Wednesday, July 4, 2007

US U-20's Victorious, Rout Poland 6-1

After a shaky start that saw them go down a goal just 4 minutes into the game, the US U-20's picked up their play and went on to beat Poland's U-20 team 6-1, led by a hat trick from Freddy Adu and two goals from Danny Szetela, the talented Columbus Crew youngster with Polish heritage.

In all honesty, the outcome could've been even more one-sided. The US looked threatening all game long, visibly outclassing Poland at every position on the field. Southampton's Bartosz Bialkowski came up with some outstanding saves to hold the US to 6 goals and without him in net, Poland may just have conceded a total in the double digits as the US was firing shots from all over the field.

The Polish defense, headlined by Bolton defender Jaroslaw Fojut, their captain, will be hard-pressed to forget Adu and Szetela, but I think it was Sal Zizzo who came up with the best performance of the night. Zizzo looked like Cristiano Ronaldo with his play on the right side, constantly running at the Polish defenders and breaking them down. He had two assists on the night and it was only his unselfishness that didn't see his name onto the scoresheet as he was the most menacing player on the field.

One brief sidenote about the match, which was played at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal. If the stadium isn't good enough to keep the professional baseball team that played there recently, the Montreal Expos, is it really fit to be a site at the FIFA U-20 World Cup? It's a 65,000+ seat stadium but only half of it, at best, was filled for the US-Poland game. There's nothing worse than playing in front of a reserved, lackluster crowd and at the biggest stage of them all in youth international soccer, the sight of a game in Olympic Stadium was a disgrace. The stadium is closed for four months every winter as the fire marshal in Montreal has concerns about the roof not being able to support snow loads for goodness' sake!

The US will square off against perennial power Brazil in Ottawa on July 6. They sit on top of Group D after 2 games and with a +5 goal differential, one would think a tie would be enough for the US to advance to the knockout stages of this tournament. A loss may not even eliminate the US as long as the scoreline is kept close. Right now, the US is in the driver's seat and if they can hold on and win the group, they would play a third-place team in the next round, improving their chances of moving further in the tournament.

Group D Standings (after 2 matches):
1. USA (4 pts, +5 GD)
2. Brazil (3 pts, 0 GD)
3. Poland (3 pts, -4 GD)
4. South Korea (1 pt, -1 GD)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good article but on a 'side note' please get the facts straight. There were 55,000 tickets sold for the US-Poland (later Brazil - Korea) match up at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal. If you were watching it live you would have felt the incredible atmosphere which even Adu and Brazilian star Pato labeled 'crazy'. More over, Montreal has had the largest crowds in Canada for the Under 20 Fifa World Cup. A game like Panama - Czech brought in 36,000 while Ottawa didn't get that for Brazil - USA.