The U.S. was led in the match with first-half goals from DaMarcus Beasley and Jordan Cila, and an early second-half strike by Kyle Beckerman, as well as the inspired defensive play of Oguchi Onyewu.
"I can't put it into words right now," said head coach John Ellinger from New Zealand. "This team has been together for so long, that to get to this point is just so rewarding. It's up for grabs now for any of the semifinalists, but I like the match-ups we've been presented with, and if we win on Wednesday (Tuesday night in the USA), we just need one more!"
The U.S. fell behind 1-0 on a goal by Hector Vallejo in the 3rd minute, after defender Seth Trembley was unable to clear a ball through the penalty area that fell into the six-yard box for the Mexican forward to hit home. Things looked even more bleak for the Americans in the 20th minute when Kellen Kalso, playing for the suspended Alexander Yi, was whistled for a penalty kick after clipping the legs of Ricardo Sanchez.
On the penalty kick, U.S. goalkeeper D.J. Countess extended to his left and parried the shot of Sanchez, the Mexican captain, out of danger, keeping the score at 1-0.
"We knew that Mexico was a team that liked to press and come at you early," said Ellinger, "and they got the one chance and put it away. We were disappointed at that point and then when they got the penalty, we were in trouble. But D.J. (Countess) making that save was the rallying point for us. All we needed was a spark, and getting two goals before the end of the first half was a great advantage at the break, especially after what happened early on."
The U.S. turned it on late in the first half, behind a world-class strike from midfielder DaMarcus Beasley in the 37th minute. On the goal, Beasley took a pass from midfield from Trembley, controlled the ball off his chest 30 yards out from goal and then turned and hit a one-time, looping left-foot strike across his body from 25 yards out that tucked just inside the far right post. For the goal, and controlling play in the midfield for 90 minutes, Beasley earned his second Man of the Match award of the tournament.
Just six minutes later, Jordan Cila ran onto a misplayed ball in the Mexican defense and was able to dribble free into the Mexican penalty area. Faced with a one-on-one with Mexican goalkeeper Adolfo Cabrera, Cila easily beat the young goalkeeper on the dribble to slot a shot into an empty net to give the USA a 2-1 lead at the half.
Just three minutes into the second half, the U.S. scored again, this time midfielder Kyle Beckerman heading home from six yards after some nifty footwork by Oguchi Onyewu near the end line on the right wing freed himself up for a perfect cross.
Mexico cut the margin to 3-2 on a corner kick in the 70th minute which forward Yared Yanez poked past D.J. Countess off his line.
The victory was the USA's second come-from-behind win in the tournament and marked the third time in four games that the team earned a result after allowing the first goal of the match.
After playing their first four games in Auckland, the U.S. will now move to Christchurch on Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m. to prepare for the winner of the Australia-Qatar quarterfinal being played on Sunday, also in Christchurch.
CONFERENCE CALL WITH JOHN ELLINGER AND SELECT PLAYERS SET FOR MONDAY AT 2 P.M. ET: U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team head coach John Ellinger and select U.S. U-17 players will be available on a conference call for the U.S. media on Monday at 2 p.m. ET (Nov. 22). The moderator will be U-17 press officer Keir Cochran.
1999 U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||U.S. Men's Under-17 National Team vs. Mexico U-17 National Team|
|Competition:||V FIFA U-17 World Championship|
|Venue:||North Harbour Stadium (Auckland, New Zealand)|
|Date:||Nov. 20, 1999|
MEX - VALLEJO Hector, (ESTRADA Juan), 3.
USA - BEASLEY DaMarcus, (TREMBLY Seth), 38.
USA - CILA Jordan, (unassisted), 43.
USA - BECKERMAN Kyle, (ONYEWU Oguchi), 48.
MEX - YANEZ Yered, 70.
USA - 1-COUNTESS D.J., 2-KALSO Kellen (9-GREGORIO Adolfo, 74), 3-BEASLEY DaMarcus, 4-AKWARI Nelson (Capt.), 7-CUTLER Kenny, 8-JACKSON Bryan, 10-DONOVAN Landon, 14-ONYEWU Oguchi, 15-BECKERMAN Kyle (11-CONVEY Bobby, 77), 16-CILA Jordan (13-THOMPSON Abe, 81), 17-TREMBLY Seth.
MEX - 1-CABRERA Adolfo, 2-GRIJALVA Felix (8-LOPEZ Edgar, 58), 3-BRACAMONTES Julio, 5-PEREZ Mario, 6-PARADA Ernesto, 7-VALLEJO Hector (11-AGUAYO Omar, 66), 9-ESTRADA Juan, 10-SANCHEZ Ricardo (Capt.), 13-GALINDO Aaron, 16-RAMIREZ Gustavo (14-HERNANDEZ Gerardo, 71), 18-YANEZ Yered.
|Ricardo Sanchez (caution)||23,|
|Omar Aguao (caution)||86,|
|Mario Perez (caution)||86,|
|Landon Donovan (caution)||92+,|
|Adolfo Gregorio (caution)||93+.|