France clobbers USA, 4-1, in opener

[FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL ESPOIRS] The USA fell to host France, 4-1, in their opening game at the Festival International Espoirs. France scored twice at the end of each half -- 40-minute periods -- beginning with a spectacular flick backheel by Alexandre Coeff followed shortly thereafter by a shot by Gianelli Imbula through the arms of U.S. keeper Cody Cropper.

U.S. captain Benji Joya reduced the deficit to 2-1 with a goal late in the second half, but the French quickly responded with goals by Stephane Bahoken and Rachid Ghezzal.

The French were coached by former national team star Willy Sagnol, the manager of France's youth national team program making his coaching debut. The team was an under-21 team, not the under-20 team led by Juventus star Paul Pogba that the USA will meet at the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey next month.

The game marked the U.S. debut of Monterrey striker Alonso Hernandez, who started at center forward. The USA was without several starters who remained with their clubs.

May 28 in Toulon
France 4 USA 1. Goals: Coeff 38, Imbula 40, Bahoken 77, Ghezzal 83+; Joya 72.
France -- Boucher, Sidibe, Coeff, Vena, M.Traore, Mendy, Imbula (Mulumba, 65), Kebano (Ferri, 56), Eysseric (Ghezzal, 47), Ntep (Bahoken, 76), Mayi.
USA -- Cropper; Miller, Payeras, Torre, Ocegueda; Joya, Trapp; Koroma (Morris, 61), Martin (Garcia, 61), Cuevas (Serna, 70); Hernandez

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