Gregorio Nets Game-Winning Penalty Kick For U-23s
Jan. 23, 2003
UCLA junior midfielder Adolfo Gregorio (Hilmar, CA) earned his first U-23 cap in grand fashion, scoring the winning penalty kick goal in the U.S. Under-23 National Team's victory over Russia at the Vale do Tejo International Tournament in Portugal on Wednesday. The U.S. defeated Russia in penalty kicks, 4-1, after playing to a 1-1 tie in regulation. With the victory, the U.S. advanced to Thursday's tournament final, where it will face Portugal.
The U.S. converted all four penalty kick attempts in the shootout. Alecko Eskandarian, Jose Burciaga and Kelly Gray hit the first three shots for the U.S., while former UCLA goalkeeper DJ Countess saved the second and third attempts of the Russians. Gregorio netted the fourth and clinching penalty kick for the U.S.
The U.S. began its five-game tour of Portugal with exhibitions against reserve teams from Portugal's First Division, posting a 1-1-1 record in three consecutive games last week. After dropping the first match 3-1 to the Sporting Lisbon reserves on Jan. 14, the U.S. rebounded to tie Benfica reserves 0-0 on Jan. 15 and shut out Santarem District 2-0 in the third match on Jan. 16.
The Under-23's trip abroad represents their first gathering in 2003. The U.S. will next travel to Ft. Lauderdale from Feb. 21-March 2 to compete against MLS teams, as well as the U.S. Under-20 MNT, as part of the MLS pre-season. The U.S. is preparing for this summer's 2003 Pan Am Games, which take place in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, from Aug. 1-17 and serve as a pre-cursor to the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.
In other U.S. Soccer news, five former Bruins were called up to the National Team to train for matches against Argentina and Jamaica. Included in the 23-man roster are goalkeepers Kevin Hartman (1995-96) and Nick Rimando (1997-99); defender Carlos Bocanegra (1997-99), who netted his first international goal last Saturday against Canada; and midfielders Pete Vagenas (1996-99) and Sasha Victorine (1996-99).
Also, former Bruin goalkeeper Brad Friedel (1990-92) was selected by U.S. Soccer as the 2002 Chevy Male Athlete of the Year. Friedel is the third Bruin ever to receive this award, joining Paul Caligiuri (1986) and Cobi Jones (1998).