Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
USA aims for U-20 World Cup semifinals
by Ridge Mahoney, July 13th, 2007 7AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  men's national team, under-20 world cup

MOST COMMENTED

One win stands between the U.S. under-20 national team and only the second semifinal appearance by an American team in the 30-year history of this world championship. The USA meets Austria in Toronto Saturday at 2:15 pm ET (ESPNU, TeleFutura) and that last semifinal appearance might as well be ancient history. Goalkeeper Kasey Keller helped the USA to a fourth-place finish in 1989, the same year the youngest members of the current squad were born.

Two of those players, Freddy Adu and Jozy Altidore, have scored six of the team's 11 goals in this competition. Two others, left back Anthony Wallace and goalkeeper Brian Perk, didn't start the first game but have played vital roles since being summoned by head coach Thomas Rongen.

So, too, did Gabe Ferrari and Andre Akpan, left on the bench in group play but summoned in a rugged 2-1 comeback victory over Uruguay in the round of 16 Wednesday. The other sub, midfielder Dax McCarty, replaced right back Tony Beltran and covered vast stretches of ground as the U.S. rallied to set up the meeting with Austria.

For video highlights of USA-Uruguay click HERE

"I haven't seen them play, but I'm sure they are a very tough and talented team," said Altidore of Austria, which beat Gambia, 2-1, in its second-round match. Gambia went down to 10 men in the 43rd minute yet managed an equalizer before Erwin "Jimmy" Hoffer scored the winner for Austria with nine minutes left.

The Austrians have conceded only two goals in four games and are strong in the air, which has been something of a weakness for the Americans while defending set plays. Three of Austria's four goals are products of a corner kick or free kick.

The American win over Uruguay proved to be costly. Altidore (calf muscle tear) and winger Sal Zizzo (strained hamstring) were forced out of the game early in the second half with injuries and their status for the quarterfinal is to be determined. Seitz sat out the game because of a thigh contusion suffered in the historic 2-1 defeat of Brazil that concluded group play, and he, too, will be evaluated over the next 24 hours to determine his fitness.

Cautions (eight) and fouls (57) littered the match with Uruguay, which took a 1-0 lead in the 73rd minute when Perk couldn't handle a header cleanly and Luis Suarez got to it first. But a pressing American team forced an own goal by Mathias Cardaccio and struck the winner two minutes into the second overtime when Michael Bradley stabbed a bouncing ball high into the net. Before and after his bobble, Perk rescued his teammates with sharp saves and heroic tackles thwarted Uruguay's frantic efforts to score the goal that would necessitate a penalty-kick tiebreaker.

"This was a game about guts today," said midfielder Danny Szetela, who centered the ball Cardaccio knocked into his own net to tie the match, 1-1, in the 87th minute. "We had to fight for everything on the field. It's important to show you can come back from a goal down and win these ugly games. It wasn't like any of our first round games and I couldn't be happier with making the quarterfinals."

Four years ago, the under-20s reached the quarterfinals, the stage at which they play Austria Saturday -- but lost to Argentina and were placed fifth. Rongen coached that team; in addition to his own experience, three of his current players - Adu, Szetela and defender Nathan Sturgis - played in this tournament two years ago.

Then, as now, the U.S. won its group and faced a third-placed team in its second-round game. The 2005 team lost to Italy, 3-1, and that painful memory helped forge a determination not to let the same occur against Uruguay.

Said Sturgis prior to the Uruguay game, "Me, Danny, and Freddy all talked about it and said we can't come out flat and need to come out focused. We may have won our group and had a big win against Brazil, but we need to put that behind us and focus on our next game."



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Business Reporter: Union teams up with Dogfish Head    
The Philadelphia Union will open to a new destination beer garden with Dogfish Head Brewery at ...
Columbus switches USL PRO affiliations    
The Columbus Crew will team up with the Austin Aztex to send players from its first ...
Lee Nguyen: Sitting back is not in Revs' DNA    
The New England Revolution tied an MLS record when it scored nine goals in its first ...
What They're Saying: Jerome Valcke    
"It is easy to destroy a reputation, it takes one second, it takes years to build ...
Champions League scenarios: 11 teams for five spots    
Eleven teams have qualified for the knockout stage of the Champions League, and 11 more teams, ...
Video Pick: Bend it like Uesato    
Our favorite free kick goal of the week comes from J-League 2, where Consadole Sapporo's Kazumasa ...
Breaking down the NCAA Division I women's quarterfinals    
The NCAA Division I Women's Tournament moves into the quarterfinals with three games on Friday and ...
A back-heel sombrero from Greek boy     
[VIDEO PICK: Skills] Greek youth soccer, in a game between AO Ioannina and Agia Eleousa, delivers ...
What They're Saying: Jose Mourinho    
"Obviously they must be very sad with the result but when we lose against a team ...
Report: W-League champion Pali Blues are folding    
The LA Blues won W-League titles as the Pali Blues in 2009, 2009 and 2013 and ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives