U.S. Under-17s Can Clinch Spot at FIFA Under-17 World Championship on Friday
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%U.S. OPENS QUALIFYING WITH 2-1 COMEBACK WIN: After surviving a scare for the first hour, the United States' Under-17 Men's National Team scored two goals in a six-minute span in the second half to post a 2- 1 win against Jamaica on the pening day of the CONCACAF Group A qualifying tournament. The win, coupled with El Salvador and Canada's 1-1 draw, puts the USA at the top of Group A. The winner of the four-team tournament will advance to the FIFA Under-17 World Championship in Trinidad & Tobago in September.
"We were able to walk off the field with a win tonight, and we are happy with that," U.S. head coach John Ellinger said. "Obviously I thought we should have put ourselves in a better position after the first half, but we just couldn't punch it in."
The U.S. was finally able to punch it in in the 70th minute, when Santino Quaranta set up Mike Magee and Magee's ensuing shot struck Leon Williams' arm and Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez pointed to the penalty spot. Quaranta stepped up to the penalty spot and scored his first international goal of 2001. Six minutes later Chad Marshall scored the winner from a Craig Capano corner kick. The goal was the first of Marshall's international career.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%CANADA vs. EL SALVADOR: In the tournament opener, Canada and El Salvador battled to a 1-1 draw at Robert R. Hermann Stadium on Wednesday night. Canada went ahead early in the match on an El Salvador own goal in the 20th minute. The face of the game changed fifteen minutes later when Sita-Taty Matondo was ejected from the match after throwing an elbow at El Salvador's wall. Jose Ochoa equalized in first half injury-time, scoring on a pretty pass from Dennis Alas.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%U.S. CAN CLINCH CHAMPIONSHIP SPOT ON FRIDAY: The top team in Group A will advance to the 2001 FIFA Under-17 World Championship in Trinidad & Tobago in September. If Jamaica wins or draws against El Salvador on Friday, the U.S. can clinch the Group A with a win over Canada. Trinidad & Tobago has already secured a spot as the host country and the final CONCACAF representative will be determined at the Group B qualifying tournament in Honduras from May 2-6.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%WEATHER UPDATE: The U.S. squad could encounter an opponent outside of their CONCACAF foes if the rain rolls into St. Louis as expected this weekend. A drizzle is expected Friday afternoon with a chance of thunderstorms. Sunday the weather is forecasted to bring precipitation as well as warmer weather.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%U.S. vs. CANADA: Two of the tournament favorites meet tomorrow in a much anticipated border war between the U.S. and Canada. The match kicks off at 7 p.m. at Robert R. Hermann Stadium, following the 5 p.m. match between El Salvador and Jamaica. The U.S. has met their northern neighbors four times in the CONCACAF Junior Tournament, winning the three most recent matches. The lone U.S. loss came on November 23, 1988, a 1-2 loss. Canada did well to hold El Salvador to a draw in their opener on Wednesday, playing the final 55 minutes with 10 men. Canadian defender Sita-Taty Matondo was ejected from the El Salvador match in the 35th minute and will serve his suspension against the U.S. on Friday.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%U.S. TOPS CANADA 4-1 ON AUGUST 12, 2000: After allowing a Canada goal in the 20th minute, the U.S. answered back with four consecutive goals to post a 4-1 in at the Soccer Hall of fame in Oneonta, N.Y., on August 12, 2000. Ed Johnson tallied one goal and two assists in the win for the U.S. Paul Johnson scored the game-winner in the 44th minute, with Ed Johnson recording the assist. The U.S. outshot the Canadians 11-6, and U.S. goalkeeper Adam Schuerman was only forced to make one save in the win. Chad Marshall, who scored the winner against Jamaica, earned his first Under-17 cap with a 90-minute performance.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%CANADA IN FIFA UNDER-17 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: Canada has played in four Under-17 World Championships, more than any other CONCACAF team, outside of the United States and Mexico. Canada has twice appeared in consecutive World Championships, most recently in 1993 and 1995 and also in 1987 and 1989. Each appearance has ended the same, with Canada finishing 16th in the 16-team tournament. In 12 matches at the Under-17 World Championship, Canada is 0-12 and has been outscored 3-42.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%IN MY WORDS: In each update, one of the Under-17 players will tell the stories of the CONCACAF qualifying tournament in their own words. Today, the words of ...
Height: 5'4" Weight: 115
Birthdate: July 7, 1985
Hometown: Hyde Park, N.Y.
Club Team: Putnam Valley Cobras
"We got up Wednesday morning and we all had a little nervousness in us, but you expect to be a little nervous going into your first big international with a lot of meaning to it. We had brunch, and then we had the walk-and-stretch that we have each game day. Our trainer Goodie (Brian Goodstein) told us to keep focused, because normally we like to really fool around and have a good time at these walk and stretches. That was the first shot to us that told us that this game was different and we had to get into it and get ready hours before the game. We stay focused and after the walk-and-stretch we got into a huddle and did a cheer for the USA. Then we went back to the hotel and we all talked about what we were going to do at the game.
"We had our pregame meal and everyone seemed focused. Then it came down to gametime and no one knew what to expect. We got to the locker rooms and Paul (Johnson) got up and sang a slow song for us. It was odd because normally you want to hear something that will get you psyched up, and he sings a slow song. He tried to keep everyone happy and keep everyone from not thinking too much and not getting too nervous. After Paul sang we just chilled, watched some TV and listened to some music to get us pumped.
"Then when we went out to the field and I was real nervous, but I couldn't wait to get out there to see the crowd and all the people who came out there to - hopefully - cheer for us. We got out there and did our warm up and there was a bunch of kids making up cheers for us as we warmed up. It was great, and I got chills that got me pumped up.
"We went to our classroom and coach (John Ellinger) talked to us. He told us that for a year-and-a-half this is what it has been all about and this is what we have to do to get the job done. It all comes down to this because this is what we have been training for, and we can't let it pass us up. This is our destiny - as he called it - this is what we have to do.
"So we went out and lined up and walked out onto the field. It was great to get out there and see all my family and friends in the crowd and to see all the people there just for us. The game started, and I was real nervous - I didn't know what to expect.
"We got out on the field and strung some passes together and got comfortable early. We just took it to them. At the end of the first half they were up 1-0 and we missed a ton of chances and should have finished a bunch of them. It was confusing and frustrating at half to know they were up 1-0, and we had created all those chances and hadn't finished.
"After coach left us at halftime, we just sat there in the locker room and said that we have to get this done. In the second half we showed them what the U.S. is about, and we played well. We got the PK from Santino, and then I took a corner and Chad headed it in. It was a terrible corner from me, but Chad managed to put it in and that calmed everyone down.
"The end of the game was great, the parents came down on the field and everyone was happy and hugging everyone else. To see the men's team there cheering for us was great, and it added to the whole experience. The first game was hopefully the toughest one, and it is good to get it out of the way. Now we just have to focus on Canada and get ready.
"We woke up this morning and everyone was happy. Now we just hope we can keep our focus for tomorrow's game and play just as well as we did last night - but hopefully finish better. It's going to be great, I just hope we get it done. I'm ready to get it done. I'm ready to get back out there and play, I think I'll be a little nervous, but I think everyone will be. Hopefully we will get it done."
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"When we got the first goal there was a little relief that we tied it up, and then we just got that feeling that something else was going to happen."