Monday, May 25, 2009

U.S. 2, Costa Rica 1

Under a setting Florida sun and a packed sideline, the U-20 Men's National Team defeated Costa Rica 2-1 this afternoon at the Sarasota Polo Grounds.

With the match decidely in Costa Rica's favor early on, it seemed likely that they would strike first. But a strong defensive presence kept the sheet clean for the U.S. in the first half, and neither side were able to create a particularly dangerous opportunity.

The second half brought more Costa Rican offense, and they finally converted in the 49th minute. After good ball movement around outside of the box, Josue Martinez took a pass from Mynor Escoe and with a quick touch sent in a curling shot to the upper left corner of the U.S. goal. U.S. 'keeper Brian Perk got a finger to it, but not enough to push it aside.

The U.S. struck back in the 60th minute after some good possession won them a free kick about 25 yards from goal. The kick was taken as a short pass to the right, where Peri Marosevic fiercely drove it on frame. The shot was blocked by Costa Rican goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado, but fell to the feet of an onrushing Michael Stephens who converted the rebound.

The U.S. snatched the momentum, and almost 30 minutes and a bevy of substitutions for both teams later, the U.S. went ahead for the first time in the 88th minute. Nice possession passing and a bit of individual skill by Tony Taylor allowed the forward to attract three defenders, leaving Jared Jeffries open at the top of the box. Coolly collecting the pass, Jeffries drove the ball into the lower left corner for the winning goal.

Check back later for photos and a detailed match report. Until then, enjoy the rest of your holiday!

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