The winner of the playoff series will be determined by total goals scored during the two matches. The USA can lose by four goals and still advance to the world championship. If the teams are even on total goals scored after the match in Columbus, they will immediately play two, 15-minute sudden-death overtime periods. If after these 30 minutes the score remains tied, penalty kicks will determine the winner.
The USA-El Salvador match on May 22 will be at the new Columbus Crew Stadium, the first soccer specific stadium built in MLS history and the second-ever match to be played in the new stadium. The USA-El Salvador match will kickoff at 3:00 p.m. (ET) and will be the first of an MLS doubleheader between the Columbus Crew and the Tampa Bay Mutiny. The USA-El Salvador match on May 22 will be broadcast live on the internet (kickoff 3:00 p.m. ET) and can be accessed by going to www.us-soccer.com and linking onto the U-17 broadcast icon.
The USA's victory today snapped an 11-year winless drought for a U.S. team in El Salvador. Prior to today's win the last U.S. team to beat El Salvador in El Salvador was the U.S. Men's Under-23 National Team on October 18, 1987 who defeated the hosts 4-2 in an Olympic qualifying match.
Inspired by a pre-game speech by U.S. Soccer Secretary General Hank Steinbrecher, the USA came out and played with passion, pride and heart. "Only three youth teams in the world could have come into El Salvador and gotten the result that we got today and we are two of those teams," said U.S. U-17 Head Coach John Ellinger. "I am very proud of the way the team played today."
El Salvador started the game with a 3-5-2 lineup hoping to stop the explosive offensive power of the USA. Leaving their back-line exposed the U.S. two front-runners, Jordan Cila and Bobby Convey, had their way with the El Salvador defense, creating numerous scoring chances. The speed and skill of the USA proved too much for El Salvador as the USA applied relentless pressure all over the field. Ironically, the weather conditions seemed to favor the USA as El Salvador tired late in the first-half.
The first half was a game of momentum swings with the USA creating better scoring chances; however, El Salvador struck first in the 26th minute when a free-kick by El Salvador's Eliseo Quintanilla was deflected off the foot of U.S. defender Nelson Akwari and into the U.S. goal.
The USA responded in the 42nd minute when Oguchi Onyewu headed a ball back into the midfield where Kyle Beckerman flicked it on to an awaiting Jordan Cila. Cila received the ball with his back to the goal, turned his defender and hit a right-footed, low driven, 20-yard shot that beat the El Salvador keeper, tying the game at 1-1 just before halftime.
The U-17s came out in the second-half and exploded for five goals. In the 63rd minute Cila netted his second of the game when Seth Trembly fired a low driven ball across the goalmouth to a near-post streaking Cila who directed the ball into the net.
The USA capitalized on their height advantage scoring their next goals with their heads off corner kicks. Oguchi Onyewu scored his first goal of '99 in the 67th minute when DaMarcus Beasley whipped a corner-kick into the box from the left side. Onyewu out jumped the goalkeeper heading the ball down. The ball bounced over the defenders head on the goal line and into the goal.
Beasley earned his second assist of the game again off a corner kick in the 77th minute. Beasley hit a in-swinging corner kick that found the head of Nelson Akwari who re-directed the ball into the net giving the USA a 3-1 lead.
U.S. forward Abe Thompson made his debut today with the U-17s and also scored his first international goal in the 83rd minute when he received a through ball from Cila and slotted the ball past the El Salvadoran goalkeeper. Thompson entered the match just three minutes earlier.
It was only fitting that Jordan Cila round out the USA scoring with his third goal of the match in the 84th minute. Cila beat his defender and the goalkeeper, netting the USA's sixth goal and securing the U.S. 6-1 victory. The USA is 10-0-0 when Cila scores a goal.
"Everybody has been asking when I was going to start to score some goals. I went in today not trying to score goals but to just let things happen and they did," said U.S. forward Jordan Cila. "This is my first international hat-trick and it couldn't have come at a better time. We are confident about New Zealand but will not overlook the May 22 match. We will be ready to play El Salvador but this time it will be on our home turf."
"I am happy for Cila, he has worked the last couple of months and I knew that it was only a matter of time before he exploded for some goals," said Ellinger. "Cila takes a lot of the weight of this team when it comes to scoring and today he carried all of us."
The USA is the only country to have qualified and participated in all seven FIFA World Championships since the inaugural tournament in 1985.
The U-17s will return to Bradenton, Fla. tomorrow for a week of training at Bollettieri Sports Academy before departing for Columbus on May 19 for their second playoff match against El Salvador.
1999 U.S. MEN'S UNDER-17 NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||U.S. Men's U-17 National Team vs. El Salvador U-17s|
|Competition:||First-Leg of 1999 CONCACAF Home-and-Home Playoff Series|
|Venue:||San Salvador, El Salvador|
|Date:||May 9, 1999|
|Weather:||Sunny and Hot - 85 degrees|
SAL - own goal, 26,
USA - Jordan Cila, (Beckerman), 42,
USA - Jordan Cila, (Trembly), 63,
USA - Oguchi Onyewu, (Beasley), 67,
USA - Nelson Akwari, (Beasley), 77,
USA - Abe Thompson, (Cila), 83,
USA - Jordan Cila, (unassisted), 84.
USA - 1-Delvin Countness, 4-Nelson Akwari, 8-Alexander Yi, 17-Seth Trembly, 14-Oguchi Onyewu, 5-Bryan Jackson (9-Adolfo Gregorio, 76), 20-Kenneth Cutler, 15-Kyle Beckerman (2-Abe Thompson, 80), DaMarcus Beasley, 16-Jordon Cila, 11-Bobby Convey.
SAL - 22-Cristian Blanco, 12-Alexander Rosales, 7-Raul Gudiel, 5-Vicente Melgar, 8-Jose Rivera (18-Edwin Tryillo, 46), 9-Helman Monterrosa, 14-Eliseo Quintanilla, 19-Christian Ramirez (16-Reyes Lemus, 46), 15-Roberto Ochoa (11-Christian Carreza, 61), 13-Juan Leiva, 6-Miguel Carrillo.