Wednesday, January 17, 2007

U-20 men ready for World Cup qualifier

US U-20 Men vs Haiti
6:30pm ET

The first of many big international competitions for the various US national teams begins today as the U-20 men take on Haiti in their 2007 U-20 World Cup qualifier opener.

They have been training in Florida and Panama on and off for the last month but now it is time for Freddy Adu, Quavas Kirk, Chris Seitz and the rest of the squad to prove it on the pitch.

Their group is made up of Haiti, Guatemala and host country Panama. The top two teams from the group will advance to the U-20 World Cup held in Canada this June. The US plays Guatemala on Friday and Panama on Sunday.

Focusing on the match with Haiti, Kirk said "We want to come out strong in the first game because it’s obviously going to set the tone for the rest of the tournament. If we come out and get those three points, then we’ll be in the driver’s seat so I think we’re going to come out hard and play our best."

Forward Robbie Rogers condenses the 'time to make an impression' even further. "Even the first 15 minutes, we need to set the tone of how we’re going to play the rest of the tournament. I think everyone is prepared, we’re going to bring a high level of energy and everyone is eager to start."

Those three points against Haiti are almost critical because the last thing the American side wants to do is go into Sunday's final match against Panama needing a full three points.

Haiti is a solid side and will prove difficult on set pieces. Look for them to test the midfield and try to take Adu out of the game.

The game will air live on GolTV. Their will also be live coverage on US Soccer's matchtracker.

By the way, the last time these two sides met during qualifying, the US won 2-0 thanks to goals by Eddie Johnson and Santino Quaranta.


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