Portugal takes on Turkey to begin the final matchday of the 2016 Nike International Friendlies;
Hosted by U.S. Soccer at Premier Sports Complex in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
LAKEWOOD RANCH, Florida (Dec. 4, 2015) – Though they were playing on for pride in their final match of the 2016 Nike International Friendlies, Portugal and Turkey each brought their ‘A’ games to the pitch Sunday. With an early goal shout waived off for Turkey, Portugal would create better opportunities for themselves and walk away with a 2-0 win on two successful penalty kicks and solid defensive play.
After just four minutes of play, Turkey found themselves with their best opportunity of the day. A passing error by Portugal defender Tiago Djalo attracted the attention of a lurking Mehmet Sait Üzümcü who carried his fast break interception to the top of the penalty box before striking a shot. The attempt was saved by a diving Joao Goncalo, punching the ball to his right. The save would not be the end of it as the ball would stay in bounds and fell into space for Berkay Görmez on the right side of the box. Görmez hustled to the spot and flung a cross into the air, connecting with the head of Enes Islam Ilki, who appeared to head the ball onto the goal line before Goncalo retreated to get a hand on the ball mid-air. Turkey players thought the ball had crossed the line, but referee Farhad Dadkho refused the protests.
The missed opportunity proved to be significant wind taken out of the sails, as Turkey failed to create another quality chance to get on the scoreboard.
With the game’s momentum up for grabs, Portugal elected to pressure and test the Turkish defense for the remaining 85 minutes and Djalo would redeem his early error by taking the ball himself in the 41st minute. In his speedy overlapping run from his defensive position, Djalo used touches from his teammates to funnel into the box. As he received his final pass in the penalty area from Rafael Camacho he positioned his body for a strike before Turkey’s Bekir Melih Gökcimen took him down with a slide tackle from behind. The challenge would quickly secure a caution in the books and set up a penalty kick for Rodrigo Conceicao, who would fake out Berke Ozer in scoring into an empty left side to give Portugal a 1-0 lead.
After a couple of near conversions in the 73rd and 75th minutes, Portugal put put the game away for good in the 85th. After an efficient interception, Portugal midfielder Henrique Jocu launched a deep ball over the top to connect with Umaro Embalo in stride. Embalo would stay onside, take a couple of sprinting touches forward and get tackled from behind by Beki Melih Gökcimen. Having already received a caution, Due to his second caution of the game, Gökcimen was shown a second yellow and left the field with a look of exhaustion and disappointment on his shoulders.
The penalty kick would prove to be too easy for Embalo, who went down the middle to secure the victory for Portugal and give himself the lead for the Nike International Friendlies Golden Boot, with his fifth goal of the tournament.
With the win, Portugal walks away with four points on the tournament after posting a 1-1-1 record for the tournament.
CHICAGO (Nov. 29, 2015) – U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Hackworth named a 20-player roster that will compete at the 13th annual Nike International Friendlies in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. from Nov. 30-Dec. 4.
U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Carlos Joaquim Dos Santos (S.L. Benfica; Philadelphia, Penn.), Justin Garces (Kendall SC; Miami, Fla.)
DEFENDERS (7): Carlos Asensio (Atlanta United FC; Roswell, Ga.), Sergino Dest (Ajax; Almere-stad, Netherlands), Christopher Gloster (New York Red Bulls; Montclair, N.J.), Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting Kansas City; Charlotte, N.C.), Carlos Ritaccio (BW Gotschee; Westbury, N.Y.), James Sands (New York City FC; Rye, N.Y.), Arturo Vasquez (FC Golden State; Mira Loma, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): George Acosta (Weston FC; Hollywood, Fla.), Isaac Angking (New England Revolution; Providence, R.I.), Christopher Durkin (D.C. United; Glen Allen, Va.), Blaine Ferri (Solar Chelsea SC; Southlake, Tex.), Rayshaun McGann (Philadelphia Union; Royal Palm Beach, Fla.), Indiana Vassilev (IMG Academy; Savannah, Ga.)
FORWARDS (5): Ayomide Akinola (Toronto FC; Brampton, Ont.), Andrew Carleton (Atlanta United FC; Powder Springs, Ga.), Bryan Reynolds Jr. (FC Dallas; Little Elm, Tex.), Joshua Sargent (Scott Gallagher Missouri; O’Fallen, Mo.) Timothy Weah (Paris Saint-Germain F.C.; Rosedale, N.Y.)
Twelve players return to the USA’s Nike Friendlies roster after also participating in the 2015 edition of the tournament including Andrew Carleton and Josh Sargent, who both scored in last year’s competition. Players who also competed in the 2015 Friendlies when the U.S. went 1-2-0 with a 2-1 win vs. tournament runner-up Netherlands, are: Justin Garces, Jaylin Lindsey, James Sands, Arturo Vasquez, George Acosta, Chris Durkin, Blaine Ferri, Rayshaun McGann, Ayo Akinola and Timothy Weah.
Of the 20 players on the roster, only three: Carlos Dos Santos (Benfica), Dest Sergino (Ajax) and Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain), do not play for U.S. Soccer Development Academy clubs.
The tournament, which will return to Premier Sports Complex and run concurrently with the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase, features two games on each of three match days. Beginning on Nov. 30, the U.S. faces Portugal (7 p.m. ET), then plays the Turkey on Dec. 2 (7 p.m. ET) and finishes the competition against Brazil on Dec. 4 (5 p.m. ET). All of the USA’s games will serve as the feature match of the evening, following the opening international match at 3 p.m. ET. All Nike Friendlies and six select Development Academy matches will be broadcast live on ussoccer.com U.S. Soccer’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.
2016 Nike International Friendlies Schedule
Wednesday, Nov. 30
Brazil vs. Turkey – 3:30 p.m. ET
USA vs. Portugal – 7 p.m. ET
Friday, Dec. 2
Portugal vs. Brazil – 3:30 p.m. ET
USA vs. Turkey – 7 p.m. ET
Sunday, Dec. 4
Turkey vs. Portugal – 1:30 p.m. ET
USA vs. Brazil – 5 p.m. ET
Brazil has been an ever-present at the Nike Friendlies since 2006, last winning the competition in 2014. Portugal last competed in the Nike Friendlies in 2013, while Turkey returns to the competition for the first time since 2012, the last year the Nike Friendlies featured all the same contestants as this year’s tournament.
The Nike Friendlies were established in 2001 by U.S. Soccer to provide top-level competition for the U.S. U-17 MNT and is one of the premier annual events on the youth soccer calendar.Read more