TORONTO, Canada (July 11, 2007) – A 107th minute goal from Michael Bradley was the game-winner, giving the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team a 2-1 overtime victory over Uruguay, and a berth in the quarterfinals of the 2007 FIFA Under-20 World Cup
The U.S. will play Austria, 2-1 winners over Gambia, on Saturday, July 14 in Toronto in their fourth trip to the quarterfinals. The game, which kicks off at 2:15 p.m. ET, will be televised live on ESPNU and Galavision, and fans can follow the game live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
“We knew tonight’s match was going to be tough and Uruguay made things very difficult for us throughout the match, but we showed some great mentality to come from behind,” said U.S. Under-20 head coach Thomas Rongen. “This was a total team effort with Brian Perk filling in for Chris Seitz, and all three of our substitutions coming in and making an impact. This is the kind of game where you find out what your players are made of and how good a team you actually have. It was just a great battle over 120 minutes and a fantastic result to move on to the final eight.”
In two 15-minute overtime periods, the U.S. played its best soccer of the night, earning a corner kick in the 106th minute. Adu played the ball into the box that the Uruguayan goalkeeper punched out to the feet of Julian Valentin. Valentin played the ball towards goal where Bradley found the end of it and fired it into the roof of the net.
After going down 1-0 in the 74th minute, the U.S. battled back and forced an own goal in the 88th minute to force extra time. On the goal, Adu flighted in another perfect corner kick that Danny Szetela possesed through some hard work, firing a shot from a tough angle in the six-yard box. Szetela put the ball in front of the goal and a sliding Mathias Cardaccio beat a streaking Andre Akpan to the ball, but played it into his own net. Had the defender not played the ball, Akpan would have easily tucked it away.
A scoreless first half saw both teams earn quality chances throughout, and U.S. goalkeeper Brian Perk, making his first appearance in the tournament and just his third-ever cap for the Under-20 squad, was called upon to make several key saves. Perk was put under pressure with free kicks all night as the teams combined for 57 fouls throughout the game.
Uruguay’s best chances in the first half came from the ensuing free kicks. In the 26th minute, Luis Suarez hit a direct shot that hit the top of Perk’s goal, and in the 38th, an out-swinger from near the corner kick spot, taken by Juan Surraco was headed by Hugo Arismendi just wide.
The U.S. attacked early on, with Sal Zizzo creating the game’s first opportunity in the third minute, when he swung a cross in for Josmer Altidore, whose attempted flick-on header went wide. In the 10th minute, Freddy Adu beat his man down the endline and played a ball in for Altidore, whose header went right into the arms of Uruguay goalkeeper Yonatan Irrazabal.
Another Altidore header proved to be the most dangerous chance of the half for the U.S. Tony Beltran and Danny Szetela combined just outside the box, with Beltran sending a ball into the box for the 17-year-old forward, whose header took a strange hop before being pounced on by Irrazabal.
In the second half, the U.S. held much of the possession, but could not build up much of an attack through the Uruguayan defense early on. Uruguay held the ball in spurts, and got the game’s first goal when a cross into the box found Edinson Cavani, whose header was initially saved by Perk. Luis Suarez, running hard into the box pounced on the rebound and put it in the back of the net.
The U.S. then was then forced into attacking mode, sending everyone forward. Rogers forced a free kick in the 77th minute, allowing Dax McCarty to get off a shot. Adu then carried the ball deep into the Uruguay end and earned a corner kick. His corner led to a shot from Bradley that forced a good reaction saved from Irrazabal.
In second-half stoppage time, with the game tied at one, a last-chance effort from Uruguay hit the post, and kept the game going into extra time. In the 98th minute, Perk was called upon to make his best save of the game off of a corner kick that found the head of Caceras. The two battled for the rebound, but the ball was finally played out for a goal kick.
In the 112th minute the U.S. created a chance from an Adu free kick near the touchline that found Bradley’s head, but the shot went just wide. Seven minutes later, Adu made a run down the left side of the field and found an open Szetela to his right. Szetela took a shot through pressure, but it went right to Irrazabal.
This is the second time that the United States advanced to the quarterfinals since the field was expanded to 24 teams in 1997. The team’s previous trip also came under the leadership of Thomas Rongen, who guided the team to within seconds of the semifinals in United Arab Emirates in 2003 before falling to Argentina in the quarterfinals in overtime.
In two other come-from-behind victories on the night, Spain battled back from a 2-0 deficit to beat Brazil, 3-2, in overtime. The Czech Republic also came back from 2-0 to top Japan in penalty kicks.
– U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Game Report –
Participants: USA vs. Uruguay Competition: FIFA Under-20 World Cup Location: BMO Stadium – Toronto, Ontario Date: July 11, 2007 Attendance: 19,526
URU – Luis Suarez 73rd minute. USA – Own goal (Mathias Cardaccio) 87. USA – Michael Bradley 107.
Lineups: USA: 18-Brian Perk; 5-Nathan Sturgis, 14-Athony Wallace, 16-Julian Valentin, 19-Tony Beltran (17-Gabe Ferrari, 81); 6-Michael Bradley, 7-Danny Szetela, 11-Freddy Adu (c); 8-Robbie Rogers, 12-Josmer Altidore (20-Andre Akpan, 51), 15 – Sal Zizzo (10-Dax McCarty, 54) Subs not used: 1-Chris Seitz, 2-Tim Ward, 3-Bryan Arguez,4-Amaechi Igwe, 9-Preston Zimmerman, 21-Steve Sandbo Head Coach: Thomas Rongen
URU: 12-Yonaton Irrazabal; 3-Martin Cacere (10-Gerardo Vonder Putten, 117), 5-Roman Marcel, 6-Gary Kagelmacher, 7-Mathias Cardaccio, 8-Damian Suarez (c), 13-Juan Manuel Diaz, 14-Hugo Arismendi, 17-Juan Surraco (11-Elias Figueroa, 108), 18-Luis Suarez (19-Tabare Viudez, 83) Subs not used: 2-Mauricio Prieto, 15-Enzo Ruiz, 16-Bruno Montelongo, 20-Emiliano Alfaro, 21-Yai Fontes Not Eligible: 1-Mauro Goicoecha
Misconduct Summary: URU – Hugo Arismendi (caution) 19th minute USA – Michael Bradley (caution) 24. USA – Anthony Wallace (caution) 105. USA – Julian Valentin (caution) 109. USA – Freddy Adu (caution) 110. USA – Gabriel Ferrari (caution) 112. URU – Roman Marcel (caution) 117. URU – Mathias Cardaccio (caution) 118.
Officials: Referee: Ravshan Irmatov (UZB) 1st Assistant: Abdukhamidullo (UZB) 2nd Assistant: Bahadyr Kochkorov (KGZ) Fourth Official: Steven DePiero (CAN)
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