World Youth Championship
Spain jumps to 3-goal lead, holds on for 3-2 win over U.S. despite Twellman's two goals.
PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria (Thursday, April 15, 1999) -- The United States under-20 men are heading home tomorrow, disappointed, but with nothing to be ashamed off after falling to a more talented, more experienced side.
Getting two goals from striker Pablo, Spain built a 3-0 halftime lead, then held on for a 3-2 victory over the U.S. in the round of 16 of the FIFA World Youth Championship today before 16,000 fans at Liberation Stadium.
"For us there are many good things we will take out of this tournament," U.S. coach Sigi Schmid said. "Any time you get the chance to play in a world championship it provides players with valuable learning experiences. We played well, and although we aren't satisfied with the result, we know that we have earned the respect of a very good European opponent."
The U.S. finished with a 2-2 record in the tournament, defeating England (1-0) and Cameroon (3-1) and losing to Japan (3-1). Twellman’s four goals were the most by an American player in seven appearances in this biennial under-20 men’s event.
Spain (3-0-1) had an edge in experience over the Americans with virtually all of its players participating in professional programs while only five U.S. players could claim the same. The Spaniards took the lead in the 16th minute on a Pablo’s first strike. The U.S. felt forward Varlea was offside, but there was no call on a pass that forced U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard to come far off his line. Varlea beat Howard to the ball at the top of the box on the right side and flipped a pass over the goalkeeper's head to Pablo, who slammed his shot into an open net from 12 yards.
Three minutes later, playmaker Xavi, a first team player with Spanish club Barcelona, made it 2-0 with a free kick from the top of the penalty area, bent around the defensive wall into the right corner before Howard could get to it.
In the 29th minute, the Thorrington-Twellman combo nearly clicked for a tally, but Twellman was stopped on a breakaway by keeper Aranzubia, who smothered a right-footed shot.
In the 32d minute, Pablo added an unassisted goal, collecting a loose ball six yards in front of the American net and slamming it home to make the score 3-0.
Thorrington set up striker Chris Albright with a chip in the 39th minute, but a retreating defender was able to clear Albright’s shot over the end line.
Four minutes after intermission, the U.S. finally got on the board. Midfielder Shaun Tsakiris penetrated through the heart of the Spanish defense and slipped a pass to Thorrington on the left side. Thorrington sent a cross into the middle of the area to Twellman, who leapt high to slam a header into the top of the goal.
The tally sparked the U.S. which attacked with vigor. Twellman's shot from point-blank range was saved in the 56th minute, Tsakiris unsettled the Spaniards with a dangerous run into the box in the 64th and Albright's 78th minute break-away was also saved by Aranzubia.
By the time the U.S. scored again, it was too late. Twellman netted a header after Thorrington sent him a cross after receiving a corner kick a minute into extra time.
"I'm very proud of the determination we showed today to get back into the match," Schmid said. "I thought we played a bit tentative in the first half, gave them (Spain) a bit too much respect, and this put us on our heels. But in the second half we were a much better team and forced the play much more."
Spain 3, United States 2
Lineups: United States - Tim Howard, Dan Califf, Carlos Bocanegra, Lee Morrison, John Thorrington, Nick Garcia, Steve Cherundolo, Nick Downing (Jamar Beasley 59), Francisco Gomez (Shaun Tsakiris 44), Chris Albright, Taylor Twellman; Spain - Aranzubia, Bermudo, Marchena, Jusue, Coira, Xavi, Orbaiz, Barkero (Ruben 74), Gabri (Colsa 79), Varela, Pablo (Aganzo 59).
Shots: United States 9, Spain 12. Saves: United States 7, Spain 3. Corner kicks: United States 2, Spain 4. Fouls: United States 14, Spain 11. Offside: United States 0, Spain 4. Yellow card cautions: Spain - Bermudo 40.
Referee: Carlos Eugenio Simon (Brazil). Assistant referees: Hector Poblete Escobar (Chile), Pedro Simao (Angola). Attendance: 16,000 at Liberation Stadium in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Weather: Sunny, hot, humid, 94 degrees.