yard left-footed drive that snuck past the keeper and inside the right post.

In complete control, the U.S. had an excellent chance to make it 4-0 four minutes later when McCarty was taken down from behind in the box after a nice give-and-go with Johann Smith, but Smith was unable to convert the penalty. He struck to the lower right corner, but Welsh goalkeeper Callum Hawthorne guessed right and came up with the save. Smith tracked down the rebound to the right of the goal and hit another attempt on goal from a tough angle, but Hawthorne once again was up to the challenge.

With the offense clicking, the U.S. also was dominating on the defensive end as they held Wales to just two shots for the entire match. Goalkeeper Chris Setiz had an easy day as the University of Maryland prodcuct wasn't required to make a single save on the day.

Fans interested in watching a replay of the game can go to BBC online.

U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Game Report

Participants: USA vs. Wales
Competition: 2006 Milk Cup
Location: Coleraine Showgrounds; Northern Ireland
Date: July 31, 2006
Weather: Cool, 60 degrees
Attendance: 1,000

Scoring Summary:
                    1    2    F
USA            3    0    3
WAL            0    0    0

USA – Jonathan Villanueva (Rodrigo Lopez)    5th minute
USA – Own goal                                                      12.
USA – Dax McCarty (Sal Zizzo)                             35.
USA: 1-Chris Seitz; 2-Tony Beltran (16-Chance Myers, 84), 4-Julian Valentin, 6-Ofori Sarkodie, 13-Blake Wagner (3-Amaechi Igwe, 67); 15-Brad Ring, 10-Dax McCarty (Capt.) (14-Carlos Borja, 78), 5-Jonathan Villanueva (17-Preston Zimmerman, 84); 8-Rodrigo Lopez, 9-Johann Smith, 11-Sal Zizzo (7-Robbie Rogers, 66)
Subs not used: 12-Josmer Altidore, 24-Mike Gustavson
Head Coach: Thomas Rongen

WAL: 1-Callum Hawthorne; 6-Chris Gunter, 5-James Wilson (3-Kyle Yelland, 66), 12-Mark Bradely, 14-Matthew Smith; 4-Lloyd James (10-Kyle Bassett, 85), 16-Andy King, 15-Darcy Blake, 8-Gregg Coombes; 9-Marc Williams, 17-Joshua Klein-Davies (11-Craig Moses, 53).

Statistical Summary:
                              USA    WAL
Shots                     12        2   
Saves                     0          6
Fouls                     11        18
Corner Kicks         7          2
Offside                    1         3

Misconduct Summary:
WAL – Matthew Smith (caution)        90th minute

Team     GP    W     L     T     GF    GA    GD    Pts.
USA         1      1      0     0      3        0     +3        3
PAR         1      1      0     0      3        1     +2        3
DEN        1      0      0     1      2        2        0        1
TUR        1      0      0     1      2         2       0        1
NIR          1      0      1     0      1        3      -2        0   
WAL         1      0      1     0      0        3     -3         0

Monday, July 31
USA 3, Wales 0
Denmark 2, Turkey 2
Paraguay 3, Northern Ireland 1

Wednesday, Aug. 2
USA vs. Denmark   
Wales vs. Paraguay
Turkey vs. Northern Ireland

Friday, Aug. 4
5th Place Match
3rd Place Match

U-20 MNT Starting XI