U.S. U-23s tie China in six-goal thriller
The U.S. U-23 men's national team tied the Chinese U-23 national team for the second time to close out its tour. Unlike the first game which ended in a scoreless draw, the U.S. jumped out to a 3-0 lead at halftime at the Yue Xiu Shan Stadium in Guangzhou, before China rally with three second-half oals.
"I think we saw two different halves today," said U.S. U-23 head coach Peter Nowak. "We executed our game plan very well in the first half. The second half wasn't the prettiest. We knew going into the locker room at halftime that the Chinese team was going to be upset about being three goals down in front of their home crowd, and that they would come out and put pressure on us. Some of our players didn't perform in a tough situation. Overall, we had a great two weeks together. We have just started our selection process for the team that will compete in Olympic qualifying. These two games gave us a lot of answers."
Robbie Rogers, Patrick Ianni and Charlie Davies tallied for the U.S. in the first half as the U.S. eased out to a comfortable lead. For the second half, the U.S. made six changes to its starting lineup, but struggled to contain China which scored through Zhu Ting and Du Zhenyu. Near the end of regulation, China was awarded a controversial penalty following a challenge by Aaron Hohlbein and Zhenyu netted to draw the two teams level.
The U-23's will take a break for the holidays before regrouping for a two-week training camp from Jan. 6-20 in Bradenton, Fla. The U.S. will then participate in the 2008 CONCACAF Men's U-23 Championship to be held from March 11-23, 2008, in Los Angeles, Tampa and Nashville. The eight-team tournament will send the two finalists to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.