Marc Pelosi Nets Eventual Game-Winner in Extra Time after Alejandro Guido and Mario Rodriguez Had Given U.S. Two Leads
U.S. Will Face Winner of Jamaica-Honduras in Semifinal on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. ET
The U.S. Continue Streak as Only Nation to Have Qualified for Every FIFA U-17 World Cup
MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (Feb. 22, 2011) – A goal in the 112th minute by Marc Pelosi proved decisive as the United States collected a hard-fought 3-2 win against El Salvador in the quarterfinals of the 2011 CONCACAF Under-17 Championship.
With the win, the U.S. qualified for its 14th consecutive FIFA U-17 World Cup, continuing the record of being the only nation to qualify for every edition of the event. The U.S. moves into the semifinal where they will face the winner of the Jamaica-Honduras quarterfinal set for Wednesday. The semifinal will be shown live on ESPN Deportes and ESPN3 on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. ET.
“Overall I’m happy with the personality and determination that the players showed on the field,” said U.S. head coach Wilmer Cabrera. “It’s a good win for us. We’re in the World Cup. We came here to prove what we can accomplish in three games and we made it to the World Cup. Now we’re one of the four top teams and tomorrow we’ll think about what’s next.”
Alejandro Guido scored first for the United States in the fourth minute, but regulation ended 1-1 heading into the 30-minute extra time. Mario Rodriguez gave the U.S. the lead five minutes into extra time followed by Pelosi’s winner. A late El Salvador penalty wasn’t enough to keep the USA out of the semifinals.
A fast-paced first half saw numerous swift attacks from both teams, the U.S. slightly ahead in earning quality scoring chances. But it was El Salvador who got the first good look of the contest just three minutes in when Ivan Castro led a numbers up advantage through the center of the U.S. defense, forcing ‘keeper Fernando Piña off his line to snuff out the early chance.
The U.S. struck first off the head of Guido. Joe Amon got the ball back from his own throw in and curled a cross to the top of the six that cleared the Salvadoran defenders and found Guido, who snapped a near-post header for his first goal of the tournament.
Five minutes later it was El Salvador’s turn, once again finding space up the middle. Romel Mejia threaded a nifty pass to Castro, who forwarded on to Jose Pena. After two touches to keep his open space, he fired low past Piña to the far post.
The U.S. created its best opportunities by using the speed of Alfred Koroma, Andrew Oliver and Pelosi and through quick ball movement forward from defense to attack. On the quarter hour, a nice buildup put Koroma through down the right flank. His searching ball across the area skipped just out of the reach of Oliver.
Oliver nearly put the U.S. ahead in the 20th minute, using his pace to run past his mark on the left side before cutting in towards goal. He tried to slip a low ball past Rolando Morales, the goalkeeper making a kick save that was nonetheless ruled a goal kick.
El Salvador got their own chance to pull ahead in the 37th minute after a failed clearance attempt from U.S. captain Andrew Souders allowed Pena to enter the box unchallenged, but Amon was quick to the rescue and slid to block the striker’s attempt on goal.
Action continued as the first half wore on, and one minute later the U.S. got a sweet look on goal after Guido delivered a great cross into the area that was too tall for Oliver. Pelosi stood at the ready, knocking the cross down and one-hopping a shot that was denied by the crossbar. The U.S. had one more chance before the half concluded, Guido forcing Morales to parry over the bar after redirecting a free kick from Pelosi.
The U.S. started the second half with a bit more of the initiative, still trying to find ways through the Salvadoran midfield. In the 54th minute, Guido played a quick ball down the left flank to Oliver off a U.S. free kick. The striker had three U.S. attackers lurking in the box, but Morales was first to the ball.
A lightning quick counter in the 64th minute signaled El Salvador’s resurgence in the match, going end-to-end with two passes. A nice dummy by Castro gave Pena a good look at goal, the forward trying to be clever and use the outside of his left foot to go near post, but Piña got low to make a fine save.
Play started to even out as El Salvador picked up their energy level and began to win more balls in the midfield. The commitment showed on the disciplinary report as well, with four yellow cards issued in a span of seven minutes.
In the 81st minute the U.S. got a tantalizing look, Pelosi sending a teasing ball swinging away from the ‘keeper at the six-yard box. Oliver was slicing across the area but couldn’t quite get the first touch. Three minutes later, Matt Dunn had a great chip over the top into the area, Oliver hitting full stride only to have Oliver Ayala slide in to save the day.
