U.S. U-23s eliminated with loss to Ivory Coast

May 23, 2008

TOULON, France -- The U.S. U-23 men's national team dropped its second game of the Toulon International Tournament to Ivory Coast, 1-0 Friday in La Seyne, France.

The lone goal came after defender Tony Beltran fouled Nassa Niangbo in the penalty box. Djakpa, Ivory Coast's captain, stepped up and converted from the spot for the eventual game-winner.

The U.S. is in fourth place in Group B, behind Italy (six points), Ivory Coast (three points) and Turkey (three points), and will look to rebound in its final game of the tournament on Sunday, May 25 against Italy.

U.S. Under-23 head coach Peter Nowak used an almost entirely different lineup from the team's first match against Turkey, with Lee Nguyen the only returning starter.

"It was a new group that played today, and as I said before the last game we want to have a look at everybody," said Nowak. "Today was another chance to see the players in action and to see how the new players have developed. We're looking at what's going to happen in July and August and this is one of the times that we're going to look at all the players and make the right decisions."

With zero points from the first two games and last place in the group, the U.S. cannot advance to the semifinals, even with a victory against Italy.