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U.S. Under-23s Set to Face Canada Tonight in CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying


 
 
-- GROUP A UPDATE --

USA FACES CANADA IN GAME 2 TONIGHT AT 8 P.M. LIVE ON MatchTracker:
After surviving a "game of their lives" performance by Panama on Tuesday night (Feb. 3), the U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team is ready to meet border rival Canada in its second Group A match of the Final Round of CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament tonight at 8 p.m. (local/CT) LIVE on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker. While the U.S. U-23 MNT features four players from the Under-20 Team (defenders Chad Marshall, Zak Whitbread, midfielder Bobby Convey and forward Ed Johnson) that just finished an impressive fifth place at UAE 2003, Canada features a whopping seven players (more than 1/3 of their final 20-player roster) from their eighth place finish at the same tournament that concluded in December. The seven players are: Elliott Godfrey, Kevin Harmse, Atiba Hutchison, Alim Karim, Winston Marshall, Sita-Taty Matondo and Josh Simpson. Each team will be missing one of those experienced youth players for tonight's match. The U.S. will be without Whitbread, who suffered a partial tear in his left quadricep muscle in the win over Panama, and flew back home to Liverpool to begin rehab for the injury. Meanwhile, Canada will be missing its key playmaker Julian de Guzman, who has returned to German club Hannover 96, where he plays alongside U.S. Men's National Team regulars Clint Mathis and Steve Cherundolo.

USA 4, PANAMA 3: In their opening win, the U.S. scored three goals in the first 30 minutes (Bobby Convey in the 7th, Brad Davis in the 28th and Landon Donovan in the 29th) only to have Panama storm back in the second half with goals in the 53rd, 57th and 71st minutes to level the score at 3-3. Convey scored the game winner in the 79th minute to help the U.S. escape with three points and the top spot in Group A in what goalkeeper D.J. Countess described as a "crazy, crazy, crazy game."

UPON FURTHER REVIEW...: During the course of Tuesday night's MatchTracker webcast, two of the U.S. goals were misidentified and were unable to be corrected within the live updates until after the match was over and the official game report was received by CONCACAF after most media outlets had filed their game stories. According to the official match report, the second U.S. goal was scored by Brad Davis, not Kyle Beckerman, while the third U.S. goal was scored by Landon Donovan, not Alecko Eskandarian. Also upon further review, additional assists were given for both of Convey's goals, with defender Chad Marshall's header setting up the first goal and Ed Johnson's misfired shot falling in the Convey's path to set up the game winner.

HONDURAS 1, CANADA 0:
Honduras needed just a 58th minute goal by midfielder Emil Martinez to defeat Canada 1-0 at Estadio 3 de Marzo in the first match on Monday night (Feb. 3). Martinez, who scored the game winner in a 1-0 win over Haiti on Nov. 16 in the first leg of their difficult second round Olympic Qualifying Tournament, again provided the lone goal when he ran on to a square ball at the top of the box that midfielder Clifford Laing dummied and stroked it past Canadian 'keeper Andrew Olivieri.  Honduras, who held Canada to just two shots on goal in the match, had a golden opportunity to make it 2-0 on an 80th minute penalty kick, but second-half sub Walter Martinez lifted his shot over the crossbar.


 
Canada (CAN)
Current MNT World Ranking: 87
Nickname: Maple Leafs
Head Coach: Bruce Twamley
Past Olympic Results: Have not advanced to the Summer Games since Los Angeles 1984, where they reached the quarterfinals but fell 4-2 on penalty kicks to the eventual silver medal winners Brazil.
Road to Guadalajara: Outscored their opponents 25-1 in their four previous 2004 CONCACAF U-23 qualifying matches, but 24 of those goals (including seven by towering forward Rob Friend) came in a first round thrashing of the U.S. Virgin Islands on Sept. 7 (10-0) and Sept. 10 (14-0). In their second round series, they fell to El Salvador 1-0 on Nov. 15, but came back to pull out a 1-0 win at home on Nov. 19, forcing extra time to determine the aggregate winner. After 30 minutes of scoreless sudden death play, Canada advanced 5-4 on penalty kicks.
Last Pre-Tournament Match: Tied Martinique 2-2 in a friendly in late December 2003.

Final Canada Olympic Qualifying Roster (* key player at each position)
Below is the updated 19-player Canada U-23 roster, broken down by position with club in parentheses:
Porteros / Goalkeepers (2):
Alim Karim (Syracuse University), Andrew Olivieri* (Montreal Impact);
Defensas / Defenders (6): Adam Braz (Montreal Impact -- A-League), Kevin Harmse (Tromso -- Norway), Winston Marshall (Wright State University), Victor Oppong (FC Saarbrucken -- Germany), Chris Pozniak* (Orebro SK -- Sweden), Justin Thompson (unsigned);
Volentes / Midfielders (8): Atiba Hutchinson (Osters IF -- Sweden), Tam Nsaliwa (SSV Jahn Regensburg -- Germany), David Masciantonio (A.C. Isola Liri -- Italy), Sita-Taty Matondo* (Montreal Impact -- A-League), Rocco Placentino (US Avellino -- Italy), Mathieu Savaria (Fairleigh Dickinson University), Joshua Simpson (University of Portland), Chris Williams (Montreal Impact -- A-League);
Delanteros / Forwards (3): Stephen Ademolu (Cleveland State University), Rob Friend* (Moss FK -- Norway), Elliott Godfrey (Watford FC -- England).

