Feb. 26, 2003
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team drew 0-0 with Colombia Wednesday afternoon at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. With the draw the U.S. now holds a 5-2-2 record in 2003. Tomorrow morning the U.S. departs for Portugal and the Madeira International Tournament, which the U.S. opens on March 3 against Portugal.
"I thought the team showed a lot of heart and rebounded well after a tough match on Monday," said U.S. head coach Thomas Rongen. "Now we look ahead to three matches in Portugal, and we will use these two matches against Colombia as learning tools as we continue to prepare for the World Youth Championship."
Thomas Rongen made three changes for the team that lost 6-3 against Colombia on Monday, while Colombia countered with six changes to their first eleven. The biggest change for the U.S. side was the inclusion of Bobby Convey in the starting eleven. Convey, who missed Monday's match with a slight foot injury, controlled the flow of the match through his center midfield spot and was in the middle of the USA's most dangerous attacks. U.S. forward Ed Johnson sat out today's match after re-injuring a groin injury in Monday's game.
The USA's best chance came in the game's final minute, when Ricardo Clark freed himself in the penalty area and met a free kick seven yards from goal. The MetroStars midfielder rose and headed just wide of the right post.
The U.S. found time and space down the wings in the first half, and the service of Devin Barclay on the right side and Justin Mapp and Jordan Harvey on the left led to a variety of chances. But too often the U.S. was off target, as Devin Barclay and Convey were with their best chances in the fist half, or Colombian goalkeeper Hector Fabio Landazuri was up to the challenge. Landazuri produced five saves in the match.
U.S. goalkeeper Steve Cronin recorded three saves in each half and came off his line on several occasions to clear dangerous Colombia through balls, while recording his fifth U-20 international shutout. Cronin's best save of the game came seconds before halftime, when his quick reactions allowed him to tip over a rocket volley from six yards out.
Ryan Cochrane notched another international start in the contest, helping guide the stingy defense that was a little porous in its last match on Monday.
Colombia played the final 10 minutes of the game down a man, after Aguilar Abel received his second caution of the match in the 81st minute.
Tomorrow morning the U.S. will travel to Portugal for the Madeira International Tournament. There, the U.S. faces Portugal on March 3 at 11 a.m. local time (6 a.m. ET), Norway on March 5 at 2 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET) and a Madeira Regional Select Team on March 7 at 10 a.m. local time (5 a.m. ET). David Johnson (Willem II - Holland), Frank Simek (Arsenal - England) and Arturo Alvarez (San Jose Earthquakes - MLS) will join the U.S. side in Portugal for the seventh edition of the Madeira tournament.