"All in all, I thought we had a very good tournament. We achieved what we came here to do," said head coach Clive Charles, who has led the U.S. U-23s to a 6-4-1 overall record in 2000. "A lot of emotion and energy went into (Friday's) game, and the job was done at that point. We came here today to win, but we simply came up a little short."
In what has become their modus operandi, the United States struck first to open up a 1-0 lead, this time in the 12th minute on a ping-pong play involving consecutive headers. A free kick was served to the far side of the penalty area to John O'Brien who sent a ball to U.S. defender Danny Califf at the left side of the six-yard box. Califf rose up to head the ball across the box to Josh Wolff, who once again knocked it back the other way, with this one finding its way past Honduran goalkeeper Noel Valladares.
After holding the previous three teams scoreless, the U.S. yielded its first goal of the tournament when Honduras turned the tables and equalized in the 29th minute. Honduras worked a perfect give-and-go, with captain Maynor Suazo eventually feeding a ball to the speedy Oscar David Suazo. Suazo stepped inside U.S. defender Danny Califf, ran on to the ball in stride and framed a blistering shot in the upper left corner of the goal past sprawling U.S. 'keeper Tim Howard.
Honduras tacked the winning goal in the 56th minute when midfielder Julio Cesar Suazo chased down a ball that looked like it was headed over the endline and sent a ball back into the middle of the goal. In an attempt to clear it out, Califf attempted a diving header back away from goal but missed. Howard initially stepped out to make a play on the ball, but quickly backpedaled in attempt to cover his line. The cross fell to Honduran striker Oscar David Suazo, who scissored it home past a wrong-footed Howard.
The U.S. made a strong push for the equalizer over the last ten minutes of regulation and until the final whistle in injury time, but it would not materialize.
Friday's tremendous 4-0 victory over Guatemala marked the sixth consecutive time that the United States has qualified for the Olympic Games, spanning the past 20 years and dating back to the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, which was boycotted by the USA.
With the conclusion of the three-week training camp and tournament in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. then Hershey, Pa., the team will depart tomorrow morning from Harrisburg and return home or to their respective club teams both in America and abroad. Twelve of the 18 players on the final roster head back to Major League Soccer, whose season is in full spring. Next on the horizon for Team USA is a pre-Olympic training camp in San Diego and a pair of friendlies tentatively set for mid-August.
In the third place game, Mexico eradicated Friday's frustrating 120 minutes of scoreless soccer by putting the ball in the back of the net five times. Although small consolation upon having their Olympic hopes dashed in their penalty kick loss to Honduras just two nights ago, Mexico looked impressive and had no trouble pushing forward and attacking throughout. Led by a goal and two assists from Juan Pablo Rodriguez, Mexico lead 2-0 at the half and knocked in three more for the lopsided 5-0 end result. A heated affair in the stands and on the field, the match included 45 fouls, six cautions and one ejection (Guatemala's Denis Chen in first half injury time). But Mexico was the dominant side, outshooting Guatemala 21-4 and earning 10 corner kicks to their one.
2000 U.S. UNDER-23 MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team vs. Honduras|
|Competition:||Championship Game * CONCACAF 2000 Olympics Qualifying Tournament|
|Venue:||Hersheypark Stadium (Hershey, Pa.)|
|Date:||Sunday, April 30, 2000 * kickoff 3:30 p.m. (ET)|
|Weather:||75 degrees - Gusty, Sunny|
USA - Josh Wolff, (Danny Califf), 12,
HON - Oscar David Suazo, (Maynor Suazo), 29,
HON - Oscar David Suazo, (Julio Cesar Suazo), 56.
USA - 18-Tim Howard; 12-Ramiro Corrales (7-Eric Denton, 46), 4-Danny Califf, 3-Chad McCarty (capt.), 6-Steve Cherundolo; 9-DaMarcus Beasley, 5-John O'Brien, 10-Peter Vagenas, 8-John Thorrington (14-Ben Olsen, 46); 13-Landon Donovan (11-Chris Albright, 72), 16-Josh Wolff.
HON - 22-Noel Valladares; 3-Hector Gutierrez, 4-Junior Izaguirre, 5-Elmer Montoya, 6-Walter Lopez, 7-Maynor Suazo (capt.), 8-Jamie Rosales, 9-Oscar David Suazo, 14-Luis Ramirez, 15-Julio Cesar Suazo, 18-Francisco Pavon (19-Elvis Danilo Turcios, 89).
|Steve Cherundolo (caution)||71,|
|Elmer Montoya (caution)||86,|
|John O'Brien (caution)||86,|
|Oscar David Suazo (caution)||86.|
|Participants:||Mexico Under-23 Men's National Team vs. Guatemala|
|Competition:||Third Place Match * CONCACAF 2000 Olympics Qualifying Tournament|
|Venue:||Hersheypark Stadium (Hershey, Pa.)|
|Date:||Sunday, April 30, 2000 * kickoff 1:00 p.m. (ET)|
|Weather:||72 degrees - Gusty, Brisk|
MEX - Joaquin Beltran, (Juan Pablo Rodriguez), 23,
MEX - Adrian Sanchez (Juan Pablo Rodriguez) 43,
MEX - Daniel Osorno (Luis Perez) 55,
MEX - Juan Pablo Rodriguez (Jorge Collazo) 59,
MEX - Cesareo Victorino (Daniel Osorno) 82.
MEX - 1-Christian Martinez, 3-Joaquin Beltran, 4-Rafael Marquez (capt.), 5-Gerardo Torrado (16-Luis Gonzalez, 46), 6-Ignacio Hierro (2-Edgar Solano, 62), 8-Adrian Sanchez, 10-Juan Pablo Rodriguez, 11-Daniel Osorno, 13-Hector Alatamirano (7-Luis Perez, 46), 14-Jorge Collazo, 18-Cesareo Victorino.
GUA - 1-Luis Pedro Molina, 3-Pablo Melgar, 4-Luis Swisher, 5-Denis Chen, 6-Uwaldo Perez, 7- Josue Merlos, 8-Carlos Quiñonez, 9-Carlos Ruiz (capt.) (18-Julio Ariz Leiva, 60), 10-Freddy Garcia (17-Dwight Pezzarossi, 49), 11-Guillermo Ramirez (15-Andres Rivera, 46), 13-Edin Lopez.
|Hector Altamirano (caution)||30,|
|Carlos Quinonez (caution)||32,|
|Gerardo Torrado (caution)||37,|
|Carlos Ruiz (caution)||41,|
|Adrian Sanchez (caution)||42,|
|Denis Chen (caution)||46+,|
|Denis Chen (ejection)||46+,|
|Rafael Marquez (caution)||86.|
CONCACAF 2000 Olympics Qualifying Tournament * Championship Match
USA - Wolff, (Califf), 12.
END OF FIRST HALF
Last Updated: End of match.