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U.S. Drawn into Group B with Panama and Suriname for 2011 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Guatemala

  • Top Two Teams in Group B Advance to Quarterfinal Match against Group A Opponents 
  • Four Semifinalists in 12-Team Event Will Qualify for 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup From July 29-August 20 in Colombia
  • U.S. to Face Suriname on March 29 and Panama on April 2

CHICAGO (Feb. 11, 2010) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team has been drawn into Group B of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship along with Panama and Suriname. The tournament, which serves as CONCACAF qualifying for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, will be held from March 28-April 10 in Guatemala.

The U.S. will face Suriname in its first group game on March 29 at 8 p.m. ET and conclude the initial stage of the tournament against Panama on April 2 at 6 p.m. ET. The event will be divided between the Estadio Nacional Mateo Flores, a 30,000-capacity venue used for Guatemala national team matches, and the 16,000-seat Estadio Cementos Progreso, which serves as home to Guatemalan club Comunicaciones.

The top two teams in each of the four groups will advance to the all-important quarterfinal round, with the four quarterfinal winners advancing to the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup that will take place from July 29-Aug. 20 in Colombia. Should the U.S. advance through the group phase, they will play one of the top two finishers in Group A, which is made up of Guatemala, Honduras and Jamaica.

The U.S. will be looking to advance to their eighth consecutive FIFA U-20 World Cup, and 13th overall.

“We are very excited to learn our opponents so we can now focus on the final stages of getting ready for the tournament,” said U.S. Under-20 head coach Thomas Rongen. “There are no easy groups, and obviously the quarterfinal match is critical for our goal of reaching the FIFA U-20 World Cup. The teams that advance out of our group are looking at three potentially strong opponents in the host team, Honduras and Jamaica, so we know it will be a big challenge. We are very pleased with our preparations up to this point, and we are looking forward to a great event in Guatemala.”

Panama advanced to the final round of qualifying after going undefeated in their three-team group in the Central American preliminary round, which was held in Panama in November of last year. The Panamanians posted consecutive 1-0 shutouts against Costa Rica and Nicaragua to win Triangular 1 and progress to next month’s event in Guatemala.

Suriname reached the tournament as the final qualifier from the Caribbean Zone, having hosted and won the second round of qualifying from that region after going undefeated against Bermuda, Guyana and Netherlands Antilles. Those teams were the second-place finishers in their groups in the first round, earning them one more chance to qualify for the CONCACAF U-20 Championship.

The U.S. received an automatic berth to the final round of qualifying along with Canada, Mexico and host Guatemala.

The U.S. topped Group A in 2009 qualifying and advanced to the semifinals behind two wins against Jamaica and El Salvador and a draw with Honduras. With three teams advancing to the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the U.S. defeated host Trinidad & Tobago in a penalty shootout to secure a berth to Egypt. Costa Rica topped Rongen’s side 3-0 in the championship, but the team had already booked a place in its seventh-consecutive FIFA U-20 World Cup.

In Egypt, the U.S. narrowly missed the knock-out phase after finishing third in the tournament’s difficult Group C.

The 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup is slated for eight cities across Colombia: Armenia, Barranquilla, Bogota, Cali, Cartagena, Manizales, Medellin and Periera.

Group A

Group B

Group C
Costa Rica

Group D
Trinidad & Tobago