Late heroics save U.S. U-23s against Norway

U.S. 4, Norway 4; U.S. 2, Norway 1

Scott Vermillion's 83rd-minute goal offset a hat trick by Norway's Steffan Iversen and earned the U.S. under-23 national team a 4-4 tie with Norway's U-23 team Feb. 2 in Tampa, Fla.

The U.S. erased a 4-2 deficit in what was Bruce Arena's international coaching debut played at Pepin-Rood Stadium on the University of Tampa campus.

Iversen had given Norway a 3-1 lead at halftime. But second half strikes by Damian Silvera and Imad Baba, along with a Norwegian goal by Daniel Hestad, got the U.S. to within one.

A 12th-minute collision with Norway's Eivind Karlsbakk knocked U.S. goalkeeper Jeff Cassar out of the game. Cassar needed 20 stitches to close the cut on his forehead and Karlsbakk was given a yellow card. Another yellow, and a subsequent ejection, soon followed after Karlsbakk complained about the first caution.

Zach Thornton replaced Cassar in goal in the Feb. 4 rematch with Norway in Jacksonville.

In that match, played at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, A.J. Wood's header off a Damian Silvera free kick in the last minute of the match gave the U.S. a 2-1 victory over Norway.

An unnassisted goal by Miles Joseph in the 28th minute gave the U.S. a lead that held when Norway's Ole Hjelmhaug later hit the crossbar on a penalty kick.

Bjarte Aarsheim tied the game at 1-1 in the 52nd minute before Wood's late heroics gave the U.S. the win.

International Friendlies

Feb. 2 in Tampa, Fla.

U.S. U-23s 4, Norway U-23s 4. Goals: Wood (1), Silvera (50), Baba (67), Vermillion (83); Iversen (7 pen., 10, 27), Hestad (63).

U.S. U-23s -- Cassar (Thornton, 12), Hejduk (Baba, 32), Vermillion, Peay, DuHaney, Fisher (McKeon, 67), Walsh, Silvera, Kelly, Joseph, Wood.

Norway U-23s -- Eskeland, Andersen, Pedersen, Tran, Iversen, Hestad, Fjoertoft, Lund (Aarsheim, 76), Deila, Karlsbakk, Helstad.

Att.: 1,879.

Feb. 4 in Jacksonville, Fla.

U.S. U-23s 2, Norway U-23s 1. Goals: Joseph (28), Wood (90); Aarsheim (52).

U.S. U-23s -- Thornton, Hejduk, Vermillion (Pollard, 57), Peay, DuHaney, Baba, Walsh, Silvera, Kelly (Cozier, 64), Joseph, Wood.

Norway U-23s -- Baardsen, Andersen, Waaehler, Hjelmhaug, Deila, Nyan (Iversen, 68), Aarsheim, Bakke, Helstad (Fjoertoft, 68), Lund, Heggeman (Hestad, 80).

Att.: 8,975.

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