Jonathan Spector went off with a leg injury in the first half and Freddy Adu missed a second half penalty kick but a Chad Barrett header in the 39th minute was all the U.S. needed to secure three points from their first match.
"I am very proud of the way we played today said U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Sigi Schmid. "We came out and didn’t play timid and demonstrated that we have the ability to perform with some of the best teams in the world. We played well in the first half and had a great build-up for our goal and in the second half we had some luck at the right time when the Argentineans stepped up their pressure. This is a great victory for the U.S. and takes us a step forward."
The victory was the second straight for the U.S. as they had beaten Argentina 2-1 in March in South Korea but it was their first ever for the U.S. over Argentina in the World Youth Championship and just their third victory over a CONMEBOL team in the tournament. The U.S. also became just the second CONCACAF team to defeat Argentina in a WYC following Mexico who pulled off the feat with a 4-1 victory in 1999.
This was the fifth time the U.S. has opened the FIFA World Youth Championship with a victory but interestingly in all of the four previous tournaments the U.S. lost their second match. In each instance though the U.S. still advanced to the second round.
The U.S. sits tied for first place in Group D with three points after the victory as Germany defeated Egypt 2-0 in the second match in Enschede. The U.S. will battle for sole position of first place when they face Germany in their second match of the tournament at Arke Stadium on Tuesday June 14 at 2:30 p.m. ET (8:30 p.m. local). Fans can follow the match live on Fox Soccer Channel or on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker presented by Philips Electronics.
The U.S. came out confident and weren’t intimidated by the blue and white stripes of the four-time champions. Despite not having the majority of the possession the U.S. was able to dictate the pace at times in the first half and was able to put pressure on Argentina’s backline. Chad Barrett had two attempts on goal from inside the penalty area in the first ten minutes but goalkeeper Oscar Ustari saved both strikes. Argentina’s attack was impressive as well and the U.S. was able to avoid going down early when Gustavo Oberman’s strike from the top of the area found the left post after beating U.S. ‘keeper Quentin Westberg.
The U.S. was dealt a setback a third of the way into the match when Spector suffered an thigh injury after two tough tackles and had to be replaced by Nathan Sturgis in the 38th minute. Despite coming off the bench cold due to the lack of time for a proper warm-up the Clemson standout was up to the challenge and filled in dutifully at the center back position.
A minute after coming on Sturgis started the U.S. attack off a free kick in their defensive half that led to the winning goal. Sturgis pushed the free kick out wide to Hunter Freeman and he quickly found Barrett alone across the halfway stripe. Barrett flicked it centrally for Dalby who spun and punched the ball out wide right to a wide-open Marvell Wynne making a streaking run up the right flank. Wynne took a couple touches and served in a cross that deflected off defender Emiliano Armenteros before finding Barrett at the back post where the Chicago Fire striker headed it straight down past Ustari.
"It looked a lot like the first qualifying goal against Trinidad & Tobago but Marvell put in a good cross that took a deflection on the way and had some good top-spin said Barrett who increased his team lead in international goals to seven. "I thought there was a guy behind me and I just tried to head it down. To be the guy that scored the goal was great. To kick off the world championship with a goal and get three points against Argentina you can’t top that right now."
In an interesting twist Argentina’s most dangerous attacking player Lionel Messi did not start the match due to a tactical adjustment according to head coach Francisco Ferraro. The FC Barcelona youngster did come on to start the second half and his impact on the game was apparent the first time he touched the ball darting through the middle of the U.S. defense with a tantalizing 50-yard dribbling run before his pass was intercepted.
Messi had a couple of chances to bring Argentina square with the U.S. early in the second half. The first came in the 51st minute when he got free at the back right post but he couldn’t get a clean shot on goal and Sturgis was there to clean it up. In the 65th minute he unleashed an shot from the top of the box but Westberg came up with a huge save diving to his left and getting his glove to it.
While Argentina supplied most of the attack in the second half the U.S. was still able to create chances once again utilizing Wynne’s blazing down the right flank. Wynne was able to send in a number of crosses but the U.S. couldn’t capitalize.
In the 63rd minute Barrett had a chance for his second goal as Eddie Gaven sent him through with a nice flick near the top of the box. With a defender on his back Barrett was able to get off a shot inside the area that was just wide right.
Adu was also a large part of the team’s attack as the 16-year-old delighted the crowd with some world-class touches in tight spaces and darting dribbling runs at Argentina’s backline. In the 72nd minute the U.S. had a chance to double their lead and put Argentina into a bigger hole when Adu won a penalty kick after getting tripped up just inside the right corner of the box. The crowd thought the call was questionable and began hissing loudly as Adu approached the penalty spot. The deafening noise caused Adu to stutter-step as he struggled to hear the referee’s whistle and he ended up hitting the right post.
The final 20 minutes of the game brought flashbacks of the USA’s match-up with Argentina in the quarterfinals of the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship where Argentina scored in the final minute of extra time to tie the match before eventually going on to win in overtime. Led by Messi Argentina was continually pressing forward into the attack and pulled the trigger from numerous angles but the U.S. did enough to keep them off the scoreboard.
In the 76th minute Messi again had a golden opportunity to be the savior for Argentina. Fernando Gago lofted a ball over the head of Sturgis to Messi inside the box but a well-positioned Westberg saved his header.
In the final moments Argentina was able to move the ball into dangerous areas in front of the U.S. goal but could never find the final pass and struggled to put their attempts on goal.
-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --
Match-up: U.S. U-20 MNT vs. Argentina U-20 MNT
Date: June 11 2005
Competition: FIFA World Youth Championship
Venue: Arke Stadion – Enschede Netherlands
Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. ET
Weather: 48 degrees rain
1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
ARG 0 0 0
USA – Chad Barrett (Marvell Wynne) 39th minute
USA: 1-Quentin Westberg; 2-Marvell Wynne 5-Patrick Ianni 3-Jonathan Spector (4-Nathan Sturgis 38) 15-Hunter Freeman; 6-Greg Dalby 8-Benny Feilhaber 18-Sammy Ochoa (13-Jacob Peterson 60) 10-Eddie Gaven 11-Freddy Adu; 9-Chad Barrett (19-Danny Szetela 85)
Subs not used: 7-Sacha Kljestan 12-Will John 14-Lee Nguyen 16-Michael Harrington 17-Andrew Kartunen 20-Brad Evans 21-Justin Hughes
Head Coach: Sigi Schmid
ARG: 1-Oscar Ustari; 2-Gustavo Cabral 3-Lautaro Formica 4-Julio Barroso 6-Gabriel Paletta; 17-Fernando Gago (16-Neri Cardozo 76) 7-Lucas Biglia 8-Pablo Zabaleta (Capt.) 11-Emiliano Armenteros (18-Lionel Messi 46); 9-Pablo Vitti 20-Gustavo Oberman
Subs not used: 5-Juan Manuel Torres 10-Patricio Perez 12-Nereo Champagne 13-Ezequiel Garay 14-David Abraham 15-Rodrigo Archubi 19-Sergio Aguero 21-Nicolas Navarro
Head Coach: Francisco Ferraro
USA – Eddie Gaven (caution) 29th minute.
ARG - Pablo Vitti (caution) 46.
ARG - Gabriel Paletti (caution) 66.
Referee: Terje Hauge (NOR)
1st Asst.: Steinar Holvik (NOR)
2nd Asst.: Ole Hermann Borgan (NOR)
Fourth Official: Eric Braamhaar (NET)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Chad Barrett
For the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship standings and upcoming matches visit www.USSoccer.com