June 21, 2005
ENSCHEDE, Holland – Notre Dame’s Greg Dalby (Poway, Calif.) and the U.S. Under-20 men’s soccer team lost their Round of 16 match to Italy, 3-1, at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship on Tuesday afternoon at Arke Stadium. The loss ends a great run by the national team, which featured three straight shutouts en route to claiming group D (the `Group of Death’) with seven points. Dalby, who will be a junior midfielder for the Irish this fall, captained the U.S. to a 2-1-1 overall record.
The U.S. actually led 1-0 at the half as U.S. forward Freddy Adu earned a penalty kick late in the half after being tackled as he tried to move past a defender in the right side of the box. Adu’s penalty attempt was well-saved by Italian goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano, but the referee whistled the goalkeeper for moving early and Hunter Freeman stepped up to rifle home the second attempt.
The 1-0 lead would not hold up, though, as Graziano Pelle assisted on a tying deflected goal by Daniele Galloppa in the 54th minute, and then danced through the U.S. defense to score a superb goal just over eight minutes later. An own goal from the U.S.’s Sacha Kljestan, who replaced Dalby in the 65th minute, rounded out the scoring for the Italians in the 74th minute.
Despite the loss, the U.S. still had a strong showing at the tournament. The back-to-back-to-back shutouts versus Argentina (1-0), Germany (0-0) and Egypt (1-0) 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 28-year history to manage the feat. The previous lowest amount of goals allowed by a U.S. team in WYC group play was three, which occurred in four tournaments (Chile ’87, Australia ’93, Malaysia ’97 and Argentina ’01).
The victory versus Egypt also marked 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. Additionally, the seven points mark the most points ever earned by the U.S. U-20s in group play in 10 tournament appearances.
For more information on the U.S. Under-20 National Team, go to www.ussoccer.com.
U.S. Under-20 National Team Schedule
June 11, U.S.A -1, Argentina 0
June 14, U.S.A. – 0, Germany 0
June 18, U.S.A – 1, Egypt 0
June 21, Italy – 3, U.S.A 1