CARSON, California (July 14, 2014) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team overcame a 1-0 first-half deficit to beat Chile 2-1 in each team’s first game of the 2014 National Training Center Invitational. Andrija Novakovich and Zach Pfeffer, both second-half subs, contributed the equalizer and game winning goals, respectively. Pfeffer also assisted Novakovich’s game-tying goal.
Novakovich and Pfeffer combined to tie the score at 1-1 in 65th minute, just two minutes after subbing on together. Pfeffer lofted a free kick from the left side toward the far right post, and Novakovich jumped among a pack and headed the ball past Chile goalkeeper Brayan Cortes and into the right corner of the net.
The U.S. took the 2-1 lead in the 73rd minute when Pfeffer finished a cross by Paul Arriola from the right side into the lower left corner of the goal. Holding onto the lead, the USA staved off an aggressive Chile squad in the last portion of the game as it tried to net an equalizer of its own.
Chile opened the scoring in the 22nd minute when U.S. keeper Santiago Castano came out past the edge of the box to try and clear a ball played over the top by Chile. Castano did not get a clean clearance and the ball got by him. Chile’s Cristian Cuevas got behind the defense and found the back of the net for a 1-0 Chile lead.
The first half was full of opportunities for both teams, and the USA had a couple early chances off of set piece chances in the third and 11th minutes. Romain Gall took the free-kick chances following fouls just outside the box, but Chile’s Cortes was on top of each attempt for the saves.
Gall tested Cortes again in the 33rd minute, receiving a pass from the left side and putting a shot on frame from just inside the 18-yard box, which Cortes handled for the save. Then, in the 43rd minute, Fernando Arce curled in a free kick in the 43rd minute that went just wide of the right corner as the USA entered halftime down a goal.
Following the Novakovich and Pfeffer goals in the second half, one of the USA’s other strong scoring chances down the stretch came from a Lynden Gooch header in the 77th minute that sailed just over the crossbar. Gooch was set up by a cross from the right side by Marco Delgado, who entered the match just three minutes earlier.
The U-20 MNT continues play in the 2014 NTC Invitational on Wednesday, July 16, against Bermuda at 4 p.m. PT at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center. Chile takes on Australia at 1 p.m. in the first match of the day.
-U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team Match Report-
Match: U.S. U-20 MNT vs. Chile
Date: July 14, 2014
Competition: 2014 Men’s National Training Center Invitational
Venue: U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center, “Mooch” Myernick Field; Carson, California
Kickoff: 6 p.m. PT
Weather: Clear, 78 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 2 2
Chile 1 0 1
CHI – Cristian Cuevas 22nd minute
USA – Andrija Novakovich (Zach Pfeffer) 65
USA – Zach Pfeffer (Paul Arriola) 73
USA: 12-Santiago Castano; 2-John Requejo Jr., 5-Michael Amick, 4-Conor Donovan, 3-Shaquell Moore; 10-Romain Gall (11-Zach Pfeffer, 63), 6-Russell Canouse, 16-Fernando Arce, 7-Paul Arriola (capt.) (15-Marco Delgado, 74); 8-Lynden Gooch (14-Jacori Hayes, 83), 9-Benji Lopez (19-Andrija Novakovich, 63)
Subs Not Used: 1-Zach Steffen, 13-Chris Odoi-Atsem, 17-Jesus Vasquez, 20-Caleb Smith
Head Coach: Tab Ramos
CHI: 12-Brayan Cortes; 2-Camilo Rodriguez, 3-Sebeastian Vegas (capt.), 5-Benjamin Kuscevic (20-Rodrigo Echeverria, 46), 9-Ignacio Jeraldino, 10-Cristian Cuevas (17-Gonzalo Reyes, 79), 11-Luis Pavez, 14-Bryan Carvallo (6-Kevin Medel, 63), 15-Christopher Dias (7-Ivan Pardo, 63), 18-Juan Fuentes (8-Bernardo Cerezo, 79), 19-Diaz Sebastian
Subs Not Used: 1-Miguel Vargas, 4-Raul Osorio, 13-Matias Bizama, 16-Joaquin Montecinos
Stats Summary: USA / CHI
Shots: 14 / 14
Shots on Goal: 7 / 2
Saves: 1 / 5
Corner Kicks: 2 / 3
Fouls: 12 / 23
Offside: 1 / 2
USA – Conor Donovan (caution) 30th minute
CHI – Ivan Pardo (caution) 68
USA – Zach Pfeffer (caution) 75
Referee: Nima Saghafi (USA)
Assistant Referee: Eduardo Marisca (USA)
Assistant Referee: Andrew Bigelow (USA)
Fourth Official: Victor Rivas (USA)