"You can play in all these tournaments and prepare all you want but until you actually set foot in a CONCACAF competition you don't feel the pressure of having to win and our team felt the pressure today for the first time," said U.S. Under-17 Head Coach John Ellinger. "Of course we would have liked a win but a tie is a positive result and now we will prepare for Honduras."
The U.S. came out flat in the first 25 minutes and fell behind in the 8th minute when referee Jose Farias awarded a questionable penalty kick after U.S. defender Greg Martin was pushed from behind and was called for a handball inside the USA penalty box. Costa Rican forward Fabricio Mena converted the penalty putting Costa Rica up, 1-0.
"I was very disappointed with the first 25 minutes of play and the penalty kick really unnerved us," said Ellinger. "It took us awhile to regain or composure and I was pleased with the last 20 minutes of the first half. In the second half we dominated Costa Rica."
After a thunderous collision with U.S. midfielder Kyle Beckerman, Costa Rica midfielder Cristian Montero had to leave the match in the 38th minute and be hospitalized with an injury to his right shoulder.
The U.S. responded in the 28th minute when Landon Donovan was pulled down outside the Costa Rican box setting up a U.S. free kick. Seth Trembly launched a 30-yard rocket that Costa Rica Goalkeeper Nighel Durrmond could only watch as the ball smacked the top cross bar and bounced in.
Seven minutes later Costa Rica took the lead again when U.S. 'keeper Delvin Countess could only block a low driven cross that fell to the feet of Costa Rica forward Fabricio Mena, who smacked the ball in from 2-yards out in the 35th minute giving Costa Rica a 2-1 lead at halftime
The U.S. came out on fire in the second-half and took it to Costa Rica creating numerous scoring chances. Adolfo Gregorio and Raul Rivera went in late for the U.S. and immediately their speed and technical skills made an impact on the game. In the 86th minute Adolfo Gregorio hit a corner kick that created a scramble in the Costa Rica six-yard box, with the ball eventually finding the feet of Landon Donovan who evened the score at 2-2.
"Adolfo hit a driven ball into the box that went over Nelson's head and bounced out to Beasley who was on top of the 18-yard box. Beasley headed the ball back in to Jordan Cila who was between four Costa Rican defenders. Cila won the ball and headed it perfectly to my feet and I just fired it in between the 'keepers legs," said U.S. Forward Landon Donovan.
The U-17s will play Honduras on Friday, Feb. 26 at 1:00 p.m ET. and will conclude qualifying against Jamaica on Feb. 28 at 3:00 p.m. ET. All games are played at Jarrett Park Stadium in Montego Bay and are aired live on Jamaican television. Jamaica defeated Honduras 1-0 in today's second match.
The following is the remaining schedule for the Group A '99 CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament and a match report from today's USA-Costa Rica game:
|Group A * Montego Bay, Jamaica (Feb. 24-28)|
|Fri., Feb. 26||1:00 p.m.||USA vs. Honduras||Jarrett Park|
|3:00 p.m.||Jamaica vs. Costa Rica||Jarrett Park|
|Sun., Feb. 28||1:00 p.m.||Honduras vs. Costa Rica||Jarrett Park|
|3:00 p.m.||USA vs Jamaica||Jarrett Park|
1999 U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team Game Report
|Participants:||U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team vs. Costa Rica U-17 Men's National Team|
|Competition:||1999 CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament|
|Venue:||Montego Bay, Jamaica|
|Date:||February 24, 1999|
|Weather:||Hot & Humid - 85 degrees|
CRC - Calvo Marvin, (pk), 8,
USA - Seth Trembly, (unassisted), 28,
CRC - Fabricio Mena, (Marvin), 35,
USA - Landon Donovan, (Cila), 86.
USA - 1-Delvin Countness, 4-Nelson Akwari (Capt.), 8-Alexander Yi, 17-Seth Trembly, 6-Greg Martin (14-Oguchi Onyewu, 45), 5-Bryan Jackson, 20-Kenneth Cutler (9-Adolfo Gregorio, 60), 15-Kyle Beckerman (13-Raul Rivera, 75), DaMarcus Beasley, 16-Jordon Cila, 20-Landon Donovan.
CRC - 1-Nighel Durrmond, 2-Victor Brenes, 3-Erick Quesada, 5-Gonzalo Segares, 6-Cristian Montero (4-Pablo Hernandez, 38), 7-Gustavo Villalobus (12-Ronald Fleming, 88), 8-Luis Arroyo, 9-Enoc Perez, 10-Marvin Calvo (Juan Hildalgo, 80), 11-Fabricio Mena.
|Jose Garcia||(Dominican Republic)|
|Clemroy Francois||(St. Francis)|
|Noel Bynoe||(Trinidad & Tobago)|