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U.S. Under 17s Defeat Brazil, 2-0, for First-Ever Victory Over South Americans at Development Academy Nike Friendlies

BRADENTON, Fla. (Dec. 8, 2007) - The U.S. Under-17 ‘92 Men’s National Team defeated Brazil, 2-0, at the Development Academy Nike Friendlies in Bradenton, Fla., on Saturday, behind goals from Midfielder Carlos Martinez and Forward Stefan Jerome.

Goalkeeper Earl Edwards contributed 10 saves to the winning effort and Jared Watts was commanding on the backline, as Wilmer Cabrera’s young team staved off the Brazilians to earn the U.S. their first-ever victory over the South Americans at the Nike Friendlies and their first since 2001.

“We've been working with these kids and concentrating on these players and these games for weeks,” said U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Wilmer Cabrera, who was in charge for just his second international match. “It was nice to have something to play for, and it's always good to beat Brazil."

The U.S. had the first real chance of the game in only the second minute, when forward Jack McInerrney headed midfielder Joseph-Michael Gyau’s tantalizing cross wide of the goal.

However, it was Brazil that had the better of the early exchanges overall. Mattheus Carvalho, starting up top for Brazil, brought the best out of Edwards in the 11th minute when the forward skipped into the area and lashed a low drive that was headed for the far post bottom corner. Edwards reacted superbly, turning the ball away from the goal for a corner kick.

The opportunity was a sign of things to come, and Brazil started coming into their own spurred on by the growing influence of Wellington in the center of midfield. The No. 10 drew a save from Edwards in 17th minute, and the U.S. goalkeeper was off his line early in the 25th minute, thwarting another chance created by the young Brazilian.

The U.S. was in need of a lift, and it eventually came in the form of a shrewd tactical maneuver. Gyau and midfielder Carlos Martinez switched flanks, and the move immediately paid dividends. The diminutive Gyau surged forward in the 26th minute, and his superb combination with central midfielder Charles Renken unlocked the Brazilian defense. The shot by Gyau left a lot to be desired, but the U.S. seemed to be lifted by the chance.

The breakthrough for the U.S. came less than two minutes later, and it was the combination of the two wingers that lead to the goal. Gyau was the architect, picking up the ball from Jerome and teasing a cross into the area. Martinez was the first to react, and he met the ball mid-stride, flicking it with the outside of his right foot into the far corner of the goal from six yards out. It was an instinctive finish from the Las Vegas, Nev., native, and the goal was his second of the tournament after his well taken strike against Russia on Thursday (Dec. 6).

The packed crowd went berserk as the U.S. took the lead, but from the restart Brazil continued attacking the Americans. Forward Felipe cut to the endline and squared a dangerous ball across the goal for the onrushing Matheus Carvalho. His finish was poor, however, and from five yards out he pushed the ball outside the post when he really should have hit the target.

The second half included few chances for the U.S. U-17s, though for the first few minutes after the restart, they succeeded in negating any Brazilian attempts to attack.

Renken, who was quiet on the day, left with an ankle injury in the 58th minute, and soon after the complexion of the game began to change.

Brazil started converting their pressure into scoring opportunities, and in the 61st minute, substitute Guilherme flashed a shot wide of the goal from the top of the area.

Left back Eron began joining the attack and he forced two more saves from Edwards in the 66th and 68th minutes.

The U.S. defense was bending but not breaking, with Jared Watts playing a colossal role for the American backline. The captain was leading by example, breaking up attacks with his excellent aerial play, and winning challenges on the ground with consistency.

Guilherme was proving to be a physical menace at the head of the Brazilian attack, but Watts and his defensive partner Perry Kitchen were able to keep him in check.

In one of the few offensive moves for the U.S. in the second half, Jerome showed a few stellar touches to get by his defender. Running into the box, the Florida native used his strength to hold off Brazil’s Venecius, and when the center back went to ground, he was adjudged to have handled the ball.

Jerome took care of the penalty duties himself, calmly stroking the ball home for his second goal of the tournament.

“The second goal on the penalty kick let us relax a little bit,” said the first goal scorer Martinez. “The pressure let up a bit, and we regained our composure and settled back into the game.”

Down two goals, Brazil valiantly continued to press, but the result was all but decided. Eventually, the frustration boiled over and the Brazilian forward Matheus was sent off for a reckless tackle on U.S. defensive midfielder Marlon Duran.

“We don’t want this to be the high point of our cycle,” said Watts, the U.S. captain, “We know we have a lot of work to do before the next World Cup, and beating Brazil is going to wake people up, but we’re not there yet.”

The U.S. is back on the field tomorrow and will face Turkey at 3 p.m. The game will be televised live on FSC, and re-aired later at 8 p.m.

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

Participants: USA vs. Brazil
Competition: Development Academy Nike Friendlies, Under-17/18 Competition
Location: IMG Academy; Bradenton, Fla.
Date: December 8, 2007
Weather: Warm, 83 degrees

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

USA – Carlos Martinez (Joseph-Claude Gyau) 27th minute
USA – Stefan Jerome (PK) 80th minute

USA: 1-Earl Edwards; 3-Estanilao Arevalo (16-Tyler Polak, 35), 2-Perry Kitchen, 6-Jared Watts (capt.), 4 Emilio Orozco; 13-Joseph-Claude Gyau, 5-Marlon Duran, 10-Charles Renken (8-Edson Lemus, 59), 11-Carlos Martinez; 7-Jack McInerney (19-Jamie Gutierrez, 73), 9-Stefan Jerome (12-Andrew Craven, 90)

BRA: 1-Luis Guilherme (capt.); 2-Bernardo (3-Gerson, 52), 14-Mauricio (18-Guilherme, 59), 4-Venicius, 6-Eron; 10-Wellington (15-Jairo, 86), 11-Belchoir (16-Fernando, 50), 5-Elivelton, 8-Coutinho; 7-Matheus, 9-Felipe (13-Danilo, 43)

Statistical Summary:
Shots: 6 / 19
Shots on Goal: 3 / 10
Saves: 10 / 1
Corner Kicks: 2 / 4
Fouls: 20 / 25
Offsides: 2 / 5

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Carlos Martinez (caution) 20th minute
BRA – Mauricio (caution) 53rd minute
BRA – Eron (caution) 74th minute
BRA – Matheus Carvalho (caution) 87th minute
BRA – Matheus Carvalho (ejection) 88th minute
BRA – Guilherme (ejection) 90th minute

Referee: Jason Anno
1st Assistant: Gerg Boles
2nd Assistant: James Conlee
4th Official/Reserve: Yader Reyes

Sierra Mist Man of the Match: Jared Watts