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U.S. Under-17 Men Open Qualifying with 3-0 Win Over Jamaica

GUATEMALA CITY (March 5, 2003) - The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team opened the CONCACAF Under-17 Group A Qualifying Tournament with a 3-0 win over Jamaica at Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City, Guatemala.  Thirteen-year-old Freddy Adu scored a goal and tallied one assist in his first international match on foreign soil, and the U.S. defense pitched a shutout for the 14th time in their last 22 matches.

Corey Ashe started the scoring for the U.S. with a clinical finish in the 5th minute, and John DiRaimondo headed home a Guillermo Gonzalez cross to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead at half.  Adu wrapped up the game with a brilliant solo run and finish in the 92nd minute.

The U.S. defense put its mark on a game that will be best remembered for a pair of highlight film goals, as Phil Marfuggi and Co. stifled a Jamaican attack that tallied 19 goals in their six qualifying wins to get to this stage of the tournament.  The U.S. only allowed eight shots and U.S. goalkeeper Marfuggi was only forced into two saves, as the U.S. ran their unbeaten streak in qualifying matches to 11 games, dating back to August 26, 1996.

The U.S. next faces El Salvador on Friday at 6 p.m. local time (7 p.m. ET), before concluding play against Guatemala on Sunday at 1 p.m. local time (2 p.m. ET).  Tonight, Guatemala and El Salvador fought to a 2-2 draw following the U.S. match.

“It’s great anytime you come out of the first match with three points, “ said U.S. head coach John Elllinger. “We did some things well today, and we also have some areas where we can definitely improve.  But the bottom line is we knew coming here that three wins would allow us to qualify, and tonight we put ourselves one step closer to Finland.”

Adu set up Corey Ashe for the game’s opener, as Ashe first-timed Adu’s cross home from six yards out.  Adu received the ball on the left side of the penalty area, and beat one defender before getting into the area.  Adu did one stepover to beat a defender and got to the endline, where he sent the ball across the face of the goal, and Ashe wasted no time in volleying it home.

“I was nervous going into the game, playing my first international game that really meant something,” said Adu. “But once the game got going, I just started playing and I settled into my normal game.  I thought overall we played well, especially our defense.  We shut them down, they didn’t really create any dangerous chances.”

Ashe also had three other scoring chances in the first half, hitting the post once, forcing a great save out of Jamaican goalkeeper Kerr Duwayne and then just missing with another.  A quick team themselves, Jamaica had no answer for Ashe’s pace on the left wing.

Gonzalez served up the second goal, taking a short corner kick from Adu and finding an unmarked DiRaimondo six yards from the goal.  DiRaimondo rose unopposed and gave Kerr no chance to make a save on his header. Not necessarily known as a goalscorer, DiRaimondo’s goal was his seventh international goal, the second-most international tallies on the U.S. team.

The U.S. defense then went on lockdown, and the only shots Jamaica could manage came from deep outside the penalty area.  It wasn’t until injury time of the second half that Marfuggi was really tested, and his diving save on a free kick in the 92nd minute led to a U.S. goal on the other end.

Marfuggi dove to his left to snag a 30-yard free kick from Seon Giveans, and then started a counterattack with a booming punt.  Two Jamaican backs let the ball slide between them, and Adu raced into the penalty box all alone.  Kerr, who recorded three saves in the match, did well and forced Adu wide of the goal, where he wan’t able to get off a shot. Instead, the U.S. striker turned and doubled back to the center of the penalty area. Slaloming through three Jamaican defenders, Adu set himself for a shot 12 yards from goal, and he hammered the ball past a stunned Kerr.

The referee blew his whistle to end the game immediately following the ensuing kick-off.

Jamaica went down to 10 men in the 58th minute, after Andrew Fraser was shown his second caution of the match for persistent infringement.  John DiRaimondo and Freddy Adu received cautions for the U.S. team, but rules have changed governing the accumulation of cautions.  In past tournaments, if a player received a caution in the first game and the second game, the player would be required to sit out the second game.  However, that rule has changed and now a player is only required to miss a game if he received three cautions in three games.

In the evening’s second match, El Salvador scored halfway through the second half to equalize after Guatemala took a 2-1 lead into the half. 

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

Participants:  U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team vs. Jamaica
Competition:  CONCACAF Under-17 Qualifying Tournament
Location: Estadio Mateo Flores; Guatemala City, Guatemala
Date: March 5, 2003
Weather: Cool, clear; 70 degrees

Scoring Summary:
                        1st     2nd    Final

United States    2         1         3
Jamaica             0         0        0

USA – Corey Ashe (Freddy Adu)  5th minute.
USA – John DiRaimondo (Guillermo Gonzalez)  37.
USA – Freddy Adu  92+

USA - 1-Phil Marfuggi; 2-Kyle Helton, 3-Jonathon Spector, 5-Brandon Owens (capt), 16-Adrian Chevannes; 7-Brian Grazier, 15-Corey Ashe, 10-Guillermo Gonzalez (17-Daniel Szetela,, 79), 8-John DiRaimondo; 11-Freddy Adu, 4-Eddie Gaven (13-Jamie Watson, 84).
Subs not used: 6-Chris Germani, 9-Michael Harrington, 12-Steven Curfman, 14-Julian Valentin, 18-Quentin Westberg 

JAM - 13-Kerr Duwayne; 5-Andrew Fraser, 12-Richard Kentish (capt), 20-Marlon Benbow; 6-Keneil Moodie, 7-Ricardo Cousins, 21-Kemar Munroe, 9-Seon Giveans, 23-Phillip Hall (22-Bryan Bayliss, 79); 14-Steven Morrissey (4-Tristan Cunningham,, 74),  11-Ricardo Ximinies (10-Miller Donovan, 74).
Subs not used:  1-Erron Brown, 17-Elliott Kevon, 19-Anthony Christie;  Not Eligible: 16-Christopher Williams 

Statistical Summary: 
             USA  /  JAM

Shots    18  /  8
Saves    2  /  3
Corner Kick    5  /  2
Fouls    20  /  10
Offside   0  /  1

Misconduct Summary:
JAM – Andrew Fraser  (caution) 10th minute.
JAM – Andrew Fraser  (caution) 58
JAM – Andrew Fraser  (ejection) 58
USA – Freddy Adu (caution) 80.
USA – John DiRaimondo (caution) 91+.