LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. (Nov. 18, 2019) – The U.S. Under-16 Boys’ National Team claimed the 2019 Nike International Friendlies title with a 3-2 comeback victory over Turkey on Match Day Three at the Premier Sports Campus.
Dante Sealy scored twice within an 18-minute span in the second half to break a 1-1 tie and boost the Americans (2-0-1; 7 pts). Sealy connected from range in the 54th and 73rd minutes on the final day of the competition.
The Netherlands (1-0-2; 5pts), which met the U.S. U-17 side (1-1-1; 4pts) in the second game of the doubleheader, came up short in its bid to win the tournament after a 2-2 draw with the older American side. Turkey (0-3-0; 0pts) finished the competition in last place.
It was the second time the Americans were forced to rally in the second-half points during their tournament run. In their 3-3 draw with the Netherlands in the competition’s opener on Thursday, Nov. 14, the Red, White and Blue tallied twice in stoppage time to earn a crucial point.
Turkey scored against the run of play to grab a 1-0 lead in the 28th minute. Yusuf Erdem Gumus picked up a loose ball from a U.S. player on the right flank. He motored into the penalty area before unleashing a 12-yard shot past goalkeeper Gabe Slonina into the upper left corner.
The goal emboldened the Turks, who pushed forward but could not find the back of the net until late in the match.
The hosts came close to recording the equalizer in the 38th minute when Turkey goalkeeper Ahmet Cagri Guney was on the ground. Kevin Paredes sent a shot from inside the box toward the lower left corner, but Ahmetcan Kaplan managed to block the attempt on the goal line.
Two minutes later, the USA knotted it up at 1-1 as Brian Gutierrez fed an onrushing Moses Nyeman, who used a light, deft touch to tap the ball in from 10 yards out past Guney in the 40th minute.
The Turks came within inches of retaking the lead in the 51st minute as Abdullah Sahindere headed Bartug Elmaz's long free kick headed the ball off the right post.
Left back Eric Kinzer started both of the U.S.'s second-half scoring sequences from the back.
On the first goal in the 54th minute, Kinzer launched a long ball down the left side that Paredes ran onto before beating two defenders. Paredes sent a ball across the box to Sealy, who connected with his left foot from 12 yards for a 2-1 lead.
In the 73rd minute, Kinzer found Alex Monis in the midfield. Monis passed to Sealy. With Guney coming 30 yards out of his net, Sealy scored into an empty goal for a 3-1 advantage.
Turkey pulled one back four minutes into added time. Captain Yigit Emre Celtik took possession of the ball and executed a give-and-go with Abdullah Sogucak before smashing a shot off the right post. Selman Faruk Dibek slotted the rebound home.
All the matches at the 2019 Nike Friendlies will be streamed on ussoccer.com and U.S. Soccer social media accounts YouTube, Facebook and Twitter (@USYNT).
Goal Scoring Rundown:TUR – Yusuf Erdem Gumus, 28th minute: Yusuf Erdem Gumus scooped up a loose ball from a U.S. player on the right side. He ran into the box before drilling a 12-yard shot past goalkeeper Gabe Slonina into the upper left corner. USA 0, TUR 1
USA – Moses Nyeman (Brian Gutierrez), 40th minute: The Americans didn't take long to retaliate as Brian Gutierrez found an onrushing Moses Nyeman. Nyeman demonstrated a deft touch to tap the ball in from 10 yards past goalkeeper Ahmet Cagri Guney. USA 1, TUR 1
USA – Dante Sealy (Kevin Paredes), 54th minute: This goal turned out to be a combination of great vision and execution. Left back Eric Kinzer played a long ball down the left flank to Kevin Paredes, who beat two defenders to cross the ball to the far side of the penalty area. Dante Sealy put the ball in from 12 yards. USA 2, TUR 1
USA – Dante Sealy (Alex Monis), 73rd minute: Eric Kinzer smartly found Alex Monis in the midfield. Monis sent a through ball to Sealy. With goalkeeper Ahmet Cagri Guney coming some 30 yards out of his goal, Sealy scored into an empty net for a 3-1 advantage. USA 3, TUR 1
TUR – Selman Faruk Dibek, 94th minute: Turkey took advantage of some sloppy USA play. Captain Yigit Emre Celtik at midfield, produced a give-and-go with Abdullah Sogucak before smashing a shot off the right post. Selman Faruk Dibek slotted the rebound home to move within one. USA 3, TUR 2 FINAL
Key Saves & Defensive Stops:
It was a field player and not a goalkeeper who made the most significant save of the first half when Turkey goalkeeper Ahmet Cagri Guney was on the ground in the 38th minute. The USA's Kevin Paredes fired a shot from inside the box that headed to the lower left corner, but Ahmetcan Kaplan blocked the attempt on the goal line near the left post.
Turkey goalkeeper Ahmet Cagri Guney did produce two memorable saves in a short span, denying Dante Sealy a hat-trick from the left side of the area in stoppage time and then stopping Noah Hall's attempt from the right side only seconds later.