Defending world champion Argentina beat the United States, 1-0, in a tuneup game for the Under-20 World Cup on Tuesday night at PAETEC Park in Rochester, N.Y.
Diego Braghieri scored on a header off an Alejandro Gomez free kick for the game's only goal in the 55th minute.
The USA created numerous scoring opportunities, outshooting Argentina, 15-8, but goalkeeper Emiliano Centeno was outstanding for Argentina. Centeno's best save was on a point-blank shot by Jozy Altidore only four minutes after Braghieri's goal.
"In the end, we didn't convert our chances and they converted the one they had," said U.S. under-20 coach Thomas Rongen. "I can't be prouder of the mentality of the team, though. We put the reigning world champions on their heels. It's a great lesson to be learned at this point, that the little things make a difference. I'm not happy about the loss, don't get me wrong, but at the same time there are a lot of building blocks and positive things we can work on."
Rongen fielded what should be virtually his first team at this summer's Under-20 World Cup in Canada. Missing against Argentina were European-based players Michael Bradley (Heerenveen) and Gabriel Ferrari (Sampdoria).
Argentina will travel to Canada as one of the favorites. All but one of its U-20 stars will play in Canada. Lionel Messi, star of Argentina's 2005 team, will skip this year's tournament for the Copa America. U-20 coach Hugo Tocalli will take Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid), French-born Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid) and 2007 Libertadores Cup standout Mauro Zarate (Velez Sarsfield) to Canada. They all were unavailable for the game in Rochester.
U-20 GAME SUMMARY:
May 15 in Rochester, N.Y.
USA 0 Argentina 1. Goal: Braghieri 55.
USA -- Seitz, Igwe, Sturgis, Valentin (Anibaba, 76), Ward, Adu, Szetela, Arguez (Lopez, 46), Rogers (Zizzo, 62), Altidore, Smith.
Argentina -- Centeno, Mercado, Cardozo, Villafane, Sanchez, Braghieri (Sotomayor, 88), Vangioni (Dul, 64), Meza, Coria (Scoppa, 85), Malano (Caraglio, 69), Gomez (Chavez, 79).
Referee: Steve DePiero (Canada).