One minute into added time, El Salvador nearly got a breakaway countering off a U.S. corner, but Amon came blazing back on a recovery run to stifle the attack. The teams ended regulation tied at one, forcing two 15-minute extra time periods to determine a winner.
The U.S. pulled ahead in the 95th minute, getting in behind the Salvadoran defense on the left flank as they had throughout the match. As Pelosi closed in on goal, he cleverly disguised a pass across, freezing the ‘keeper. Rodriguez was streaking to the far post, and calmly connected into the open net.
The goal took the wind out of El Salvador’s sails, and the U.S. took advantage in the 112th minute to seal the victory. Looked after by two defenders inside the right corner of the area, Guido split the pair and drove a low cross to the near post where Pelosi used his left foot to guide the ball home.
While the terms appeared to be settled, things got interesting in the closing minutes. In the 113th minute, defender Kellyn Acosta picked up his second yellow of the match and will now be suspended for the semifinal.
One minute later, U.S. goalkeeper Piña rose high to collect a ball in the box and struck team captain Diego Galdamez in the chest with his leg, and Pena immediately retaliated by pushing Piña to the ground. The referee signaled for a penalty and issued both players red cards, forcing the U.S. to insert backup goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh as their third substitute. El Salvador’s Gerardo Iraheta converted the ensuing penalty, and with nine men the U.S. were able to run out the clock.
-- U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team Game Report --
Match-up: U.S. U-17 MNT vs. El Salvador
Date: Feb. 22, 2011
Competition: CONCACAF Under-17 Championship
Venue: Catherine Hall Stadium; Montego Bay, Jamaica
Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET
Weather: 80 degrees, sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 OT1 OT2 F
USA 1 0 1 1 3
SLV 1 0 0 1 2
USA – Alejandro Guido (Joe Amon) 4th minute
SLV – Jose Peña (Ivan Castro) 9
USA – Mario Rodriguez (Marc Pelosi) 95
USA – Marc Pelosi (Alejandro Guido) 112
SLV – Gerardo Iraheta (penalty) 120
USA: 1-Fernando Piña; 12-Joe Amon, 2-Andrew Souders (capt.), 6-Mobi Fehr, 3-Kellyn Acosta; 8-Esteban Rodriguez, 5-Matt Dunn, 10-Alejandro Guido (18-Kendall McIntosh, 119), 11-Marc Pelosi; 7-Alfred Koroma (9-Mario Rodriguez, 80), 16-Andrew Oliver (17-Zach Carroll, 114)
Subs: 4-Nathan Smith, 13-Dillon Serna, 14-Tarik Salkicic, 19-Jack McBean
Subs not available: 25-Jordan Allen, 20-Paul Arriola
Head Coach: Wilmer Cabrera
SLV: 1-1-Rolando Morales; 3-Victor Zelaya, 6-Brayan Landaverde, 8-Diego Galdamez (capt.), 9-Jose Peña, 11-Ivan Castro (14-Alvaro Lizama, 98), 13-Romel Mejia (5-Jose Villavicenio, 75), 15-Oliver Ayala, 16-Kevin Barahona, 17-Gerardo Iraheta, 19-Giovanny Zavaleta (2-Gilberto Pena, 59)
Subs not used: 18-Wilberth Hernandez, 4-Nelson Zelaya, 10-Eder Polanco, 12-Moises Mejia
Subs not available: 20-Saul Varela, 22-Luis Medina
Head Coach: Victor Pacheco
Stats Summary: USA / SLV
Shots: 18 / 6
Shots on Goal: 7 / 4
Saves: 2 / 4
Corner Kicks: 9 / 2
Fouls: 24 / 28
Offside: 2 / 2
SLV - Ivan Castro (caution) 11th minute
SLV - Giovanny Zavaleta (caution) 30
SLV - Gerardo Iraheta (caution) 48
SLV - Diego Galdamez (caution) 70
SLV - Gilberto Pena (caution) 74
USA – Kellyn Acosta (caution) 75
USA – Matt Dunn (caution) 77
USA – Mario Rodriguez (caution) 90
USA – Esteban Rodriguez (caution) 110
USA – Kellyn Acosta (caution) 113
USA – Kellyn Acosta (sent off) 113
SLV – Jose Pena (sent off) 116
USA – Fernando Pina (sent off) 118
Referee: Valdin Legister (JAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Kedle Powell (JAM)
Assistant Referee 2: Graeme Brown (SKN)
Fourth Official: Paul Ward (CAN)