6 Jun 2015

Junior All Whites disappointed with big loss

5:12 am on 6 June 2015

The New Zealand men's under-20 football coach Darren Bazeley admits their 4-0 loss to the United States in Albany the World Cup is a letdown for his side.

Junior All Whites players looking dejected after their heavy loss to the United States.

Junior All Whites players looking dejected after their heavy loss to the United States. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Americans, who top their group with two wins, were a class above the New Zealanders, creating numerous chances with the Arsenal playmaker Gedion Zelalem at the heart of the effort.

The New Zealand side's best moments came in transition as they counter attacked at pace but regular scoring chances were hard to come by until the final 15 minutes where the home side went close on several occasions without hitting the back of the USA net.

Bazeley says the result is a let-down for his side against another strong opponent after Saturday's increasingly energetic display against the Ukraine to open the tournament.

He says they had high hopes going into this game. They'd done a lot of planning on the USA and they felt the team was ready to go and put on a good performance.

Bazeley says against a team like the USA, once they go 1-0 up, they've got some very good players and that made it very hard for us to get into the game and it gradually went away from them with the USA putting on a very good performance.

Bazeley added that with the likes of Zelalem leading the effort against his team, lapses in concentration were always going to be punished.

The United States took a sixth minute lead when Rubio Rubin volleyed in the rebound after an Emerson Hyndman corner was headed against the post by Cameron Carter-Vickers. Seconds earlier, New Zealand goalkeeper Oliver Sail had punched over a fierce 25 yard drive from Paul Arriola.

The Americans when 2-0 up in the 33rd minute as a long clearance downfield by USA goalkeeper Zackary Steffen was flicked into the New Zealand area where Sail, under pressure from Rubio, parried the ball into the path of Hyndman and the USA skipper made no mistake in burying his chance from the edge of the box.

The United States went 3-0 ahead just before the hour, Arriola receiving between defenders from Zelalem before turning and firing in off the post out of the reach of a diving Sail.

The New Zealand side's best chances of the match came in the final stages; first as substitute Monty Patterson cut the ball back from the byline for Noah Billingsley who found Bill Tuiloma - but the captain's low drive flew just wide.

Tuiloma followed that up soon after with a header from a corner which was just over and then Billingsley hit an excellent effort from distance which Steffen expertly saved low to his left.

Rubin then added the fourth for the United States, prodding home from close range after nipping in between defenders on the end of a deflected cross.

Bazeley says despite the disappointment of the defeat, the group will remain focused on achieving what they set out to do - win a game at the event and qualify for the next round.

New Zealand will need at least a draw - and likely a win - in their final group match against Myanmar in Wellington on Friday to keep their hopes alive of qualifying for the knockout stage of the tournament.

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