MICHAEL ADUBATO - Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Making amends for a sub-par performance in the opening game of the FIFA U20 World Cup, the United States steamrolled Poland courtesy of a Freddy Adu hat trick, Danny Szetela brace and a Jozy Altidore strike.
Having struggled against South Korea and lucky to get away with a point, Thomas Rongen's young guns dominated Poland, who were coming off a shock win over Brazil days earlier.
Although Poland drew first blood five minutes into the game with a Dawid Janczyk strike, it only took Szetela a few minutes to level the score and start the Americans' schooling of the eastern Europeans in the art of soccer, as he rippled the net with a 15-yard header.
Captain Adu scored the first of his three in the 20th minute after some fancy footwork where he forced his way into the box after a crisp Sal Zizzo pass picked him out. The Real Salt Laker spun around the defender and let loose a curler that found the inside of the far post.
Adu hit his second in first half stoppage time, again from a Zizzo assist which followed a near-full field run after having thieving the ball deep in his own end. The youngster spotted Adu wide open on the edge of the 18-yard box and left his captain to do the rest as the whistle blew with the Americans up 3-1 at the half.
Seven minutes after the restart, Szetela picked up his second after defender Anthony Wallace played him through the Polish defense and watched as Szetela ran onto the ball and slotted it past Bartosz Bialkowski.
Altidore got in on the goal scoring act by getting on the end of Robbie Rogers first of two assists in a 16 minute time span. Rogers' cross into the box was deflected by the keeper and it fell kindly for Altidore. The young man only had to tap it into the wide-open goal.
With five minutes remaining, Adu added to the embarrassment of the opponents by beating Bialkowski to the ball and sliding it past him for the hat trick and the much needed American victory.
The very convincing win puts the US at the top of Group D and in pole position to advance to the next round. A tie against second place Brazil on Friday will be enough for the US to extend their stay in Canada.