U.S. Under-20s Open Qualifying with 5-0 Win Over Guatemala; Convey Paces American Attack with Two First-Half Goals
TUNAPUNA, Trinidad (Sunday, March 18, 2001) - The U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team exploded for three goals in a seven-minute span in the first half and cruised to a 5-0 win against Guatemala in the team's first match of the CONCACAF Under-20 qualifying tournament at the Dr. Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence in Tunapuna, Trinidad. Bobby Convey led the U.S. attack, netting goals in the 16th and 19th minute that sent the U.S. on its way. It was the second time in three matches that the U.S. scored five goals.
With the win, the U.S. vaults to the top of the qualifying tournament, and will face Trinidad & Tobago, 3-0 losers to Costa Rica, on Tuesday. The top two teams at the tournament will advance to the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship in Argentina from June 17 - July 8.
"We are very happy to open the tournament with a win, especially a quality win like we had tonight," U.S. head coach Wolfgang Suhnholz said. "However, we still have two more matches to play and we have to take care of business in those matches or this first win doesn?t matter. And it is never easy to play a team at home in a tournament like this."
The U.S. got on the board in the 13th minute when a D.J. Countess punt started a U.S. counterattack that would prove lethal. U.S. forward Conor Casey flicked on the punt and Donovan raced into space in the box to catch the ball. Donovan evaded a defender in the left side of the penalty box, drew the goalkeeper out of the goal and played the bouncing ball across the box where an unmarked Casey easily volleyed the ball into the empty net.
The U.S. struck again three minutes later with a Convey strike that electrified the Tunapuna crowd. Casey collected the ball 45 yards from the net and left the ball for a streaking Onyewu, who took over and continued on his run to the goal. From wide on the right side Convey cut into the middle as Onyewu neatly dropped the ball off. Convey slid past one defender and unloaded a left-footed rocket from 21 yards that clipped the right post before finding the net and sending the Centre of Excellence crowd into a frenzy.
Convey added another three minutes later when Beasley found space on the right side and laid a perfect ball behind the defense and into space in the penalty box that Convey one-timed into the net from six yards. Despite their already decorated senior team careers, Convey and Donovan each earned their first Under-20 cap in Sunday night's win.
Beasley joined the scoring party in the 30th minute with another left-footed blast worthy of a highlight film. Again it was Casey who started the scoring sequence, playing a ball over the Guatemala back line that allowed Beasley to beat the offsides trap. Beasley controlled the ball into the penalty box before unleashing a bullet from 15 yards into the upper left corner of goal that gave Guatemalan 'keeper Jorge Gonzalez no chance to make a save.
Gonzalez played well throughout the match, making four saves and doing well to keep Donovan out of the scorebook. He also proved to be agile coming off of his line, but the U.S. offensive machine was too much. Brad Davis, who replaced Beasley in the 62nd minute, finalized the scoreline in the 74th minute. Fellow second-half substitute Kelly Gray stole a poor Guatemalan clearance and fed Davis, who loaded up his left foot and beat Gonzalez to the far right post from 23 yards out.
Guatemala was unlucky not to add a goal of their own, but the Central American team was denied by Countess and his six saves, as well as by the post midway through the second half. Countess, who recorded his third shutout of 2001, was tested throughout the evening and came up with three big saves in the first half, including one early in the match with the score knotted 0-0. The U.S. barely outshot Guatemala by a 11-10 margin that suggests a closer final score.
The game underwent a 16-minute delay in the first half when the lights at the Centre of Excellence unexpectedly shut off in the fifth minute. The game continued for two minutes before the referee, Samuel Richardson, halted play in the 7th minute. Convey almost put the U.S. on the board right as the match restarted, but his 21-yard blast from the right side crept just wide of the near post. The U.S. offensive assault would not hold off much longer.
The U.S. continues their run to Argentina 2001 on Tuesday, March 20, when they face Trinidad & Tobago, and will finish the qualifying tournament against Costa Rica on March 22. The top two teams from the group will advance to the 2001 World Youth Championship from June 17 - July 8 in Argentina.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%GAME NOTES: Four of the USA's goals were scored left-footed ... It was the first time that the 11 starters have been on the field at the same time ... The win was the USA's seventh consecutive win against Guatemala in the CONCACAF Youth Tournament ... The U.S. now boasts a 10-4-3 record in 2001 ... The team is a perfect 3-0 in internationals in 2001, giving up only one goal ... The team's 5-0 shutout win is the largest U.S. shutout win in the CONCACAF Youth Tournament since beating Bermuda by the same score on May 3, 1992.
2001 U.S. UNDER-20 MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team vs. Guatemala|
|Competition:||CONCACAF Group B Qualifying for Argentina '01|
|Venue:||Dr. Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence (Tunapuna, Trinidad)|
|Date:||March 18, 2001 - Kickoff 6:15 p.m. local (5:15 p.m. ET)|
|Weather:||74 degrees (Cool, Breezy)|
USA - Conor Casey (Landon Donovan), 13.
USA - Bobby Convey (Oguchi Onyewu), 16.
USA - Bobby Convey (DaMarcus Beasley), 19.
USA - DaMarcus Beasley (Conor Casey), 30.
USA - Brad Davis (Kelly Gray), 74.
USA - 1-D.J. Countess; 2-Philip Salyer, 4-Nelson Akwari (capt.), 5-Alexander Yi, 3-Oguchi Onyewu; 11-Bobby Convey, 14-Kenny Arena (6-Kelly Gray, 70), 20-Brian Carroll, 7-DaMarcus Beasley (9-Brad Davis, 62), 10-Landon Donovan; 16-Conor Casey (16-Kyle Martino, 53).
GUA - 1-Jorge Gonzalez; 3-Mynor Gonzalez, 5-Victor Hernandez, 6-Edwin Gonzalez, 7-Fredy Thompson (capt.), 8-Claudio Albizuris, 9-Jose Antonio Beletzuy (12-Jose Quiroa, 74), 11-Mario Rafael Rodriguez (10-Julio Enriquez, 75), 16-Erick Villatoro, 18-Joaquin Alvarez, 19-Ricardo Arenas (14-Mynor Davila, 61).
|Conor Casey (caution)||44.|
|Alexander Yi (caution)||46+.|
|Kenny Arena (caution)||53.|