Super Sub Sturgis Helps U.S. to Win Over Argentina

Super Sub Sturgis Helps U.S. to Win Over Argentina

June 12, 2005

ENSCHEDE, Netherlands (AP) – The United States has already shocked four-time champion Argentina at the World Youth Championship.

Next comes Germany, another traditional soccer power.

The opening 1-0 upset over the pre-tournament favorites has put the United States in a commanding position to qualify from Group D, and the U.S. under-20 team showed it need not rely on Freddy Adu alone to impress. Even in the toughest group of the tournament.

The U.S. team seemed in trouble when defensive stopper Jonathan Spector, who plays in England for Manchester United, limped off in the first half.

But the response was brilliant – Chad Barrett of the Chicago Fire scored two minutes later and the defense, with Spector’s substitute Nathan Sturgis standing out, held tight for the remainder of the match. The goal came on a deflected cross by UCLA’s Marvell Wynne, son of the former major league baseball player of the same name.

“He came in, was solid, won duels that he had to win and played very well overall,” U.S. coach Sigi Schmid said of Sturgis, who plays at Clemson.

Germany beat Egypt with two late goals and is tied with the U.S. atop the table.

The top two of each group automatically go through and are joined by the four best third-place finishers.

“We know we need at least four to have a chance as a third-place team and six will get us a first or second. We know our work is not done, but certainly this fills us with a lot of confidence,” Schmid said.

Spector remains doubtful for Tuesday’s game. He should be fully fit for the last qualifying game against Egypt on Saturday.

And Adu can practice his penalty kicks. He hit the upright on a penalty kick with the game still on the line and was relieved his teammates hung on for the upset.

The 16-year-old, three years younger than almost all the rest of the players, did not really live up to the top billing he received at the championship, although he drew the foul which set up the botched penalty kick. But he and Wynne gave Argentina trouble with their speed.

“I’m just trying to help the team any way possible. If it’s drawing defenders away from my teammates and giving them room to operate because I’m a guy who gets a lot of attention, that’s great,” Adu said.

Quote Sheet

U.S. Head Coach Sigi SchmidOn the game: “I am very proud of the way we played today,” said U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Sigi Schmid. “We came out and didn’t play timid and demonstrated that we have the ability to perform with some of the best teams in the world. We played well in the first half and had a great build-up for our goal and in the second half we had some luck at the right time when the Argentineans stepped up their pressure. This is a great victory for the U.S. and takes us a step forward.”

On defeating Argentina: “It’s indescribable. To beat Argentina is just an unbelievable accomplishment. It is something when you first start coaching that you dream about, that someday you’ll be in a situation where you have a chance to win this game. And to win it is unbelievable.”

On Nathan Sturgis stepping in for an injured Jonathan Spector: “Nathan?s job today was very difficult. When you’re not in the starting line-up and you’ve got to come in without really having a proper warm up and you have to replace basically the leader of the team’s defense against a very good team it’s difficult. You have to give your hat off to Nathan because he came in, was solid, won duels that he had to win and played very well overall.”

U.S. Defender Nathan SturgisOn having to enter the game when Spector got hurt: “It all happened pretty quickly. I don’t think I had time to really think about it much, so I just had a quick warm-up and went on. I wasn’t expecting it, but it came and I thought I was ready.”