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U.S. U-17 Men's National Team Qualifies for World Cup with 4-2 Win against Canada

TIJUANA, Mexico (April 23, 2009) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team defeated Canada 4-2 on Thursday evening to earn a place in the semifinals of the CONCACAF U-17 Championship and one of the region’s four berths to the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

The U.S. is the only country to qualify for every FIFA U-17 World Cup since the tournament’s inception in 1985. Wilmer Cabrera’s team will head to Nigeria for the tournament from Oct. 24-Nov. 15, as 24 teams from around the world converge on the west-African country with a hope of lifting the U-17 World Cup trophy.

The U.S. has a chance to clinch the top spot in Group A with a win or a tie against Honduras on Saturday, April 25, at 4 p.m. PT. Fans can follow Saturday’s game live from Estadio Caliente in Tijuana, Mexico, on’s MatchTracker at 4 p.m. PT.

"We succeeded in qualifying based on the results of the two games and we have played well, both individually and as a team," said Cabrera. "We are the first qualified team but we want to get to the final of this tournament.”

“We will continue to work and we have an important game against Honduras that is the game that will decide who will be first in the group. Honduras is going to be playing to qualify, therefore it should be a very intense game."

Jack McInerney once again took control of the offense, netting two more goals to take his tally to four in two games, a tournament high. McInerney’s first goal was a penalty kick in just the second minute and the forward added a highlight-reel goal in the 30th minute to help the U.S. to a 2-0 lead. The U.S. took a 3-0 halftime lead on Sebastian Lletget’s second goal of the tournament and rounded out the scoring with a second-half goal from substitute Joseph Gyau.

McInerney’s first goal came via the penalty spot, after defender Eriq Zavaleta was fouled early in the game. The 6-foot 1-inch defender was in the box for a corner kick where he was pulled down by defender Francesco Augustin. Referee Paul Delgadillo did not hesitate to point to the spot, and McInerney hit his shot high to give the Canadian goalkeeper no chance.

With the lead the U.S. took full control of the first half, giving up very few dangerous chances while keeping the attack at full throttle. In the 30th minute, McInerney received the ball from Alex Shinsky in what looked to be a harmless position just inside the attacking half. The Georgia native took two touches forward, looked up and hit a laser from 30 yards that went perfectly into the upper corner.

The audacious effort caught the defense completely off guard, and Richard Causton in the Canada goal could do absolutely nothing to prevent McInerney from celebrating his second goal on the day and fourth of the tournament thus far.

Shinsky, who was credited with an assist on the second goal, caused problems for the Canadian defense all night on the left wing. However, the feisty midfielder will be forced to sit out Saturday’s game against Honduras after receiving his second yellow card of the tournament.

Four minutes later Lletget scored for the second-consecutive game, nodding home a well-placed header from close range. Luis Gil crossed the ball in front of the goal mouth where Lletget jumped above his defender and arced the ball over the goalkeeper with his head, placing it just inside the near post. The well placed pass marked Gil’s third assist of the tournament.

After halftime Canada turned up the pressure in search of something positive on offense. While the U.S. was trying to possess the ball in the midfield, Canada was successful on the counterattack, creating a number of opportunities before finally breaking through in the 70th minute. Francesco Augustin’s long throw-in found, Janiel Hoilett in the U.S. penalty box, and the Canada forward did well to hold off Zavaleta. Holiett turned quickly before firing a low shot that sneaked past goalkeeper Earl Edwards to make the game 3-1.

Cabrera made his third and final substitution in the 84th minute, bringing on Gyau for Gil. The change paid immediate dividends, with Gyau netting the fourth U.S. goal just seconds after entering the game.

Tyler Polak sent in a driven cross on a free kick that led to a scramble in front of the goal. Canada only half cleared the ball and Gyau pounced on it, lashing a shot at goal from 12 yards. A Canada defender attempted to clear the ball but his efforts proved to be in vain as the referee ruled correctly the ball had already crossed the line. It was an immediate impact for the substitute Gyau, who scored with his first touch of the game.

Canada wasted no time cutting the lead back to two, and in less than a minute later they capitalized on a U.S. mistake.  A deep punt by Causton asked questions of the U.S. defense and Jared Watts' header under pressure was too weak to reach Edwards. Canada’s Coulton Jackson latched onto the miscue and finished confidently on the full volley, placing the ball past a stranded Edwards in the U.S. goal.

Canada, who drew Honduras 1-1 in its opening game, is still alive in the tournament, needing a win against Cuba on Saturday and a U.S. win against Honduras to have a chance of advancing to Nigeria. Cuba, who lost 6-0 to Honduras this afternoon, was mathematically eliminated from contention.

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team vs. Canada
Date: April 23, 2009
Competition: CONCACAF Under-17 Championship
Venue: Estadio Caliente; Tijuana, Mexico
Kickoff: 4 p.m. PT
Attendance: TBA
Weather: 90 degrees, clear

Scoring Summary:    1    2    F
USA                             3    1    4
CAN                             0    2    2

USA – Jack McInerney (penalty)               2nd minute
USA – Jack McInerney (Alex Shinsky)      30
USA – Sebastian Lletget (Luis Gil)            39
CAN – Jaineil Hoilett                                  71
USA – Joseph Gyau (Eriq Zavaleta)          85
CAN – Coulton Jackson                             86

USA: 1-Earl Edwards; 3-Tyler Polak, 6-Jared Watts, 2-Eriq Zavaleta, 4-Perry Kitchen; 8-Alex Shinksy, 5-Marlon Duran, 20-Sebastian Lletget (15-Carlos Martinez, 76), 10-Luis Gil (13-Joseph Gyau, 84); 7-Stefan Jerome (17-Juan Agudelo, 65), 9-Jack McInerney
Subs not used: 11-Dustin Corea, 14-Zachary Herold, 18-Spencer Richey, 16-Nicholas Palodichuk
Subs not available: 12-Emilio Orozco, 19-Andrew Craven
Head Coach: Wilmer Cabrera

CAN: 1-Richard Causton, 2-Hugo Lapointe-Senecal (14-Coulton Jackson, 65), 3-Feras Samain, 4-Francesco Augustin, 5-Derrick Bassi, 7-Jonathan Lao (13-Brennan McNicoll, 70), 8-Janeil Hoilett, 11-Russell Teibert (capt.), 12-Kevin Cobby, 19-Justin Maheu, 20-Karl Oumette
Subs not used: 9-Jordan Ongaro, 10-Sylla Abdoulaye, 16-Caolan Lavery, 18-Ezequiel Lubocki, 22-Garrett Cyprus
Subs not available: 6-Felix Cardin, 15-Amine Meftouh
Head Coach: Sean Fleming

Stats Summary: USA / CAN
Shots: 14 / 4
Shots on Goal: 8 / 3
Saves: 1 / 4
Corner Kicks: 8 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Perry Kitchen (caution)       18th minute
USA – Alex Shinsky (caution)         85

Referee: Paul Delgadillo (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Marcos Mejia (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Mark Sullivan (JAM)
Fourth Official: Francisco Chacon (MEX) Man of the Match:
Jack McInerney