Group A Standings
Team            GP   W    L     T    GF    GA    GD    Pts.
USA              1      1     0     0     4        3       +1      3
Honduras       1      1     0     0     1        0       +1      3
Canada          1      0     1     0     0        1       -1       0
Panama          1      0     1     0     3        4       -1       0

Group A Results


Tue., Feb. 3

Honduras 1, Canada 0
USA 4, Panama 3

Thu., Feb. 5

Panama vs. Honduras       6 p.m. (local/CT)
USA vs. Canada              8 p.m. (local/CT)

Sat., Feb. 7

Canada vs. Panama         11 a.m. (local/CT)
Honduras vs. USA          1 p.m. (local/CT)

-- GROUP B UPDATE --

COSTA RICA ADVANCES TO SEMI-FINALS WITH 4-0 WIN OVER T&T: Costa Rica became the first team to advance to the all-important semi-finals and is sitting atop Group B after dropping T&T 4-0 last night (Feb. 4) at Estadio Jalisco. Forward Erick Scott had a pair of goals and sub Winston Parks added a goal and an assist in the decisive win. The "ticos" opened the scoring in the 30th minute when forward Alvaro Sabrorio, who later went off injured 10 minutes later and was replaced by Parks, struck a booming shot from 12 yards out past T&T goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams. After being frustrated with their finishing in the rest of the first half, Costa Rica exploded for three goals in 15 minutes to put to game out of reach, starting when Parks beat a T&T defender in the box and laid the ball off to Scott to tap it into an open net in the 64th minute. Costa Rica had a chance to go up 3-0 in the 68th minute when Scott pressured the 'keeper near the endline and stole the ball before Williams could pick it up. Scott quickly played a ball back to the top of the box to Pablo Brenes, but the central midfielder miskicked a soft shot right at Williams, who had scrambled back in front of the goal just in time for the save. It only took two more minutes to find the third goal, as Scott scored his second goal of the night in the 70th minute to put the game away. The ticos closed things out in the 78th minute with a goal from Parks for the final 4-0 result. In the last action of the match, T&T forward Devon Williams, who scored perhaps the goal of the tournament in a 3-1 loss to Mexico on Feb. 2, received a red card after shoving a Costa Rica player after fouling Costa Rica's Brenes at midfield and was ejected in the 84th minute.

MEXICO THROTTLES JAMAICA 4-0, ALSO QUALIFIES FOR SEMI'S: After watching Central American rival Costa Rica advance to the semifinals with a dominant 4-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago, the Mexico Sub-23s matched their result with a 4-0 blanking of Jamaica last night. With the win, Mexico is just one goal below Costa Rica in Group B on goal differential (+7 to +6) heading into Friday (Feb. 6) night's head-to-head contest, which will determine the seeding in the semis on Feb. 10. Tiny Mexico midfielder Luis Ernesto Perez was brilliant in his playmaking role, shredding the Jamaica defense to have a foot in all four of the team's goals. In just the 3rd minute, L. Perez beat two defenders through the middle of the field and was visciously hacked down in the box by Jamaica defender Shavar Thomas, resulting in his ejection in the 4th minute. After much commotion, Mexico captain Diego Martinez stepped up to the spot in the 5th minute to easily roll it inside the right post as Jamaica goalkeeper Richard McCallum sprang to his right. Perez got a goal of his own in the 18th minute, clanging a 10-yard shot off the underside of the crossbar and down behind the goal line to make it 2-0. Perez created the third goal as well, capitalizing on a steal in the Jamaica end and quickly sending a diagonal ball through the pourous Reggae Boyz back line to forward Juan Pablo Garcia for an easy finish past McCallum in the 25th minute. Despite their dominance and playing a man up for virtually the entire match, Mexico went into halftime with the same score and was the victim of bad luck and poor finishing that kept them off the board through 90 minutes. But El Tricolor only needed three minutes of extra time against tired Jamaican legs to grab a fourth and final goal, as Perez received a short corner and dipped a ball to the edge of the six-yard box, where forward Rafael Marquez snapped a header off McCallum's hands in the 92nd minute.

Group B Standings
Team            GP   W    L     T    GF    GA    GD    Pts.
Costa Rica     2      2     0     0     7        0       +7      6
Mexico          2      2     0     0     7        1       +6      6
T&T              2      0     2     0     1        7       -6       0
Jamaica          2      0     2     0     0        7       -7       0

Group B Results

Mon., Feb. 2

Costa Rica 3, Jamaica 0
Mexico 3, Trinidad & Tobago 1

Wed., Feb. 4

Costa Rica 4, T&T 0
Mexico 4, Jamaica 0

Fri., Feb. 6

Jamaica vs. T&T            6 p.m. (local/CT)
Mexico vs. Costa Rica   8 p.m. (local/CT)

For a complete tournament wrap-up, as well as an archive of past "Notes from Guadalajara" and updated team stats and bios, on the web, visit the U.S. Men's Olympic Qualifying competition page at the following link:
http://www.ussoccer.com/events/competitions.sps?iType=326

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