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U.S. U-23s give up three-goal lead vs. China
by Ridge Mahoney, December 17th, 2007 7AM



Three days after tying the Chinese U-23 team 0-0, the U.S. U-23s shared six goals with the 2008 Olympic Games host to conclude a two-game tour. Robbie Rogers, Patrick Ianni and Charlie Davies scored in the first 32 minutes as the Americans built a 3-0 halftime lead, but a slew of U.S. substitutions at the break prompted a Chinese rally that left the teams tied, 3-3.

"I think we saw two different halves today," said Peter Nowak, who conducted his first training camp as U.S. U-23 head coach prior to the two matches. "We executed our game plan very well in the first half. The second half wasn't the prettiest.

"We knew going into the locker room at halftime that the Chinese team was going to be upset about being three goals down in front of their home crowd, and that they would come out and put pressure on us. Some of our players didn't perform in a tough situation."

Rogers volleyed the U.S. into the lead in the 13th minute after captain Sacha Kljestan had flicked on a Marvell Wynne throw-in. A dozen minutes later, Ianni headed home a Stuart Holden corner kick, and after another seven minutes Wynne intercepted a pass and played the ball to Robbie Findley, whose through ball sent Davies clear to score the third goal.

China cut the deficit to 3-2 with goals by Zhu Ting and Du Zhenyu 13 minutes apart, and in stoppage time a tackle by Aaron Holbein was whistled for a penalty kick, which Du converted by sending keeper Chris Seitz the wrong way.

Holbein had replaced Hunter Freeman in the 55th minute after Freeman had taken Wynne's spot at right back during the interval. Jon Leathers, Arturo Alvarez, Jozy Altidore, Michael Harrington and Tim Ward also came in at halftime.

Alvarez tested keeper Qui Shengjoing early in the second half after Maurice Edu played him into space, but Qui saved his low shot. China seized control of the momentum, and Zhu glanced home a cross from Lu Lin to get the crowd fired up. Du got the second goal by collecting a poor clearance and firing his shot past Seitz, and won the penalty kick -- a decision disputed by the Americans -- himself.

Kljestan was sent off in stoppage time after a hard challenge on Altidore prompted a scuffle near the U.S. bench.

"Overall, we had a great two weeks together," said Nowak, who will conduct the next U-23 camp in Bradenton, Fla. starting Jan. 6. "We have just started our selection process for the team that will compete in Olympic qualifying. These two games gave us a lot of answers."

Dec. 16, 2007 Guangzhou, China
China 3 USA 3.

Goals: Zhu Ting (Yu Dabao) 52, Du Zhenyu (unassisted) 65, Du Zhenyu (pen) 91+; Rogers (Kljestan) 13, Ianni (Holden) 25, Davies (Findley) 32.

CHINA -- Qui Shengjiong, Sun Xiang (Yuan Weiwei, 67), Lv Jianjun (Tan Wangsong, 46), Li Weifeng, Lv Zheng (Zhu Ting, 31), Dai Lin (Yang Shanping, 46), Zhao Yuri (Yan Xiangchuang, 84), Xu Bo (Wang Yongpo, 45), Lu Lin (Wang Xiaolong, 75) Du Zhenyu, Yu Dabao (Jiang Ning, 71)

USA - Seitz, Wynne (Freeman, 46, Hohlbein, 55), Edu, Ianni (Leathers, 46), Randolph (Harrington, 46), Holden (Ward, 46), Kljestan, McCarty, Rogers, Davies (Altidore, 46), Findley (Alvarez, 46).

Misconduct Summary:
USA - Mike Randolph (caution) 37.
USA - Chris Seitz (caution) 84.
USA - Sacha Kljestan (ejection) 92+.

Referee: Zhao Liang (CHN)
Att.: 18,000

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