Freddy Adu Becomes Youngest Player to Ever Play for US National Team as Yanks Draw With Canada

SAN DIEGO (From USSoccer.com) — The U.S. Men’s National Team opened up their 2006 campaign with a tough 0-0 draw against Canada on Sunday evening at Torero Stadium on the University of San Diego campus.

"I thought it was a pretty even game said U.S. Manager Bruce Arena who is preparing the U.S. for a World Cup for the second time since he took over the team in 1998.

"I thought the Canadian team played quite well and they made it difficult on us all night. You have to give them a lot of credit. There were a few chances for both [teams] and no one was obviously able to capitalize but I think a draw was a fair result."

Preparations for the 2006 FIFA World Cup continue next week when the U.S. takes on Norway at The Home Depot Center on Jan. 29 2006 at 2 p.m. PT live on ESPN2 and Telemundo.

With the lack of goals for either side the story line of the match turned to two players – Matt Reis and Freddy Adu – who collected their first-ever caps for the U.S. MNT. Reis was solid in his first appearance in the net with the national team coming up with two saves on the night to become just the eighth ‘keeper in U.S. history to earn a shutout in his first cap.

Adu who came on for an injured Eddie Johnson in the 81st minute became the youngest player to ever take the field with the U.S. MNT at 16 years 234 days. Adu had replaced Johnson when the forward went down with a right calf contusion which was confirmed by a negative MRI test after the match.

Adu only touched the ball a handful of times during the match but his first touch was probably the most memorable. Collecting the ball near the top left corner of the penalty area Adu tried to beat defender Adam Braz. After touching the ball by Braz there was some contact as Adu tried to slip by the defender but fell to the ground. The crowd roared in the hopes of a penalty but the referee showed the youngster a yellow card for diving.

"I was very excited I wasn't nervous said Adu who has now played international matches with three men’s national teams (U-17 U-20 and MNT). "I just got out there and played my game. The guys have been awesome to me the last three weeks. I got out there and just tried to help the team out. We didn't pull out the win but it's a good first step. We know where we stand now and are going to go back and work hard to try to get ready for Norway."

Defender Heath Pearce picked up his first start with the U.S. MNT in just his second appearance while Chris Rolfe also made his second appearance when he came on as a reserve in the second half. Both players had earned their first cap during the USA’s last match in 2005 against Scotland.

The only other notable move in the U.S. lineup was when Chris Klein replaced Frankie Hejduk at right back to start the second half. Klein who usually plays as a right-sided attacking midfielder got his first cap as a defender.

The U.S. and Canada combined for 19 shots on the night but neither team really tested the opposing goalkeeper as most of the strikes failed to find their target.

Canada looked dangerous right from the opening whistle and got their first shot off in the second minute. Dwayne De Rosario raced down the left flank and served in a cross to the far post where Rob Friend was able to get free from his defender and put a header on target but U.S. goalkeeper Matt Reis was positioned well for the save.

Canada continued to control the match early on and had a few more good opportunities the best chance coming on a 30-yard free kick from the left flank in the 15th minute. Sandro Grande drilled a cross into the box and Marco Reda was able to get position on his defender and win a header but his redirection went over the bar.

A minute later Reis earned his shutout when he alertly came out of the penalty area to clear a through ball intended for Friend before the tall striker could get there. After clearing it out the U.S. was able to get its first opportunity on the resulting counter-attack. Josh Wolff pushed up the right flank and swerved in a cross that Brian Ching headed wide left.

The USA’s best opportunity in the game came just before halftime. Landon Donovan sent in a corner kick that was cleared out directly to Frankie Hejduk from about 25 yards out. The starting right back unleashed a shot towards the lower right corner forcing Canadian ‘keeper Greg Sutton into a sprawling save. The rebound fell to Donovan on the right who quickly crossed the ball to the far post where Twellman got his head to it but put his attempt over the bar.

The U.S. had a few chances on goal in the second half but nothing too dangerous. Ching and Wolff went just wide while Johnson put a shot on goal that Sutton fumbled out for a corner kick.

Canada’s best attempt came in the 64th minute when De Rosario got free on the left wing and broke in on goal but Reis was able to come up with the save. Moments later De Rosario fed Patrice Bernier in the box but his strike went over the bar.

--U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT--

Match-up: USA vs. Canada
Date: January 22 2006
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Torero Stadium – San Diego California
Kickoff: 5 p.m. PT
Attendance: 6077
Weather: Warm 65 degrees

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0

Lineups:

USA: 24-Matt Reis; 6-Heath Pearce 12-Jimmy Conrad 23-Eddie Pope (capt.) 2-Frankie Hejduk (17-Chris Klein 46); 14-Ben Olsen (5-Kerry Zavagnin 46) 10-Landon Donovan 8-Clint Dempsey; 16-Josh Wolff (7-Chris Rolfe 73) 11-Brian Ching 20-Taylor Twellman (9-Eddie Johnson 56 ; 15-Freddy Adu 81)
Subs not used: 22-Kevin Hartman; 3-Todd Dunivant
Head Coach: Bruce Arena

CAN: 1-Greg Sutton 2-Adam Braz 3-Ante Jazic 4-Gabriel Gervais 5-Marco Reda 8-Adrian Serioux (17-Stephen Ademolu 84); 5-Marco Reda 10-Sandro Grande (7-Will Johnson 70) 11-Patrick Bernier 13-Atiba Hutchinson; 9-Rob Friend 14-Dwayne De Rosario (capt.)
Subs not used: 6-Patrick Leduc 12-Nevio Pizzolitto 15-Chris Pozniak 16-Adrian Hainault 22-Kevin Stamatopoulos
Head Coach: Frank Yallop

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Freddy Adu (caution) 85th minute
CAN – Patrice Berneir (caution) 90.

Officials:
Referee: Benito Archundia (MEX)
1st Asst.: Jose Ramirez (MEX)
2nd Asst.: Pedro Rebollar (MEX)
Fourth Official: Kevin Stott (USA)