Olympics; Late goal gives Canada draw with U-23s

Canadian midfielder Steve Kindel scored an 88th minute equalizer as the U.S. and Canadian U-23 teams played to 1-1 draw at the new Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. The U.S. dominated play for the majority of the match, and American forward Josh Wolff had put the U.S. ahead with a penalty kick, but lead fizzled with Canada's late counter-attack. "Obviously it would have been nice to win," admitted U.S. coach Clive Charles. "But more importantly is the learning experience. We need to grow as a team in order to be prepared to qualify for the Olympics in Sydney." The U.S. stormed out of the gate with a brilliant attacking display and forced Canadian goalkeeper Mike Franks into making four saves in the first three minutes. Joey DiGiamarino, Brian West and Josh Wolff all had clear chances inside the penalty area saved well by the 6- foot-4 Canadian, who ended up with seven saves on the evening. The American pressure continued throughout the first half, particularly through the midfield play of Antonio Otero and Peter Vagenas, who distributed probing balls, one after another into the attacking third of the field. But the Canadian central defense of Mark Bircham and Richard Hastings, as well as the solid Franks in goal, kept the scoreline intact. At the other end of the field, it took Canada 38 minutes to force U.S. keeper Adin Brown into making a save, largely due to the suffocating defense of the American team. The back four of Even Whitfield, Matt Chulis, Brian Dunseth and Ramiro Corrales shut down Canada's two forwards completely, and only allowed four shots in the match, all of which came from the boot of Kindel. One minute after the halftime break, Brian West set up the opening goal. The 5-foot-9 forward dribbled into the penalty area on the right side and beat a defender before getting tripped. Referee John Wilson whistled the foul, earning the U.S. a penalty kick. Wolff, a former University of South Carolina All-American, stepped up and slammed his penalty kick past Franks into the left corner. It was Wolff's first career U-23 goal. Shortly after the goal, Canada seemed to be falling apart as midfielder Robbie Aristodemo was ejected from the match for a dangerous tackle on West. Aristodemo, who had already received a yellow card for unsporting conduct in the first half, was shown a direct red card for the challenge on West. The best chance in the latter stages of the game came from substitute Michael Preis, who sent a clever flick to Wolff in the 77th minute. Wolff ran onto the ball in the box, but a charging Franks forced Wolff to pull the trigger early, and the forward missed with a shot over the bar. Canada never surrendered in the match, and scored on a counterattack in the 88th minute. Dwayne DeRosario tracked down a ball on the right flank and sent a pass into the area that found Kindel wide open at the top of the box. Kindel's right-footer from point-blank range gave Adin Brown no chance from 15 yards. Even after the tying goal, the U.S. might have stolen the winner after two excellent opportunities in injury time; Jason Moore slammed a shot from 22 yards that Franks held, and Antonio Otero had a clear shot from 12 yards blocked by a Canadian defender. In the end, an exceptional American performance was tarnished by a late Canadian goal. The U.S. U-23s, which now own a 4-2-5 record in 1999, will next participate in the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada this summer. May 19 in Charleston, S.C. USA 1 Canada 1. Goals: Wolff (pen.) 48; Kindel 88. USA -- Brown, Whitfield, Chulis, Dunseth, Corrales (Moore, 46), Otero, Parra (Winters, 46), Vagenas, DiGiamarino (Shak, 59), West (Preis, 73), Wolff. Canada -- Franks, Clarke, Hastings, Bircham, Mathot, Aristodemo, Edouard (Bernier, 46), Kindel, Skinner, Stathopoulos, DeRosario. Yellow cards: USA -- Chulis 50; Canada -- Aristodemo 39, Skinner 56. Red card: Canada -- Aristodemo 52. Referee: John Wilson (USA). Att.: 2,293.
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