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U.S. Go Undefeated and Win CONCACAF Group A Qualifying Tournament With 2-0 Victory Over Costa Rica


 
  • Chad Barrett and Danny Szetela Score First-Half Goals To Lead U.S.
  • Schmid Moves to 7-0-0 in International Play Since Taking Over U-20s 
  • U.S. Goes Undefeated and Wins Sole Possession of U-20 CONCACAF Qualifying Final Round Group for First Time Ever 
CARSON, Calif. (January 16, 2005) — Already qualified for the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team claimed the top spot in Group A of the U-20 Final Round CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament with a 2-0 victory over Costa Rica this afternoon at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
   
With the victory, the U.S. finishes atop the group with nine points, marking the first time the U.S. has gone undefeated and finished in sole possession of first place in CONCACAF qualifying. The U.S. finished tied for first place on points two other times in 1998 and 2001, both times with Costa Rica, with tie-breakers needed to determine the final standings.  
   
The USA’s 2-0 victory also was celebrated by Panama as their 3-1 victory over Trinidad & Tobago in the early match allowed them to leapfrog Costa Rica and finish in second place to secure the second spot in the world championship from Group A. Panama and Costa Rica both finished with four points, but Panama advances with a superior number of total goals scored (4 to 3).
   
The U.S. scored 90 seconds into the match when Chad Barrett collected a Sacha Kljestan pass, dribbled past four defenders and slipped a low drive past Costa Rica goalkeeper Keilor Navas. Danny Szetela provided the second strike for the U.S. in the 38th minute when he buried a pass from Charlie Davies about 12 yards out.
   
“We started a number of new players, but I was confident they’d be able to get the job done and they did,” said U.S. Under-20 head coach Sigi Schmid. “While qualifying for Holland was our first objective, winning the group and going undefeated is a testament to how hard the players have worked over the past few months. Now we will concentrate on preparations for Holland over the next five-and-a-half months. ”
   
U.S. head coach Sigi Schmid started six new players compared to the first two qualifiers, but kept the backline of Hunter Freeman, Marvell Wynne, Patrick Phelan and Patrick Ianni. The backline was solid again, securing their second straight shutout of the tournament. The Under-20s set the record for the least amount of goals given up in CONCACAF qualifying since 1998 when the tournament was reformatted from to only two final groups of four teams.
   
Costa Rica was hoping for a win or a tie to secure a spot in Holland along with the U.S., but Barrett put those hopes on hold when he scorched the backline in just the second minute. Kljestan had the ball in midfield and found Barrett at the top of the box. With defenders on his back, the stout forward quickly turned towards goal, sliced through a crowd of four defenders and buried his shot past a helpless Navas. The goal was Barrett’s fifth international strike with the U.S. Under-20s.
   
Miscommunication between Phelan and goalkeeper Andrew Kartunen, who was starting his first game of the tournament, almost led to an equalizing goal by Costa Rica in the 21st minute. Phelan was running in front of Panama forward Franklin Chacon after a through ball into the box and expected Kartunen to come off his line and smother it, but the ‘keeper hesitated and Chacon tried to race in for the loose ball. Phelan was able to shield Chacon from the ball and the forward ended up falling to the ground looking for a penalty, but the referee waved play on.
   
In the 34th minute, Chacon had another great chance. Receiving a nice heel pass from Gherland McDonald, Chacon got past Phelan and then pushed it around Wynne for an open look, but his 16-yard blast went over the bar.
   
Three minutes later, Danny Szetela provided the U.S. with a two-goal lead. Arturo Alvarez served in a cross from the left flank that was deflected towards the endline to the left of the goal. Charlie Davies did well to track down and turn sharply past a defender, before slipping in a ball across the goalmouth past Barrett to a waiting Szetela, who buried his shot past Navas from 12 yards.
   
In the second half, it was Costa Rica with most of the play, getting a number of opportunities on goal. McDonald had three attempts himself in a nine-minute span, but couldn’t put any away.
   
McDonald was sent through by substitute Alonso Salazar on two identical plays in the 66th and 69th minute, getting free for shots on the right side of the penalty area. His first shot went high, but with the second he beat Kartunen, only to see it bounce off the right post. Five minutes later, Phelan slipped and Jose Cordero sent McDonald into the box once more time with just Kartunen to beat, but the striker’s lifted shot sailed wide right of the upper corner.
    
The U.S. had one last chance to add to their tournament-leading 10 goals when Phelan unleashed a rocket from 20 yards toward the upper-right corner, but Navas came up with a huge save, stretching out and snagging the shot.
   
