Hunter Freeman & US U-20's Win 'Group of Death' Advance to 2nd Round of FIFA Youth Championship

ENSCHEDE Holland (From USSoccer.com) — The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team earned their third straight shutout with a 1-0 victory this afternoon over Egypt at Arke Stadium in Enchede Holland to win the "Group of Death" and advance to the second round of the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship.

Jacob Peterson headed home a deflected shot from Freddy Adu in the 56th minute and the defense held Egypt to just one shot on goal for the entire 90 minutes to give the U.S. the victory in their final group match.

In the other group match Argentina defeated Germany 1-0 in Emmen providing the U.S. with first place in Group D with seven points and allowing them to stay in Enschede to face Italy who finished in third place in Group E on Tuesday June 21 at Arke Stadium. Kickoff is set for 11:30 a.m. ET (5:30 p.m. local) and fans can follow the match live on Fox Soccer Channel and ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker presented by Philips Electronics.

The back-to-back-to-back shutouts in the tournament’s toughest group marks one of the greatest national team accomplishments in U.S. Soccer history with the U.S. becoming just the 12th team in the tournament’s 25-year history to manage the feat. The previous lowest amount of goals allowed by a U.S. team in a WYC was four which occurred in four tournaments (Chile ’87 Australia ’93 Malaysia ’97 and Argentina ’01).

The victory also marks the second straight time the U.S. has won their group in the World Youth Championship as they claimed first place for the first time in 2003 in the United Arab Emirates. This is also the second time U.S. head coach Sigi Schmid has led the U.S. Under-20s to the second round of a FIFA World Youth Championship as the U.S. also advanced to the Round of 16 in Nigeria ’99.

Additionally the seven points mark the most points ever earned by the U.S. U-20s in group play in 10 tournament appearances.

"We’re very proud to win the group to get seven points and to have three shutouts in a difficult group said Schmid who’s international record with the Under-20s now stands at 13-1-1 since taking over the team last year. "We didn’t play all that well today but sometimes it can be a good sign when you don’t play well and can still come out with a victory. We’re pleased we were able to rest some players today and not risk those players that had yellow cards. Now we are just looking forward to Tuesday."

The U.S. came out with a completely different line-up than they used in their first two games allowing a number of players to rest including left back Marvell Wynne and attacking midfielder Eddie Gaven who were both holding yellow cards. A total of six players earned their first start of the tournament four of which were seeing their first minutes overall.

The U.S. struggled to find a rhythm during the first 20 minutes of the match as they turned the ball over numerous times and couldn’t string more than two or three passes together. While they struggled offensively the defense which only had one change from the Germany match as Brad Evans replaced Wynne at right back was solid once again not allowing Egypt a single shot in the first half.

Nathan Sturgis was the defensive leader providing another impressive performance from his central back position. Sturgis who came on for regular starter Jonathan Spector in the early stages of the opening match was a calming influence in the back with good positioning and well-timed tackles to kill Egypt’s offensive pressure.

In the second part of the first half the U.S. began to pick up the tempo and created a few chances on goal. The U.S. got their first attempt on goal in the 28th minute when a quick throw-in by Will John freed Evans on the right flank and he was able to belt a low hard cross across the goalmouth. Peterson was able to cut in front of his defender and get a toe to direct it towards the frame but the ball barely missed wide right.

Four minutes later the U.S. was unlucky not to score when Peterson lost his defender 15 yards over the midfield stripe with a quick turn and pushed forward into the attack. Near the top of the box he pushed the ball to his right for Sacha Kljestan who cut the ball to his right foot and hit a shot that deflected off defender Ahmed Magdy and hit goalkeeper Hamada Shaaban in the leg. The rebound fell to Kljestan and he uncorked another attempt but again Shaaban was able to make the stop.

In the 35th minute Egypt suffered a major blow when defender Ahmed Gamil received his second yellow card putting the Pharaohs down a man for the rest of the match. Gamil received his first caution for holding a U.S. player while jostling for position before a free kick and then six minutes later he was shown the red when he kicked the ball after the referee had called a free kick for the U.S.

The U.S. almost struck right before halftime when Sturgis played in a cross from the left sideline and Evans was able to hit a flick header towards the underside of the crossbar but Shaaban did well to parry it over the bar.

