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U-17s Set to Open Two-Game CONCACAF Playoff with El Salvador on May 9 in San Salvador

CHICAGO (Wednesday, May 5, 1999) - The U.S. Men's Under-17 National Team is set to open their two-game CONCACAF home-and-home playoff series with El Salvador on May 9 in San Salvador, El Salvador at Flor Blanca Stadium (kickoff 12:00 p.m. CT). The winner of the USA-El Salvador playoff series will earn a berth in the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship to be hosted by New Zealand, November 10-27.

Led by head coach John Ellinger the U-17s are looking to become the first U.S. team to beat El Salvador in El Salvador since October 18, 1987 when the U.S. Men's Under-23 National Team defeated El Salvador 4-2 in an Olympic qualifying match. The last team to play in El Salvador was the U.S. Men's National Team that drew 1-1 against El Salvador in a World Cup qualifying match on June 29, 1997. The U-17s are unbeaten in their last 15 international matches, a streak of 9 months without a loss. The U-17s played El Salvador twice in '98, in Pensacola, Fla., posting a 1-0-1 record.

Ellinger added defender Abe Thompson (Fairfax Station, VA) to the U-17 roster for the first-leg of the playoff series. Thompson was added to the U-17 player pool earlier this year. Raul Palomares, who is currently playing for FC Kaiserslautern's reserve and youth teams of the German Bundesliga, was not called in for the May 9 match in El Salvador and Ellinger will not replace his spot on the roster. U.S. Soccer all-time U-17 leading goal-scorer Landon Donovan (Redlands, CA), who has 29 goals in 31 matches, will travel with the team to El Salvador but is ineligible to play because of a red card he received in the 89th minute against Jamaica on Feb. 28 at the '99 CONCACAF Group A Qualifying Tournament in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Goalkeeper Delvin Countess is questionable for the May 9 match with a strained shoulder he suffered in practice last week. Danny Clay (Dallas, TX) would replace Countess if necessary.

The following is a look at the 17-man roster that will be traveling to El Salvador: Goalkeepers: 1-Delvin Countess (Sacramento, CA), 18-Steve Cronin (Sacramento, CA);
Defenders: 4-Nelson Akwari (Houston, TX), 22-Kellen Kalso (Oxford, MI),6-Greg Martin (Plano, TX), 14-Oguchi Onyewu (Olney, MD), 2-Abe Thompson (Fairfax Station, VA), 17-Seth Trembly (Littleton, CO), 8-Alexander Yi (Easton, MD);
Midfielders: 3-DaMarcus Beasley (Fort Wayne, IN),15-Kyle Beckerman (Crofton, MD), 7-Kenneth Cutler (Richmond, VA), 9-Adolfo Gregorio (Hilmar, CA), 5-Bryan Jackson (La Canada, CA);
Forwards: 16-Jordan Cila (Jericho, NY), 11- Bobby Convey (Philadelphia, PA), 13-Raul Rivera (Tulare, CA).

In the second leg of the playoff series the U-17s will face El Salvador on May 22 in the new Columbus Crew Stadium, the first-soccer-specific stadium built in MLS history. The USA-El Salvador match in Columbus will kickoff at 4:00 p.m. ET and will be the first of an MLS doubleheader between the Columbus Crew and the Tampa Bay Mutiny. The May 22 match will be broadcast live on the internet and can be accessed by going to