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Impressive Fulham Rains on U-17 Parade

last updated Tuesday 12th August 2003, 9:31 AM
D.C. United U-17 Boys played their third game on Saturday against Fulham, their final game in London before heading up to the north of England on their European tour. It wasn't to be a victorious send-off to London as the impressive Fulham outfit proved too good with a classy display to win 6-1.

The Fulham performance was fluent, precise and incisive play of a high caliber.

D.C. United Coach Todd Hitt commented on Fulham: "Fulham was the best team we have ever played, with some excellent individual and team play. Their finishing, especially in the first half, was another level. The step-up in standard was particularly noticeable in their play in front of goal. In a 20 minute period we gave-up six chances, four of which they buried. This a key difference compared with US Soccer, because we were punished for the merest mistake."
The heat was intense at the state of the art Motspur Park. As the players took to the field surrounded by the Fulham senior 1st team, the reserves and the women's professional team all training, the DC players were confident after two solid performances in the days leading up to this game.

After an even first 10 minutes, United became second best to a Fulham outfit that fielded three England national youth players, two of which linked up to score the first goal after 12 minutes after some sloppy distribution out of the back by United. Fulham was "a new level for us" quoted Hitt and the following 25 minutes they showed why. An additional three goals were scored before half time with a brace from a new striker recently discovered in the Welsh junior leagues meant that the game was sealed for Fulham by the half.

Hitt continued: "Our players were tired today, but they were also naïve in the way they went about the game, especially in the first half. We chased the game in areas we should have allowed them to have possession as they had the ability to play around and through us when we committed ourselves. Our passing was extremely sloppy as we played-out from the back and Fulham punished our mistakes."

In the second half, it would have been easy for United to have really rolled-over, but a few tactical changes and a decision to slow the tempo of the game saw the Black-and-Red make a good showing in the second half, and once again proved their mental maturity. With an advanced striker now in position, it allowed the visitors to start stretching the Fulham defence more and asked a few more questions of their back four. They limited Fulham to two more goals and in a final 10 minutes, of which they dominated, they managed to snatch a consolation with a precise free-kick by Chris Carroll headed home by Ian Taylor, which meant that the second half finished 2-1 to Fulham.

Technical Director Richie Burke said: "The Fulham staff were excellent in the way they welcomed us and how they went about the occasion, especially the seriousness with which they approached the game. Their facility is magnificent and was ideal for ISOS to arrange a game for us here. The Fulham staff were interested in our pioneering academy developments and I would like to extend a big thank you to Dave Burke and all the staff at Fulham for the game and hospitality."
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