"We knew it was going to be a battle for us because they had to come to and try to win," U.S. midfielder Santino Quaranta said. "We got some great finishes from Ed, and that helped us get on top of them and we never let them back in the game. For overall performance this is probably the best of our three games here."
Ed Johnson, who now has an amazing 19 goals in 18 international matches, opened the scoring in the 29th minute with a clinical finish inside the six-yard box. It was Quaranta, who controlled play in the midfield for the entire match, who sent a perfect pass into space along the wing from midfield to free Jordan Stone, who looped an accurate one-time bouncing ball from the right wing into the area for Johnson to finish.
Quaranta scored a brilliant goal four minutes later on a pretty sequence that began with Chad Marshall winning the ball in the air and heading it to Mike Magee. Magee played a ball into the box for Quaranta, who turned and let the ball run into space before finishing with the outside of his right foot into the lower right corner of the goal.
The roommate combination of Ed Johnson and Santino Quaranta combined for Johnson's second goal of the game in the 50th minute. Quaranta sent in a cross from the right wing that Mike Magee let run through to the back post, where Ed Johnson finished with his first touch.
Ed Johnson completed his hat trick in the 71st minute in a textbook passing combination that began with second-half substitute Chefik Simo playing the ball to an overlapping Jordan Harvey down the left wing. Harvey dribbled toward the goalline before sending in a left-footed cross that Johnson met with a diving header into the lower left corner. The Dallas Burn forward has scored in six of the last seven U.S. internationals, and has scored 12 goals in that period.
The U.S. dominated the match much more than the final 4-0 scoreline showed, and at times in the second half seemed content to spread the ball around the field and play keep-away from El Salvador. U.S. midfielder Craig Capano ran the show for the U.S. from the center of the field, spreading the ball to Quaranta and Johnson, who overwhelmed the El Savador defense for 90 minutes.
Early in the contest with the game in a scoreless tie, U.S. defender Gray Griffin made a game-changing goalline clearance. Amid a wild scramble in the penalty box in the 18th minute, Juan Francisco Leiva fired a shot from 10 yards out that beat Adam Schuerman and appeared ready to give El Salvador a 1-0 lead, but Griffin headed the ball off the line to preserve the shutout.
Schuerman did well to record the first U.S. shutout of the tournament, making six saves in the match. He made a difficult save in the 37th minute one a Leiva free kick rocket and then a sliding save in a one-on-one situation late in the second half.
Much of the defensive credit should be given to U.S. defender Chad Marshall, who stifled El Salvador attacks from his central defender role all afternoon. With the outcome of the game already decided in the 79th minute, Marshall was the victim of a vicious Anibal Najarro tackle from behind in the U.S. penalty box. Najarro was ejected for the tackle and Marshall was taken to the hospital for x-rays that found he had a bone contusion in his left fibula.
The victory propels the U.S. into their record ninth consecutive FIFA Under-17 World Championship, continuing the U.S. streak of being the only country to qualify for all every U-17 (and formerly U-16) World Championship. The draw for the World Championship will be held on May 9 in Trinidad & Tobago.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%Game Notes: The U.S. wore their all-white strip for the second time in the tournament ... The U.S. began the game attacking with the wind, the same direction as in Wednesday's and Friday's matches ... The team's 3-0 finish marked the first time the U.S. has ever finished final round qualifying with a perfect mark ... The U.S. now has a 26-7-8 record in CONCACAF qualifying tournaments ... The U.S. has had one player score two or more goals in five of the six international matches in 2001.
2001 U.S. UNDER-17 MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team vs. El Salvador|
|Competition:||CONCACAF Group A Qualifying for Trinidad & Tobago '01|
|Venue:||Robert R. Hermann Stadium (St. Louis, Mo.)|
|Date:||April 22, 2001 - Kickoff 4:00 p.m. CT|
|Weather:||70 degrees (Cloudy, Gusty)|
USA - Ed Johnson (Jordan Stone), 29.
USA - Santino Quaranta (Mike Magee), 33.
USA - Ed Johnson (Santino Quaranta), 50.
USA - Ed Johnson (Jordan Harvey), 71.
USA - 18-Adam Schuerman; 6-Chris Lancos, 8-Jordan Harvey, 12-Gray Griffin (Capt.), 14- Chad Marshall (4-Paul Johnson, 83); 15-Jordan Stone, 16-Craig Capano, 7-Mike Magee (13- David Johnson, 75); 3-Justin Mapp (11-Chefik Simo, 68), 9-Santino Quaranta, 10-Ed Johnson.
SLV - 1-Henry Hernandez; 2-Juan Aviles, 3-Alexander Escobar, 6-John Garcia, 18-Isaac Zelaya; 5-Emmanuel Castillo, 7-Jose Ochoa (13-Erick Trujillo, 46), 10-Juan Francisco Leiva (14-Anibal Najarro, 75), 23-Mario Posades (12-Andres Rivera, 62); 8-Marvin Bernal, 9-Dennis Alas.
SLV - Emmanuel Castillo (caution), 24.
SLV - Juan Leiva (caution), 34.
USA - Craig Capano (caution), 46+.
USA - Jordan Stone (caution), 75.
SLV - Anibal Najarro (ejection), 79.