U.S. U18 MNT ends NTC with draw

by J.R. Eskilson
July 13, 2015

The U.S. U18 Men’s National Team played to a 1-1 draw against Czech Republic on Monday in the NTC Invitational. The U.S. scored first when Sebastian Elney forced an own goal from Czech Republic early in the game. The visitors answered in the second half off a corner kick. 

Czech Republic wraps up the event on Wednesday against Uruguay. A win or draw for Uruguay clinches the tournament title for the South American side. Czech Republic could capture the title with a victory. 

Monday’s game marked the end of a cycle for this 1997 age group. This team transitions to the U20 age group for its next camp while the U18 moniker is bestowed on the 1999 age group. The first event for the 1999 age group is in August in Sweden. 

U.S. U18 MNT 1-1 Czech Republic 

The game started well for the U.S. when Sebastian Elney picked off a lazy pass between Czech Republic defenders. Elney’s speed allowed him to get past his defender and dribble toward the touch line. The Union forward then slowed a touch to allow the teammates to catch up. 

Elney played the ball across the end line, which the Czech Republic goalkeeper made a mess of the save and ended up knocking it into his own net. 

The U.S. dominated the opening half with Haji Wright and Elney having multiple chances on goal, but neither able to convert in breakaway situations against the goalkeeper. 

Czech Republic found the equalizer midway through the second half when the U.S. lost a Czech Republic attacker at the near post. He flicked it into the far post and past Jonathan Klinsmann. 

The U.S. had one good look late when Christian Lucatero hit a shot from outside the box that hit off the crossbar. 

U.S. Starting XI: Jonathan Klinsmann (Strikers FC/California); Pablo Pelaez (San Diego Surf/San Diego State), Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy/UCLA), Mauricio Pineda (Chicago Fire), Malcolm Jones (LA Galaxy/UCLA); James Murphy (PDA), Jackson Yueill (Minnesota Thunder Academy/UCLA), Mukwelle Akale (Villarreal CF); Haji Wright (NY Cosmos), Sebastian Elney (Philadelphia Union/Maryland), Emmanuel Sabbi (Chicago Magic PSG/Akron)

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