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Seemingly in control, U.S. falls to Tajikistan to open Under-17 World Cup.

Hackworth selects 21 for U.S. Under-17 World Cup in South Korea.

Americans learn their Group E opponents in World Cup.

Americans earn qualifying title behind Garza, McLoughlin.

McLoughlin suspended for two games for red card.

Nimo nails two as U.S. drops T&T 3-0 in under-17 qualifying tourney.

Hackworth chooses 20 for CONCACAF qualifying tournament.

Roster for Florida residency is trimmed to 40 players.

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U.S. under-17 men

Americans are still alive in World Cup despite 3-1 loss to Tunisia.

CHANGWON, South Korea (Wednesday, August 22, 2007) -- Tunisia jumped ahead on two penalty kicks in the first half and withstood a late United States rally to win 3-1 tonight in a Group E match in the Under-17 World Cup before 3,115 at Changwon Main Stadium.

The U.S. completes group play against Belgium Sunday, a 2:45 a.m. (ET) start that will be televised on ESPNU and Spanish-language Galavision. ESPNU will replay the match at 12 noon.

"It's a hard result to swallow," U.S. coach John Hackworth said of today's setback. "In the second half, we did all we could and played good, attacking soccer. We pushed as hard as we could and you have to give Tunisia a lot of credit for defending with everything they had."

Despite being last in the group at 0-2, the U.S. has a decent chance to advance to the Round of 16 in an event where only eight of the 24 entrants are eliminated in the first round. Tunisia secured advancement with its 2-0 record and six points, while Belgium's scored in the 92nd minute tonight for a 1-0 decision over Tajikistan tonight, a result which left both teams 1-1 with three points.

Should the U.S. defeat Belgium Saturday, preferably by more than one goal, and should Tunisia beat Tajikistan, that would leave Tunisia 3-0 with the other three team 1-2. All second-place teams advance which would bring placement down to goal differential, the first tie-breaker. Currently Tajikistan is even on differential, followed by Belgium at minus-1 and the U.S. at minus-three.

Even, should Tunisia draw of lose to Tajikistan, the U.S. could still advance if its defeats Belgium, thus finishing third. Scoring as many goals as possible would be imperative because the Americans would likely be dropped into a pool of other third-place teams with three points.

Through two group matches, only Belgium and Ghana of Group F are third-place teams with as many as three points. Togo (Group A) has two points, while North Korea (Group B), Syria (Group C) and France (Group D) each have one point.

"We're going to approach our game against Belgium the same way we approached the last two games," Hackworth said. "I'm going to go scout Belgium right now and start putting together a game plan to get a result in the final group match."

Tunisia took the lead after striker Youssef Msakni stripped U.S. defender Chris Klute as he carried up the left flank. Msakni carried forward and cut horizontally just above the penalty area. As Klute tried to catch up, Msakni nailed a left-footer that caught that hand of American defender Mykell Bates in the penalty area.

On the subsequent penalty kick, Nour Hadhria hit a hard roller into the left corner beyond the reach of outstretched goalkeeper Zach MacMath for a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute.

In first-half stoppage time, Hadhria converted from the penalty spot again, this time high into the left corner of the net, to make it 2-0. In the 45th minute, Klute was ruled to have taken down Hadhria just as he carried the ball into the top left corner of the box.

Finally, the U.S. broke through when forward Alex Nimo was kicked in the face while trying to collect a ball in the Tunisia box, setting up a successful penalty kick by midfielder Jared Jeffrey to the lower right corner of the net, making it 2-1 in the 90th minute.

The U.S. pushed forward with abandon, trying for a late equalizer, but Tunisia clinched its victory when Saifeddine Ben Akremi got behind the U.S. backline and, as MacMath approached, crossed to wide-open Rafik Dkhil for the easy finish and a 3-1 advantage four minutes into injury time..

Tunisia 3, United States 1

Lineups: United States - Zac MacMath, Sheanon Williams, Mykell Bates (captain), Tommy Meyer, Chris Klute (Abdusalam Ibrahim 46), Danny Wenzel, Jared Jeffrey, Bryan Dominguez (Daniel Cruz 77), Ellis McLoughlin (Brendan King 70), Alex Nimo, Billy Schuler. Tunisia - Atef Dikhili, Mohamed Karoui, Bilel Ifa, Meher Jaballah, Nour Hadhra, Mossaab Sassi (Rafik Dkhil 52), Sadok Arbi, Khaled Ayari (Saifeddine Ben Akremi 79), Slim Marzouki, Majdi Makhzoumi (captain), Youssef Msakni (Mohamed Wazani 88).

Tunisia - Hadhria (penalty kick) 8.
Tunisia - Hadhria (penalty kick) 46+.
United States - Jeffrey (penalty kick) 90.
Tunisia - Dkhil (Akremi) 94+.

Shots: United States 10, Tunisia 14. Shots on goal: United States 3, Tunisia 7 Saves: United States 4, Tunisia 2. Fouls: United States 9, United States 20. Corner kicks: United States 8, Tunisia 5. Offside: United States 4, Tunisia 0 Yellow card cautions: United States - Bates 65, Schuler 81, Jeffrey 83; Tuniia - Jaballah 4, Majdi Makhzoumi 46+, Dikhili 71, Arbi 83.

Referee: Hernando Buitrago (Colombia). Assistant referees: Abraham Gonzalez (Colombia), Rafael Rivas (Colombia). Fourth official: Jong Chul Kwon (South Korea). Attendance: 3,115 at Changwon (south Korea) Main Stadium. Weather: not reported.

U.S. roster for Under-17 World Cup:

Goalkeepers (3): Larry Jackson (East Palo Alto, Calif.), Josh Lambo (Middleton, Wisc.), Zac MacMath (St. Petersburg, Fla.).

Defenders (6): Mykell Bates (Roseville, Calif.), Chris Klute (Grand Prairie, Texas), Tommy Meyer (St. Louis), Kofi Sarkodie (Huber Heights, Ohio), Sheanon Williams (Boston), Brandon Zimmerman (Pasco, Wash.).

Midfielders (7): Gregory Garza (Grapevine, Texas), Jared Jeffrey (Dallas), Brendan King (Naperville, Ill.), Alex Nimo (Portland, Ore.), Dane Shea (College Station, Texas), Kirk Urso (Lombard, Ill.), Daniel Wenzel (Federal Way, Wash.).

Forwards (5): Daniel Cruz (Glendale, Ariz.), Bryan Dominguez (Atlanta), Abdusalam Ibrahim (Richfield, Minne.), Ellis McLoughlin (Seattle), Billy Schuler (Allentown, N.J.).

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