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Boca Forward Creative in US U17 National Team Win at IMG
March 4, 2005

Joseph Sorrentino (Hamilton, NJ), a two year member of the Jersey Shore Boca Super Y-League program, helped the US U17 Mens National Team to a 2-1 win over their younger U15 colleagues during training camp at the IMG Academy in Florida on Friday. Robert Ziegler of Top Drawer Soccer reports on the play of the Boca standout and details of the match.
National Team makes good showing in matches at IMG Academy

By Robert Ziegler 3-4-2005
Top Drawer Soccer

American soccer fans can be very optimistic about the 1990 age group.

While this year’s U17 National Team, just over a month away from its CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament, is also giving reason for optimism, the somewhat more distant future is looking bright indeed. That’s the chief impression gained from a pair of matches played Friday at the IMG Academy in Bradenton by Jim Barlow’s U15 National Team squad.

The U15s defeated the Super Y-League ODP Selection 90s 2-1, and dropped a close 2-1 decision to the U17 National Team 89s by the same scoreline, but the style and quality of play in both matches give hope that there is much to look forward to from this group. The teams were set out admittedly in two tiers, but Barlow and assistant coach Tony Lepore were both adamant that the tiers are quite fluid, even from day to day at this camp.

Barlow, head coach at Princeton, is encouraged by what he has seen thus far.

“I thought in both games we did alright. The group that started the 2nd game is the one that had established themselves by the end of the Nike Friendlies (in December). I think there’s a lot of competitiveness in them and some good leadership in the back, “ Barlow said. “In a game like this where we play an older team and are not going to have as much of the ball as usual we had to stay organized and really work together. I thought they kept their shape, moved together and talked to solve the problems, which was really good to see. At halftime before we got over to them they are all sitting there talking about how to solve the problem and tie the game up.”

The first tier team had the stern test of playing the 89s from the U17 National Team. Workaholic Mike Stephens, in a new role at fullback for the day for the 89s, drove forward and hit a good cross to the edge of the area, from where Anthony Wallace fired a shot over the bar. The U15s mounted their first attack when quicksilver Brandon Tarr made a foray into the box, but Victor Cortez cleared for the 89s.

Cesar Nunez of the 89s played a dangerous through ball into the box minutes later, but U15 goalkeeper Josh Lambo was off his line well to gather it safely. Stephens then won a corner after a good feed from Josmer Altidore, but U15 defender Christian Ibeagha won the ball and cleared it from the area. Peri Marosevic then set up Altidore who controlled well but shot wide.

After Joe Sorrentino won another corner for the 89s, Andrew Giollombardo sent over a difficult ball, setting off a scramble in front of the net. U15 defender Fro Adu cleared one shot off the line, but Cesar Nunez remained persistent and poked the ball into the net to put the 89s up 1-0.

The 89s kept on the attack and Altidore nearly doubled the lead when he ran onto a long punt and fired a shot, but the effort went just wide.

Somewhat against the run of play, the U15 squad turned in some sublime play to equalize the match. Ian Kalis won the ball near midfield and found Israel Sesay in the forward third. Sesay saw Brandon Tarr making a run toward the area and hit him with a perfect pass. Tarr then raced past a defender and tried to take the ball past onrushing goalkeeper Brian Perk of the U16s. Perk disrupted the run with his challenge, but Tarr remarkably kept his feet, chased down the ball as it was heading over the end line and had the composure to control his momentum enough to poke it across the line from a sharp angle and tie the match at 1-1.

The goal seemed to light a fire under the 89s and Sorrentino played a nice ball to Peri Marosevic, putting him in 1v1 with U15 goalkeeper Lambo, but the shot went over the bar. Joe Sorrentino nearly got on the board after taking a ball from Bryan Arguez, but Lambo was on hand to make the save.

It was Sorrentino who did the creative work when the 89s got the winner late in the half. The quick forward made a run down the right, circled back and fired over a cross that Altidore gathered in the box. The Miami resident, did some good work in the box to get free and then fired home a drive for a 2-1 lead for the 89s.

Top players for the U15s included central defenders Fro Adu and Christian Ibeagha, left back Ian Kalis, defensive midfielder Daniel Wenzel and frontrunner Brandon Tarr.

U15 National Team Lineup (vs. U17 89s)
GK: Josh Lambo (Jon Harris, 45)
D: David McVane (Chris Lebo, 75), Christian Ibeagha, Fro Adu, Ian Kalis
M: Jared Jeffrey, Daniel Wenzel, Kirk Urso (Sam Redmond, 45), Matt Uy
F: Israel Sesay (Chris Agorsor, 80), Brandon Tarr

U17 National Team (1989) Lineup
GK: Brian Perk
D: Mike Stephens, Victor Cortez, Greg Eckhardt, Anthony Wallace
M: Bryan Arguez, Andrew Giollombardo, Cesar Nunez
F: Peri Marosevic (Jonathan Collier, 65), Josmer Altidore, Joseph Sorrentino