This is the fifth straight time the U.S. has qualified for the world championship and their tenth overall. The U.S. qualifying streak ties Mexico’s five straight (1977, ’79, ’81, ’83, ’85).

The other two teams that will represent CONCACAF at the world championship will come from the CONCACAF U-20 Group B, which includes Honduras, Mexico, Canada and Jamaica. The tournament will be played in San Pedro Sula, Honduras from Jan. 26-30.
   
In Holland, the U.S. will look to improve on its impressive fifth place finish in the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship, when they reached the quarterfinals before falling to Argentina in overtime. The 24-team tournament will take place at five venues in Holland with games in Doetinchem, Emmen, Enschede, Kerkrade, Tilburg and Utrecht.
   
Along with the U.S. and the host, ten other teams have already booked a place at the world championship. Korea Republic, China PR, Japan and Syria are the Asia qualifiers and Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, Switzerland, Italy and Germany are in from Europe. 

- U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Game Report -

Participants: USA vs. Costa Rica
Competition: CONCACAF Group A Qualifying Tournament (Final Round) – Game 6
Location: The Home Depot Center; Carson, Calif.
Date: January 16, 2005
Weather: Sunny, warm; 78 degrees

Scoring Summary:

                           1    2    F
USA                   2    0    0
Costa Rica          0    0    0

USA – Chad Barrett (Sacha Kljestan)          2nd minute.
USA – Danny Szetela (Charles Davies)        37.   


Lineups:
USA: 18-Andrew Kartunen; 2-Hunter Freeman, 3-Marvell Wynne (6-Greg Dalby, 52), 4-Patrick Phelan, 5-Patrick Ianni (Capt.), 7-Sacha Kljestan, 9-Chad Barrett (11-Freddy Adu, 63), 10-Arturo Alvarez (15-Eddie Gaven, 69), 14-Charlie Davies, 16-Tim Ward, 17-Danny Szetela.
Subs not used: 1-Quentin Westberg, 8-Benny Feilhaber, 12-Will John, 13-Jacob Peterson.
Head Coach: Sigi Schmid.

CRC: 18-Keilor Navas; 6-Greivin Arce (5-Jose Luis Cordero, 72), 7-Mauricio Mora, 8-Gherland McDonald, 12-Kenny Mitchel (15-Alonso Salazar, 63), 13-Jody Steward (Capt.), 14-Jose Chan, 16-Franklin Chacon, 17-Cesar Carillo, 19-Roberto Mudarra (10-Windell Gabriel, 42), 20-Jose Garro.
Subs not used: 1-Daniel Cambronero; 3-Sebastian Segueira, 4-Esteban Granados, 21-Kenny Cunningham.
Head Coach: Carlos Watson.

Statistical Summary:
                              USA    TRI
Shots                        9        13
Shots on goal            3         3
Saves                       3         1
Fouls                       22       14
Corner Kicks           5         2
Offside                     2         1

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Marvell Wynne (caution)            13th minute.
USA – Danny Szetela (caution)              35.
USA – Chad Barrett (caution)                41.

Officials:
Referee: Jose Aguilar (SLV)
1st Assistant: Anthony Garwood (JAM)
2nd Assistant: Simon Fearn (CAN)
Fourth Official: Ruben Castellanos (GUA)

Chevrolet Man of the Match: Chad Barrett


STANDINGS / RESULTS
Team    GP    W    L    T    GF   GA     GD    Pts.
USA*    3      3     0     0     10    1       +9      9
PAN*    3      1     1     1     4      4         0      4
CRC     3       1     1     1     3      4        -1      4
TRI       3      0      3     0     3     11      -8      0
* qualified for 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship

Wednesday, Jan. 12
Costa Rica 1, Panama 1
USA 6, Trinidad & Tobago 1

Friday, Jan. 14
Costa Rica 2, Trinidad & Tobago 1
USA 2, Panama 0

Sunday, Jan. 16
Panama 3, Trinidad & Tobago 1
USA 2, Costa Rica 0

SCORING
Player                       Goals
Eddie Gaven (USA)    3
Freddy Adu (USA)    2
Alvaro Salazar (PAN)    2
Chad Barrett (USA)    1
Franklin Chacon (CRC)    1
Jose Luis Cordero (CRC)    1
Kevin Crooks (TRI)    1
Marcelle Francois (TRI)    1
Luis Gallardo (PAN)    1
Armando Gun (PAN)    1
Kendall Jagdeosingh (TRI)    1
Will John (USA)    1
Jacob Peterson (USA)    1
Alonso Salazar (CRC)    1
Danny Szetela (USA)    1
Own Goal (Radhanfah Abu Bakr – TRI)    1

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