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UNDER-20 SOCCER

Seitz saves the day for U.S. in opener

July 01, 2007|From the Associated Press

Columbus Crew midfielder Danny Szetela scored on a 16th-minute header and Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Chris Seitz made five saves Saturday in the United States' 1-1 draw with South Korea in the Under-20 World Cup opener for both teams at Montreal.

"I think [Seitz] was pretty huge for us today," U.S. Coach Thomas Rongen said. "He kept us in the game and got us a point."

After Szetela's header off Sal Zizzo's cross, the South Koreans equalized in the 38th minute on a goal by Shin Young-rok and finished with a 13-7 advantage in shots.

The U.S. took the lead after defender Tony Beltran blocked what looked to be a sure goal by Shin. Zizzo led the counter down the right side and sent a cross that bounced once before Szetela dived to drive a header into the net.

The goal appeared to energize the South Koreans, who created several chances, the best by Shim Young-sung in the 25th minute, which forced Seitz to make a diving grab.

The South Korean pressure paid off when Shim slipped the ball through the penalty area to a streaking Shin, whose sliding kick beat an onrushing Seitz.

Shim nearly gave South Korea the lead early in the second half, driving past two U.S. defenders before hitting a 20-yard shot off the far post.

The Americans' best chance to score in the second half came off a play by Freddy Adu, who dribbled into the penalty area and set up Julian Valentin.

His shot was blocked by South Korean defender Ki Sung-yueng.

The draw left Group D wide open entering Tuesday's games, when the U.S. will face Poland and South Korea will take on Brazil.

*

In other games at Montreal, Poland shocked favored Brazil, 1-0, on a first-half goal by defender Grzegorz Krychowiak, and North Korea and Panama battled to a 0-0 draw.

In Ottawa, five-time champion Argentina was held to a 0-0 draw by the Czech Republic.

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