With the man advantage the U.S. tried to come out and find an early goal. Danny Szetela had two attempts on frame in the first three minutes but his first from the right side was saved by Shaaban and his second a one-timer after a cross by Kljestan bounced off the crossbar was deflected by a defender.

In the 51st minute Egypt got off their only shot of the game but U.S. goalkeeper Quentin Westberg was up to the challenge. Mahmoud Abdelrazek got the ball atop the box and pushed it to his right for Ahmed Magdy who ripped a low blast that Westberg was able to stop with an impressive kick save.

Three minutes later Adu was inserted into the match replacing Lee Nguyen and quickly energized the U.S. attack. His first touch created a scoring chance as he knocked the ball wide left to Hunter Freeman. The Colorado Rapids defender hit a first-time cross into the penalty area for Peterson who’s header sailed just over the crossbar.

Adu was also involved in the goal a few moments later. Szetela knocked the ball to Kljestan who found the D.C. United midfielder to the left of the goal. Adu juked his first defender in the box and then unleashed a shot from close range but his attempt was deflected by a defender falling to the back post where Jacobsen pounced on the loose ball in the air to head it home past Shaaban.

"The game wasn't going too well to be honest said Adu following the match. "We created some chances but we weren't finishing. (Sigi) put me in the game and my goal was to create something and try and make something happen."

Despite having a lead and a man advantage the U.S. struggled at times to kill the game and allowed Egypt to push for the equalizer. In the 69th minute poor defensive marking on a quick free kick on the right sideline by Egypt allowed Abdallah Said to get a good look at the target but his shot sailed well over the goal.

Today’s match against Egypt marked the 39th game the U.S. has played in a FIFA World Youth Championship pushing them past Mexico to become the all-time CONCACAF leader in games played at the youth tournament.

- U.S. U-20 MNT Game Report -

Match-up: U.S. U-20 MNT vs. Egypt U-20 MNT
Date: June 18 2005
Competition: FIFA World Youth Championship
Venue: Arke Stadion – Enschede Netherlands
Kickoff: 7:30 a.m. ET
Attendance: 7600
Weather: 85 degrees hot

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

USA - Jacob Peterson (Freddy Adu) 56th minute

Lineups:
USA: 1-Quentin Westberg; 20-Brad Evans 5-Patrick Ianni 4-Nathan Sturgis 15-Hunter Freeman; 8-Benny Feilhaber 7-Sacha Kljestan 19-Danny Szetela 12-Will John; (9-Chad Barrett 71) 13-Jacob Peterson (18-Sammy Ochoa 79) 14-Lee Nguyen (11-Freddy Adu 54)
Subs not used: 2-Marvell Wynne 3-Jonathan Spector 6-Greg Dalby 10-Eddie Gaven 16-Michael Harrington 17-Andrew Kartunen 21-Justin Hughes
Head Coach: Sigi Schmid

EGY: 1-Hamada Shaaban; 5-Walid Kandel (9-Hossam Ossama 77) 6-Abdellah Galal 14-Ahmed Magdy 20-Ahmed Gamil; 3-Abdelaziz Tawfik 12-Abdallah Shahat 18-Ahmed Ghanem (13-Ahmed Abd Elhakam 63); 7-Ahmed Farag (8-Ahmed Abdel Zaher 83) 10-Mahmoud Abdelrazek 11-Abdallah Said
Subs not used: 15-Islam Siam 16-Amir Tawfik 17-Amr El Halawani 19-Ahmed Khalifa 21-Ahmed Adel
Head Coach: Mohamed Radwan

Misconduct Summary:
EGY - Ahmed Gamil (caution) 25th minute
EGY - Abdallah Shahat (caution) 29.
EGY - Ahmed Gamil (caution) 35.
EGY - Ahmed Gamil (ejection) 35.
USA - Brad Evans (caution) 72.
USA - Freddy Adu (caution) 73.
EGY - Hossam Ossama (caution) 82.

Officials:
Referee: Jong Chul Kwon (South Korea)
1st Asst.: Tiejun Liu (Christmas Island)
2nd Asst.: Fernando Tamayo (South Korea)
Fourth Official: Eric Braamharr (Netherlands)

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Nathan Sturgis