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U.S. U-17 MNT Wins Group C with 1-0 Victory Against Guatemala

  • Midfielder Corey Baird's Second Half Goal Enough for All Three Points in Panama City
  • U.S. U-17 MNT Faces Group D Runner-Up Honduras or Mexico on Sunday, April 14, at 6 p.m. ET; Match to be Broadcast Live on FOX Soccer and Univision Deportes

PANAMA CITY, Panama (April 11, 2013) ­ The U.S. Under-17 Men¹s National Team won Group C of the 2013 CONCACAF U-17 Championship after defeating Guatemala 1-0 at Estadio Rommel Fernández on Thursday. Midfielder Corey Baird scored the game's only goal off an assist from forward Rubio Rubin.

As the top seed from Group C, the USA heads into the all-important quarterfinal stage and will face the Group D runner-up, which will be either Mexico or Honduras, who play later tonight. Mexico entered that match needing a draw or win to take first place in Group D.

The U.S. U-17 MNT’s quarterfinal match kicks off at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 14, at Estadio Rommel Fernández. The game will be broadcast live on FOX Soccer and Univision Deportes. Fans can also follow on ussoccer.com¹s MatchTracker and via Twitter @ussoccer_ynt .

Few chances were exchanged in the opening half hour, with both teams trying to find their way into the game. Guatemala generated their first real opportunity in the 26th minute, but defender Conor Donovan took up an excellent position to block a shot from 12 yards.

The USA's first major sniff at goal came in the 39th minute when Rubin tested the Guatemala goalkeeper Nicholas Hagen. The U.S. winger sidestepped his man in the area before unleashing a fierce shot that Hagen saved well, diving low to his left.

Moments later forward Ahinga Selemani tested the waters when he turned on the edge of the area and cracked a 20 yard drive, but Hagen was equal to the task. Just before halftime, Soñora drew another save out of Guatemala's ‘keeper, with a curling effort from 18 yards that Hagen tipped over the bar to ensure the match was scoreless at the break.

The USA took the lead in the 49th minute when Rubin skipped by his defender and then lifted a left-footed cross over Hagen to the far post. Baird was positioned perfectly to side foot the ball home on the full volley into the empty net and provide the USA a lead they would not relinquish.

Guatemala nearly got back into the match in the 62nd minute. Mario Hernandez was first to react to a cross at the far post but he headed his effort over the goal from a close angle.

In the 72nd minute Rubin, now out on the right, curled in another delightful cross to the far post that was just slightly too far for midfielder Junior Flores. Despite the effort, the midfielder failed to make good contact with his sliding, one-timed shot.

Guatemala had a quality chance for the equalizer in the 88th minute when Christopher Ortiz cut in on his left foot and unleashed a shot on goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell, but the U.S. ‘keeper was able to make the save – his only of the match.

Additional Notes:

  • Head coach Richie Williams had two starting lineup changes following the USA’s 3-0 victory against Haiti on April 7 to open Group C play. He also made three changes in the game, brining on Tyler Turner for Christopher Lema in the 71st minute, Angel Heredia for Corey Baird in the 78th minute, and Sebastian Elney for Ahinga Selemani 83rd minute.
  • Midfielder Christopher Lema earned a yellow card that will carry over into the next round
  • Midfielder Joel Soñora made his first international start for the U-17s. He came off the bench in three matches in 2012 and was a second-half sub against Haiti.
  • Forward Junior Flores started on the left side of the USA’s 4-3-3 formation. Flores started in 14 of 18 games played in 2012, recording a goal and an assist in 1,201 minutes.
  • Seven players on the USA’s starting lineup Thursday had ties to the Development Academy, including five players who are currently registered with Academy clubs.
  • Midfielder Christopher Lema and goalkeeper Evan Louro were members of the New York Red Bulls team that won the program’s first U-15/16 Finals Week crown on July 23, 2012.
  • The USA moved to 4-0-0 against Guatemala in CONCACAF Youth Tournaments and Championships in this age group.
  • On Wednesday, two quarterfinal matchups were set in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship. Group A winner Panama will face Group B runner-up Trinidad & Tobago. Group B winner Canada takes on Group A runner-up Jamaica. Both quarterfinal games are Saturday at Estadio Agustín Sánchez in Panamá Province.
  • The roster consists of 19 players who are members of the U.S. U-17 Residency Program. The only player not part of the Residency Program is midfielder Joel Soñora, who plays for Boca Juniors in Argentina and is the son of three-time Major League Soccer All-Star Diego Soñora.

-U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team Match Report-

Match: U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team vs. Guatemala
Date: April 11, 2013
Competition: 2013 CONCACAF U-17 Championship; Group C
Venue: Estadio Rommel Fernández; Panama City, Panama
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. ET
Attendance: --
Weather: 87 degrees, partly cloudy

Scoring Summary:   1          2          F
USA                           0          1          1
GUA                           0          0          0

USA – Corey Baird (Rubio Rubin)                   49th minute 

USA: 1-Jeff Caldwell; 2-Shaquell Moore (capt.), 4-Tommy Redding, 5-Conor Donovan, 3-John Requejo Jr.; 8-Christopher Lema (6-Tyler Turner, 72), 19-Joel Soñora, 10-Corey Baird(18-Angel Heredia, 78); 20-Junior Flores, 9-Ahinga Selemani (17-Sebastian Elney, 83), 7-Rubio Rubin
Subs Not Used:, 11-Alan Winn, 12-Evan Louro, 13-Peter Schropp, 14-Justen Glad, 15-Mukwelle Akale, 16-Elijah Martin
Head Coach: Richie Williams

GUA: 1-Nicholas Hagen; 3-Allen Yanes, 4-Derian Ramirez, 5-Gabriel Perez (20-Sebastian Arana, 35)(13-Diego Ruano, 80), 7-Christopher Ortiz, 8-Diego Meda, 10-Luis Samayoa (18-Jose Vigil, 77), 11-Mario Hernandez, 14-Jose Ruiz (capt.), 15-Marvin Rivera, 16-Kenndell Curup
Subs Not Used: 2-Wilson Garcia, 6-Edwin Flores, 9-Emiliano Menendez, 12-Pablo Flores, 17-Elias Hernandez, , 19-Jair Espinoza, 20-Sebastian Arana
Head Coach: Juan Manuel Funes

Stats Summary: USA / GUA
Shots: 10 / 10
Shots on Goal: 6 / 1
Saves: 1 / 5
Corner Kicks: 10 / 4
Fouls: 15 / 14
Offside: 0 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Chris Lema (caution)                          63rd minute
GUA – Derian Ramirez (caution)                   86

Referee: Henry Bejarano (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Geovany Garcia (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: Ainsley Rochard (TRI)
Fourth Official: William Anderson (PUR) Man of the Match: Conor Donovan