US SoccerUS Soccer
Wilmer Cabrera

U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team Defeat Cuba 3-1 in Opening Group Match of 2011 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Jamaica

  • Andrew Oliver Paces the U.S. with a Goal and Assist 
  • Seven U.S. Soccer Development Academy Players Get Start 
  • U.S. Closes Out Group Play on Friday, Feb. 18, against Panama at 4:30 p.m. ET
MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (Feb. 14, 2011) — Andrew Oliver delivered a goal and an assist as the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team earned a 3-1 win against Cuba in their opening group match of the 2011 CONCACAF U-17 Championship. Alfred Koroma opened the scoring and Esteban Rodriguez added a third as the U.S. improved their unbeaten record against Cuba in U-17 qualifying to 4-0-2 lifetime.
The U.S. U-17s round out play in the three-team Group B on Friday, Feb. 18, against Panama with a 4:30 p.m. ET kickoff at Jarrett Park. The top two teams in each group will advance to the quarterfinals with Group B set to crossover against Group A which is made up of Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Haiti. The winner of Group B will face the second-place finisher in Group A, and vice versa. The quarterfinal winners will move on to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico.
“We did not play our best game tonight but we were able to win and that’s important in this tournament,” said U.S. head coach Wilmer Cabrera. “We have to improve ourselves because we did not play a complete game, but hopefully it will be a good lesson for the kids to understand that we have to play our best in every game if we want to go to the World Cup. The most important thing for us is to take care of ourselves first and make sure that we get better and show a better quality to our game.”
Seven players from the U.S. Soccer Development Academy were in the starting lineup, led by team captain Andrew Souders from Crew Soccer Academy.
Solar Chelsea FC striker Koroma put the U.S. ahead in the 27th minute, tapping home a rebound after Oliver’s shot was denied by Cuban goalkeeper Sandy Sanchez. Oliver was on the receiving end of a fantastic outlet pass from Esteban Rodriguez and blew past his mark, firing a low drive that was blocked by a good save from Sanchez and sat up perfectly for Koroma to calmly finish.
Cuba, who had sought to put pressure on the U.S. from the opening whistle by getting numbers around the ball, nearly leveled the score just before halftime when a well-struck shot from distance by Klanze Froese had Fernando Piña beat, but the powerful drive pinged off the crossbar and the U.S. went in the locker room holding a one-goal advantage.
Just as the second half breathed to life, the U.S. doubled their lead. A long ball out of the back from Mobi Fehr was flicked on perfectly by Oliver to Mario Rodriguez’s feet. The striker then took a touch and perfectly placed a back heel right back into the path of Oliver’s feet. Oliver then took a touch while shielding off a defender and slotted the ball past Sanchez.
The goal sparked a renewed vigor to the U.S. attack. Four minutes later, the U.S. pounced on a loose ball and Serna played it ahead to Dillon Serna. Serna smoothly played a ball back to Esteban Rodriguez who calmly took it in stride and slipped it past Sanchez for the third and final U.S. goal.
Cuba snatched one back in the 69th minute when Dairon Perez took advantage of some confusion in the U.S. penalty area to surprise Piña with a well-struck shot. The Cubans had a nice buildup to create the chance, the goal adding life to their effort.
In the opening game of the tournament, played just before the USA’s game, Costa Rica topped Haiti 3-1 to take control of Group A. Groups A and B both continue play on Wednesday when Haiti faces El Salvador and Cuba plays Panama.
The U.S. is looking to continue its streak of being the only nation to have qualified for every edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup. It participated in the 2009 event for the 13th consecutive time.
-- U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team Match Report --
Match: U.S. U-17 MNT vs. Cuba
Date: Feb. 14, 2011
Competition: CONCACAF Under-17 Championship
Venue: Catherine Hall Stadium; Montego Bay, Jamaica
Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET
Attendance: TBA
Weather: 82 degrees, partly cloudy

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                     1 2 3
CUB                     0 1 1

USA – Alfred Koroma (Andrew Oliver)    27th minute
USA – Andrew Oliver (Mario Rodriguez) 46
USA – Esteban Rodriguez (Dillon Serna) 50
CUB – Frank Lopez                               68

USA: 1-Fernando Piña; 4-Nathan Smith, 2-Andrew Souders (capt.), 6-Mobi Fehr, 3-Kellyn Acosta; 8-Esteban Rodriguez, 5-Matt Dunn, 13-Dillon Serna (15-Jordan Allen, 72); 16-Andrew Oliver, 9-Mario Rodriguez (19-Jack McBean, 73), 7-Alfred Koroma (14-Tarik Salkicic, 76)
Subs not used: 18-Kendall McIntosh, 12-Joe Amon, 17-Zach Carroll, 20-Paul Arriola
Not available: 10-Alejandro Guido, 11-Marc Pelosi
Head Coach: Wilmer Cabrera

CUB: 1-Sandy Sanchez; 3-Emmanuel Labrada, 4-Adrian Diz (capt.), 5-Brian Rosales, 7-Kianz Froese, 8-Yolexis Collado (2-Alejandro Cala, 52), 9-Dairon Perez (15-Osmani Capote, 71), 13-Sajay Herrera (10-Frank Lopez, 60), 14-Yosel Piedra, 16-Javier Aguilar, 17-Lazaro Mezquia
Subs not used: 6-Andy Baquero, 11-Daniel Luis Saez, 12-Denis Lumpuy, 18-Rene Garcia
Head Coach: Israel Blake

Stats Summary: USA / CUB
Shots 8 / 6
Shots on Goal 6 / 4
Saves 2 / 3
Corner Kicks 1 / 3
Offside 1 / 5

Misconduct Summary:
CUB – Emmanuel Labrada (caution) 35th minute
CUB – Klanz Froese (caution)          78
USA – Matt Dunn (caution)             81

Referee: Enrico Winjgaarde (SUR)
Assistant Referee 1: Kedlee Powell (JAM)
Assistant Referee 2: Ainsley Rochard (TRI)
Fourth Official: Trevor Richards (BRB)