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Twellman’s two goals send Americans over Cameroon 3-1 and into Nigeria ’99 second round.

BAUCHI, Nigeria (Sunday, April 11, 1999) -- Striker Taylor Twellman scored a pair of goals today as the United States defeated Cameroon 3-1 and advanced to the round of 16 in the FIFA World Youth Championship.

After Japan blanked England 2-0 before 15,800 fans at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, the U.S. was one of three teams at 2-1 atop Group E. With goal differential the tiebreaker, Japan (+3) finished first, the U.S. (+1) second and Cameroon (0) third. All three nations advanced.

"They (Cameroon) were big and physical, as you can see from his ice-bag on my head." Said Twellman, the national freshman of the year at University of Maryland. "We knew this going into the game and dealt with it very well I thought. "I scored two goals, yes, but they would never have happened without the work of others. Steve (Cherundolo) and John (Thorrington) set up the first and Shaun (Tsakiris) stole the ball and set me up on the second. I did what I was supposed to do, but they made the play."

The Americans will face Spain Thursday in the single-elimination round of 16 in Port Harcourt. Spain won Group F, blanking Brazil 2-0 and playing a scoreless draw with Zambia before eliminating Honduras 3-0 today. Earlier this year, Spain beat the U.S. 1-0 at Copa de Atlantico in the Canary Islands.

The triumph over Cameroon marks the first time a U.S. team has won two matches in the opening round of this tournament for under-20 men. The 1989 U.S. team finished fourth, but did not win its second match until the quarterfinals.

"I'm pleased with how we played today," U.S. coach Sigi Schmid said. "As expected, it was a battle throughout, but we were determined to get into the second round and the only sure way of doing that was by beating Cameroon."

Schmid shuffled the American lineup, moving skillful center-back Steve Cherundolo into the midfield and pushing speedy midfielder John Thorrington up front to pair with Twellman at forward. Schmid's move paid dividends in the first half, as Thorrington's speed caused Cameroon problems up front and Cherundolo combined well with midfielders Nick Garcia and Francisco Gomez on several occasions to unsettle the Africans.

"It's always great to win, particularly in a match this important," Cherundolo said. "Now we will take a few days and get back at it again. Many people are shocked by how well we have played, but we haven't shocked ourselves. We know we are a good team and today we proved it by beating a another very good team. It was a great team effort today, one that we will remember for a while."

The U.S. took the lead in the first half after an impressive midfield combination allowed Twellman to find net. The sequence began with the hard work of Cherundolo, who played a give-and-go with Gomez, and then slashed past a defender 35 yards out and sprinted toward goal. As a second Cameroon defender closed, Cherundolo cleverly slipped a pass to a wide open John Thorrington in the penalty area. Thorrington took one touch to draw a defender and played a square ball to Twellman, who slammed a right-footer past Cameroon goalkeeper Gilbert Ndjama Bayhia from 13 yards.

"It was a great team goal," said Cherundolo. "I think we strung five or six passes together before Taylor scored, so it's pretty satisfying."

U.S. keeper Tim Howard made just one save in each half, but in the 42d minute it was a tremendous effort to stop Cameroon star Gaspard Komol's free kick in the 42nd minute. The lanky Cameroonian, who had already scored three goals in the tournament, hit a vicious shot that glanced off Cherundolo and was heading for the lower right corner before Howard stretched out to make the stop.

The U.S. increased its advantage to 2-0 in the 58th minute after Twellman was fouled just outside of the area on the right side. Midfielder Francisco Gomez hooked the ensuing free kick into the penalty area to Nick Garcia, who went up high at the far post to head the ball back across the goal mouth to Carlos Bocanegra. The 5-foot-11 Bocanegra pounded his header into an empty net from two yards out.

In the 62nd minute, Spanish referee Arturo Dauden Ibanez whistled Howard for taking too many steps, giving Cameroon an indirect kick 16 yards from goal. With a seven-man U.S. wall in front of the net, Daniel Ngom Kome touched the ball to Adissa Kioyo, who hammered his shot past Howard.

Twellman put the game away in the 79th minute though with his second goal of the match, a tally that essentially moved placed the U.S. second in the group instead of third. Shaun Tsakiris intercepted a pass deep in the Cameroon end, took two touches and dished the ball to Twellman, who charged into the right side of the box. Twellman waited for Bayhia to commit, and slotted a right-footed shot into the left corner.

"Of course we're happy to be in this position right now," added Schmid. "But we fully expected to be here from the start. Failing to advance was not an option for us here and we showed today that we are a determined team. Having said that, we know that Spain is an exceptional team and we will have to bring our best effort to beat them."

United States 3, Cameroon 1

Lineups: United States - Tim Howard, Dan Califf, Carlos Bocanegra, Lee Morrison (Rusty Pierce 53), Cory Gibbs, Nick Garcia, Steve Cherundolo, Nick Downing, Francisco Gomez (Shaun Tsakiris 73), John Thorrington (Chris Albright 66), Taylor Twellman; Cameroon - Gilbert Ndjama Bayhia, Thierry Modo Abounda (Adissa Kioyo, 60), Innocent Hamga, Clement Lebe, Samuel Inogue, Francois Dikoume Essindi, Gaspard Komol (Mohanadou Idrissou 62), Daniel Ngom Kome, Salifou Ibrahima, Daniel Bikoi, Willimam Tabi.

United States - Twellman (Thorrington) 39;
United States - Bocanegra (Garcia) 58;
Cameroon - Kioyo (Ngom Kome) 62;
United States - Twellman (Tsakiris) 79.

Shots: United States 7, Cameroon 6. Saves: United States 2, Cameroon 3. Corner kicks: United States 3, Cameroon. 1. Fouls: United States 14, Cameroon 12. Offside: United States 5, Cameroon 2. Yellow card cautions: Cameroon - Ibrahmia 33.

Referee: Arturo Dauden Ibanez (Spain). Assistant referees: Walter Rivera (Honduras), Ali Tomusange (Uganda). Attendance: 15,800 at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium in Bauchi, Nigeria. Weather: Hot, dry, 93 degrees.

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