After 120 scoreless minutes of regulation and extra time, Jared Jeffrey, Dilly Duka, Kyle Davies and Anthony Wallace each converted penalty shots while goalkeeper Brian Perk came up with huge saves on Trinidad & Tobago’s fourth and fifth shooters to win 5-4 in the shootout.
After already securing their place at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup by winning Group A, the U.S. squad will now look to win its first-ever CONCACAF U-20 title. Kickoff for Sunday’s final is set for 7 p.m. local/ET and fans can follow the action live from Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya, Trinidad via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
The capacity crowd did all it could throughout the game to help their team advance, but the T&T attack could not break through. A stellar defensive effort from everyone on the field contributed to the shutout. It was the fourth straight shutout for the U.S. as Perk and the U.S. defense have yet to allow a goal in the tournament.
“The host country made it very hard for us in a game that could have gone either way but in the end our goalkeeper made the difference for us tonight,” said U.S. Under-20 MNT head coach Thomas Rongen. “He came up with two excellent saves on two penalties for us to win it. I have to give Trinidad & Tobago a lot of credit for playing us straight up and trying to win the game just like we did over 120 minutes.”
The USA’s defensive efforts kept the game 0-0 and set the stage for the dramatic shootout. With the U.S. shooting first, Jeffrey stepped up and slotted his shot perfectly into the right side netting, but Jean Luc Rochford answered for T&T. Duka’s shot was nearly identical to Jeffrey’s but again the hosts had an answer, this time in the form of Daniel Joseph. Peri Marosevic hit his shot high, setting up Uriah Bentick to give T&T the 3-2 lead. Davies put his kick away and after Perk came up with the save against Sheldon Bateau the score was level at three each.
Wallace stayed cool under pressure to successfully convert his kick, setting the stage for Perk’s heroics. The UCLA ‘keeper stopped his second penalty of the night to secure the victory.
The first semifinal game between Costa Rica and Honduras also went into a shootout after a scoreless draw. Costa Rica, which won Group B, advanced to the final with a 4-2 shootout win. That match was the first CONCACAF U-20 match to go into extra time since December 2000, when Honduras beat Panama 2-1, and the first to go to penalties since August 1980, when both semifinals were settled in the shootout.
The United States has not lost in 10 games in CONCACAF U-20 play since falling to Canada 3-2 in 2002, and has not allowed a goal in its last six, dating back to a 4-1 victory over Haiti in its opener of the final round group in 2007.
Both teams had limited chances, with the closest either team came to scoring was in the 19th minute when Trinidad & Tobago’s Juma Clarence hit the post on a shot inside the penalty area. Minutes later, Brian Ownby hit a strike from 20 yards out that T&T goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel did well to tip over the bar.
In the second half, the U.S. held much of the possession, but T&T were often dangerous on the counterattack, consistently sending long balls for their forwards to run on to. Sheanon Williams and Wallace were diligent in shutting down their respective wings while Davies and Gale Agbossoumonde shored up the middle of the field with help from central midfielders Jeffrey and Duka.
Marosevic had a chance to put the U.S. on top in the 75th minute, receiving a ball from Ownby and turning quickly to shoot, but his effort was high. Qian Grosvenor nearly gave the home team the edge in the 80th minute as he took control of the ball on a quick counterattack and had only Jeffrey to beat. With the central midfielder closing in, Grosvenor smacked a low shot that was just wide of the near post.
With 12 FIFA U-20 World Cup appearances, the U.S. has qualified more than any other CONCACAF nation, but has never won the regional crown. In 2005 and 2007, when CONCACAF qualifying was held as two groups at two separate venues, the U.S. has won their group. In the previous three editions in 1999, 2001 and 2003, the U.S. qualified for the World Cup as the second-place finisher in their respective group.
U.S. UNDER-20 MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT
Match: U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Date: March 13, 2009
Competition: 2009 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship Semifinal
Venue: Marvin Lee Stadium; Macoya, Trinidad
Kickoff: 8 p.m. local (8 p.m. ET)
Weather: 75 degrees, humid
Scoring Summary: 1 2 OT1 OT2 F PKs
USA 0 0 0 0 0 3
TRI 0 0 0 0 0 4
USA: Jeffrey (goal), Duka (goal), Marosevic (miss - high), Davies (goal), Wallace (goal)
TRI: Rochford (goal), Joseph (goal), Bentick (goal), Bateau (saved), Paul (saved)
USA: 24-Brian Perk; 4-Sheanon Williams (5-Aaron Maund, 90+), 22-Gale Agbossoumonde, 2-Kyle Davies (capt.), 3-Anthony Wallace; 15-Brian Ownby, 8-Jared Jeffrey, 10-Dilly Duka, 7-Danny Cruz (16-Billy Schuler, 77); 9-Peri Marosevic, 13-Tony Taylor (6-Amobi Okugo, 68)
Subs not used: 1-Sean Johnson, 18-Josh Lambo, 12-Bryan Arguez, 14-Sam Garza
Subs not available: 11-Jorge Flores, 23-Brek Shea
Head coach: Thomas Rongen
TRI: 1-Glenroy Samuel, 3-Curtis Gonzales (15-Uriah Bentic, 90+), 4-Sheldon Bateu, 5-Akeem Davis, 6-Leston Paul, 8-Sean de Silva, 9-Juma Clarence (10-Daniel Joseph, 69), 11-Trent Lougheed (19-Qian Grosvenor, 50), 12-Robert Primus, 14-Jean Luc Rochford,17-Nicholas Walker
Subs not used: 2-Aubrey David, 13-Marvin Manswell, 20-Andres Marchan
Subs not available: 7-Kebin Molino, 18-Daniel Cyrus
Head Coach: Zoran Vranes
Stats Summary: USA / TRI
Shots on Goal: 3/1
Corner Kicks: 4/2
TRI – Sean De Silva (caution) 67th minute
TRI –Juma Clarence (caution) 76
USA – Gale Agbossoumonde (caution) 90+
Referee: Roberto Garcia (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Venton Mars (GUY)
Assistant Referee 2: Jeremy Taylor (BRB)
Fourth Official: Elmer Bonilla (SLV)
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