KINGSTON, Jamaica (April 30, 2007) — Alex Nimo scored two goals while Ellis McLoughlin tallied once as the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team opened Group B of the 2007 CONCACAF Final Round Qualifying Tournament with a 3-0 shutout over Trinidad & Tobago at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica. The U.S. sits in third place in the five-team group with a game in hand.
Costa Rica and Canada battled to a scoreless draw in the early match of the Match Day 2 doubleheader, keeping them first and second in the group. Canada is in first with a better goal differential (plus-3) than Costa Rica (plus-two).
Nimo and McLoughlin were the story of the night from start to finish, with Nimo providing a magical opening when he finished a fantastic individual effort from close range in just the second minute for his first international goal. McLoughlin tallied just before halftime and Nimo put away his second of the night in the second half, but the pleasant night quickly turned sour when McLoughlin was sent off for a reckless challenge in the 80th minute.
McLoughlin will miss the USA’s next match against Canada, which will be on Wednesday, May 2 at 6 p.m. ET. Fans can follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
“It was a pretty strange match overall,” said U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Hackworth, who is at the helm for his second straight U-17 qualifying campaign. “We scored early, which is good, but then we dropped into a defensive shell which wasn’t good. We regained momentum in the game with some solid possession and got a second goal going into halftime with the game in control. We got the third goal in the second half and, as young kids are prone to do, I think we lost our composure a little bit by having a player thrown off and get three yellow cards. In the end, we did kill the game off, get our three points with a shutout. We think we can get stronger as the tournament goes on and that’s what we’re going to try and do.” [More Post-Game Quotes]
Billed as an extremely talented player even before joining U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program this January, Nimo had the stadium buzzing with a stellar performance where he showcased his fantastic touch, blinding speed and ability to finish. The Liberian-born midfielder didn’t take his time either as he provided the U.S. he lead with what was almost his first touch.
Sitting on the right flank, Nimo ran onto a long ball from Daniel Wenzel, but slowed down just enough to time his first touch, which was a sharp cut inside, to catch the backtracking defender Akeem Adams off balance and leave him in the dust. Inside the area, Nimo tried to slip the ball low across the goalmouth to a crashing Billy Schuler, but his pass was deflected by a defender, only to fall back into his path. Nimo didn’t hesitate as he took one touch toward goal before ripping his six-foot shot past helpless goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel and into the top netting.
“I didn’t know what to do since it was my first goal," said Nimo, who raced to the corner flag and danced for his celebration. "I was relieved and really excited.”
The early goal seemed to settle Trinidad as they quickly became the more aggressive team, continually pushing forward and finding room to serve in crosses from the right flank. After putting a couple shots on goal the didn’t worry U.S. goalkeeper Zach MacMatch, forward Daniel Cyrus provided a stern test in the 18th minute when a poorly cleared ball fell to his feet at the top of the box. Cyrus unleashed a low blast that looked destined for the left corner, but MacMatch stretched out just enough to get his right hand to it and deflect it wide.
After weathering the storm, the U.S. began to control the tempo, but struggled to find the final pass as Trinidad was bunkering in on defense and looking for the counter. The U.S. broke though on a quick replay that started just over the midfield stripe on the left sideline. The free kick was touched square to Greg Garza who knocked it down the right flank for Williams and he dribbled towards the endline before slipping the ball back across the box. McLoughlin almost over pursued his run, but was able to reach back to collect the pass and then with his next touch strike it past the ‘keeper into the left side of the goal for his 12th international strike.
With a 2-0 lead, the U.S. provided too many opportunities for Trinidad to get back in the game by committing fouls in the final third to give them free crosses into the box or looks on goal. In the 60th minute, Trinidad had it’s best chance of the night when Jean-Luc Rochford got free on the right edge of the penalty area and despite three challenges was able to keep his feet as he neared the endline before hitting a cross into traffic in front of the six-yard box. MacMatch got a hand on it, but couldn’t bring it in and let his defenders in front of him clean up the rest as they blocked two shots, one inside the area by Leston Paul and another by Sean DeSilva just outside the box.
Nimo then finished things off two minutes later when he got on the end of a good build-up by the U.S. After some possession, Adbusalam Ibrahim pushed the ball up the left sideline for Brek Shea and he deftly curled in a cross that Nimo buried from six yards out.
As the U.S. tried to kill off the game, McLoughlin made a costly error during a battle for a ball in the air with two Trinidad players near midfield. With a elbow raised high, McLoughlin’s challenge was deemed dangerous by the referee and he sent the USA’s leading scorer off with a straight red card.
The U.S. is the only country to qualify for every FIFA U-17 World Cup, earning a berth to all 11 previous tournaments. The 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup will take place in South Korea from August 18 to September 9.
- U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team Game Report -
Participants: USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Competition: CONCACAF Group B Qualifying Tournament (Final Round)
Location: National Stadium; Kingston, Jamaica
Date: April 30, 2007
Weather: Warm, 80 degrees
1 2 F
USA 2 1 3
TRI 0 0 0
USA – Alex Nimo 2nd minute
USA – Ellis McLoughlin (Sheanon Williams) 38.
USA – Alex Nimo (Brek Shea) 62.
USA: 18-Zach MacMath; 2-Sheanon Williams (4-Howard Turk, 67), 3-Mykell Bates, 6-Daniel Wenzel, 15-Brek Shea; 19-Alex Nimo, 8-Jared Jeffrey, 17-Greg Garza, 11-Abdusalam Ibrahim (7-Nicholas Millington, 65); 13-Billy Schuler (10-Byran Dominguez, 79), 9-Ellis McLoughlin.
Subs not used: 1-Josh Lambo, 5-Thomas Meyer, 12-Brendan King, 14-Jesse Paredes, 16-Brandon Zimmerman, 20-Alex Dixon.
Head Coach: John Hackworth
TRI: 21-Glenroy Samuel; 3-Ryan O’Neil, 4-Akeem Adams, 5-Akeem Adams, 18-Micah Lewis; 16-Marcus Joseph (9-Chad De Freitas, 61), 15-Chike Sullivan (19-Kevin Molino, 31), 6-Leston Paul, 14-Jean-Luc Rochford; 10-Stephan Knox, 11-Daniel Cyrus (8-Sean Desilva, 58).
Subs not used: 1-Jesse Fullerton, 2-Aubrey David, 7-Brenton Balbosa, 12-Robert Primus, 13-Stephan Chang, 20-Isaiah Fergusson
Head Coach: Anton Corneal
USA / TRI
Shots 10 / 11
Shots on goal 5 / 6
Saves 4 / 2
Fouls 24 / 11
Corner Kicks 3 / 3
Offside 1 / 1
USA – Sheanon Williams (caution) 24th minute
USA – Abdusalam Ibrahim (caution) 28.
TRI – Marcus Joseph (caution) 54.
USA – Mykell Bates (caution) 69.
USA – Ellis McLoughlin (sent off) 80.
TRI – Leston Paul (caution) 81.
Referee: Ruiz Bondilla (SLV)
1st Assistant: Hector Delgadillo (MEX)
2nd Assistant: Juan Zumba (SLV)
Fourth Official:Jose Guerrerro (NIC)
Sierra Mist Man of the Match: Alex Nimo