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U.S. under-20 men
After 0-0 draw with Guatemala, win or draw needed for world berth.
PANAMA CITY, Panama (Friday, January 19, 2007) -- The United States under-20 men failed to qualify for this summer's world championship tournament, but still sit in good position to advance following tonight's dreary 0-0 draw with Guatemala before 3,000 attending the CONCACAF Under-20 Final Round Qualification Group A match at Rommel Fernandez Stadium.
The top two teams from the group advance to the Under-20 World Cup which will played June 30-July 22 in six Canadian cities. The U.S. will claim its berth with a victory or draw Sunday against Panama here in the qualifying finale. The Americans can also advance with a loss should Guatemala lose or draw with Haiti Sunday.
Guatemala-Haiti is the first match of Sunday's doubleheader, meaning the U.S. will know exactly what it needs before it starts play.
"Panama has a very good team and I respect (coach Julio) Dely Valdez and his players a lot," U.S. coach Thomas Rongen said. "We know we will have a tough game on our hands and we will have to get a win or a tie in order to get to the World Cup, and that's something we realize. We will clearly go with the mentality to get a result and get us to our sixth consecutive World Cup. That was our aim before the first game and will continue to be our aim before the last game."
The U.S. and Panama are both 1-0-1 with four points, though the Americans have a better goal differential with plus-3 to plus-1 for the Panamanians. Guatemala (0-0-2, 2 points, zero goal differential) must win Sunday in its meeting with Haiti (0-2), which was eliminated from contention with today's 3-2 loss to Panama.
The U.S. is attempting to qualify for the world championships for a sixth straight time and 11th overall.
"With Panama winning tonight, we've got to go out on Sunday, play the home team and get a result to get to the World Cup, so our mentality has to be that we have to leave everything on the field and really take it to them," U.S. defender Tony Beltran said."
Neither team could generate much attack in the match.
The U.S. had a good chance in the 11th minute when midfielder Freddy Adu sent in a free kick from the outside of the left perimeter of the penalty area to the six-yard box. Defender Nate Sturgis worked free from his defender, but could not direct his shot on target.
In the 28th minute, when Marco Ciani pushed the ball up toward the top of the penalty area and fed advancing fellow midfielder Jonathan Lopez, but his shot from inside the box went wide right.
U.S. midfielder Danny Szetela sent a 25-yard free kick sailing over the crossbar just before intermission.
U.S. defender Tim Ward, who left the game injured in the 80th minute, served three quality balls into the box early in the second half, but each opportunity was wasted. There was no report on Ward's injury or condition.
In the 58th minute, U.S. defender Julian Valentin did a good job to diffuse a dangerous run by Guatemala midfielder Minor Lopez , who had slipped past Beltran.
Fifteen minutes later, striker Andre Akpan, who had three goals in Wednesday's opening 4-1 decision over Haiti, took a pass from midfielder Anthiny Wallace, but sent his header over the crossbar.
Amaechi Igwe, who replaced Ward in the 80th minute, was the recipient of an Adu free kick soon after, but sent his header wide.
"We designed a game plan for us to be victorious and get three points, but we also knew that this would be a tough game against a very disciplined and well organized Guatemala team," Rongen said. "I think, at the end of the day, us not being good in the final third, not great finishing touches for us, that's what let us down. Those missed opportunities are what disappoint us."
The U.S. had one last chance, but midfielder Robbie Rogers' left-footer went just wide of the right post in the 90th minute.
Guatemala "sat back quite a bit and we just tried to get wide to be able to serve balls in," Rogers said. "They kept their center backs back to cover things up, so once we got two strikers forward, we were able to swing some balls in and be a little more dangerous. We tried to be patient, but they sat back and got a lot of guys behind the ball and just looked to counter, so it was tough."
Notes: In addition to Canada, which qualified as host, 10 teams have earned berths to the 24-nation world championships -- Japan, Jordan, South Korea and North Korea from Asia, along with Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Portugal, Scotland and Spain from Europe.
CONCACAF, which includes North America, Central America and the Caribbean, has four berths. Group B, which will send two participants to Canada, will be competed from February 21-25 between host Mexico, Costa Rica, St. Kitts & Nevis, and Jamaica.
If the U.S. advances, it would set a CONCACAF record of six in a row. The Americans current streak of five straight qualifications equals that of Mexico between 1977-85.
United States 0, Guatemala 0
Lineups: United States - Chris Seitz, Tony Beltran, Julian Valentin, Nathan Sturgis, Tim Ward (Amaechi Igwe 80), Anthony Wallace, Danny Szetela, Freddy Adu (captain), Sal Zizzo (Josmer Altidore 61), Robbie Rogers, Andre Akpan (Preston Zimmerman 78). Guatemala - Carlos Daniel Reyes, Ricardo Sandoval, Cristian Noriega (captain), Jean Patrick Howell, Jamie Dario Vides, Julian Antonio Priego (Manuel Antonio Leon 66), Minor Lopez, Marco Ciani (Marco Papa Ponce 74), Rafael Humberto Morales, Jonathan Lopez (Edward Santeliz 58), 21-Pablo Solorzano.
Shots: United States 13, Guatemala 7.
Shots on goal: United States 5, Guatemala 3
Saves: United States 3, Guatemala 5,
Fouls: United States 15, Guatemala 16.
Corner kicks: United States 2, Guatemala 3.
Offside: United States 2, Guatemala 4.
Yellow card cautions: United States - Adu 31, Ward 67, Altidore 77; Guatemala - Morales 81.
Referee: Jose Pineda (Honduras).
Assistant referees: Lyndon Burton (Trinidad & Tobago), Roderick Rojer (Trinidad & Tobago).
Fourth official: Lee Davis (Trinidad & Tobago)
U.S. roster for the Under-20 World Cup with players' names' followed with team and hometown in parentheses. Teams are identified either by college, or Major League Soccer or foreign affiliation:
Goalkeepers: Brian Perk (UCLA, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake, MLS; San Luis Obispo, Calif.).
Defenders: Ofori Sarkodi (Indiana University; Huber Heights, Ohio), Nathan Sturgis (Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS; Redondo Beach, Calif.), Anthony Wallace (FC Dallas, MLS; St. Petersburg, Fla.), Tim Ward (Columbus Crew, MLS; Waukesha, Wisc.)
Midfielders: Freddy Adu (Real Salt Lake, MLS; Potomac, Md.), Brian Arguez (D.C. United, MLS; Miami, Fla.), Tony Beltran (UCLA; Claremont, Calif.), Amaechi Igwe (New England Revolution, MLS; Belmont, Calif.), Robby Rogers (SC Heerenven, Netherlands; Huntington Beach, Calif.), Danny Szetala (Columbus Crew, MLS; Clifton, N.J.), Jonathan Villanueva (University of Virginia; Grand Prairie, Texas)
Forwards: Andre Akpan (Harvard University, Grand Prairie, Texas). Josmer Altidore (New York Red Bulls, Boca Raton, Fla.), Quavas Kirk (Los Angeles Galaxy, Long Beach, Calif.). Johann Smith (Bolton Wanderers, England; Bloomfield, Conn.), Julian Valentin (Wake Forest University; Lancaster, Pa.), Preston Zimmerman (Hamburg SV, Germany; Pasco, Wash.), Sal Zizzo (UCLA; San Diego).
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