June 24, 2013
MAKING A POINT
US U20s draw with France 1-1
ISTANBUL, Turkey - The U.S. U-20 Men's National Team got an important point after a well-deserved 1-1 draw with France in the second game of Group A in the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Yaya Sanogo gave France a 1-0 lead with a penalty kick early in the second half, but the U-20s answered back when Daniel Cuevas scored off a deflection from a Luis Gil free kick just outside the box.
The U.S. sits in third place with one point. Spain has already clinched passage to the knockout stage with six points. France has three points and Ghana none.
The U-20 MNT now departs Istanbul and will set up base in Kayseri in preparation for its third and final Group A match against Ghana on Thursday, June 27, at Kadir Has Stadium. A win and loss by France to Spain would put the U.S. through.
The match kicks off at 8 p.m. local (11 p.m. CT) and will be broadcast live on ESPNU, WatchESPN and Univision Deportes. Fans can also follow the game via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.
In the first half, Sanogo had the best chance for France in the 17th minute with a driving shot from just inside the penalty area, but U.S. goalkeeper Cody Cropper deflected it over the crossbar.
There was a flurry of action in first-half stoppage time as both sides had opportunities. A cross from Alonso Hernandez found Jose Villarreal in front of the box, but France goalkeeper Alphonse Areola corralled his header.
France came right back on the counterattack with a break down the right side of the field, but defender Shane O'Neill did a good job to get back and prevent the threat from coming to fruition.
A minute later, the U.S. was back the other way and Villarreal found a streaking Gil, but the midfielder's strike from 10 yards out did not have enough pace or placement to get past a diving Areola.
In the second half, both teams came out with a higher level of intensity and France was able to earn a penalty kick just three minutes after the break on a questionable call.
While Javan Torre clearly committed a foul on Dimitri Foulquier, it appeared to be just outside the box. Nonetheless referee Carlos Vera pointed to the spot without hesitation.
On the penalty, Cropper guessed correctly and got a glove to Sanogo's shot, but he couldn't keep it from going into the net.
Down a goal, the U.S. did well to continue to press forward in an attempt to look for the equalizer and in the 64th minute earned its own penalty kick when Mario Rodriguez drew a foul in the box. Gil stepped up to take the spot kick, but his low strike to the right side was saved by Areola.
Despite the missed opportunity, the U.S. kept up the intensity and earned a dangerous free kick once again off the effort of Rodriguez who was fouled near the top right corner of the penalty area. Gil took the free kick low into the box where it was deflected, and Cuevas - who was positioned in the wall - turned and jumped on the loose ball, hitting a left-footed strike into the left side of the goal past a helpless Areola.
France attacked the U.S. net in the last 10 minutes of the second half with a barrage of shots and crosses that gave the U-20 MNT a scare, but the defense held strong to earn an important point.