JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – The New England Revolution Under-17 squad played its first game of the 2012 Future Champions Gauteng tournament on Monday afternoon, only one day after the 18-hour trip from Boston. The Revolution’s U17 team – composed only of players from its Under-16 team, making it one of the youngest participants – suffered a 3-0 loss to South African side the Orlando Pirates in a match played at an altitude of more than 5,000 ft.
The Pirates came out flying from the first whistle, and while the Revolution matched their energy early on, the home side generated more chances in the opening 15 minutes of play. Goalkeeper Matt Mozynski (Bellingham, Mass.) was called into action in the fourth minute, making one save and ushering several other shots wide soon after. Amadu Kunateh (Salem, Mass.) saw his curling shot skirt around the upper right corner in the 13th minute, marking New England’s best chance to that point.
Back-to-back goals by the Orlando Pirates, scored by Siyanda Ngcobo in the 20th minute and Nhalonipho Ntuli in the 21st, put New England in a hole before end of the half. The Revs continued to fight, earning a corner kick in the 28th minute. Zach Herivaux (Brookline, Mass.) took the corner short, finding Christian Sady (North Andover, Mass.), whose powerful shot soared wide right.
On the other side of the break, New England created an early chance when Kunateh moved the ball up the left, working hard to find Gabe Gissie (Worcester, Mass.) and Guy Kabala (Manchester, N.H.) out in front. Turning to face the goal, the pair combined to fire a shot wide. The effects of jetlag and altitude began to show shortly after, and the Pirates capitalized in the 47th minute, stretching their lead to three goals. The South Africans nearly scored again in the 60th minute, but were denied by defender Greg Forgue’s (Lincoln, R.I.) goal-line clearance.
The Under-17s play their second group game on Tuesday, March 27, against SAFA School of Excellence (South Africa) – who play K-Stars (Zambia) tonight – at 7:45 a.m. ET.
2012 Future Champions Gauteng
New England Revolution U17s vs. Orlando Pirates U17s
Monday, March 26, 2012 – Soweto, South Africa (Nike Football Training Center)
Pirates 3, Revolution 0
OP – Siyanda Ngcobo 20
OP – Nhalonipho Ntuli 21
OP – Siyanda Ngcobo 47
New England Revolution: Matthew Mozynski (GK), Erik Martel, Will Szostkiewicz, Matthew Cooper, Christian Sady, Declan McCabe (Matthew Nyeayea 31), Ryan Kingsley (Guy Kabala 31), Danny Apajee (Kevin Herrera 55), Zach Herivaux (Greg Forgue 54), Amadu Kunateh (Casey Schehl 48), Gabe Gissie
Unused substitutes: David Hepp (GK), Luke Albertini
OP – Ulrich Moulounmianagana (caution) 23
OP – Thulasizwe Kubheka (caution) 58