CHARLESTON, S.C. (Friday, November 15, 2002) - The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team qualified for the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship with a 1-0 win over El Salvador in their second game of the CONCACAF Under-20 Group B Qualifying Tournament tonight at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. With the win, the U.S. qualified for their fourth straight World Youth Championship for the first time in U.S. Soccer history. The 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship will be held in the United Arab Emirates from March 25 – April 16, 2003.
The win did not come easy for the U.S., who played 71 minutes with 10 men, and were rewarded in the 85th minute with a bizarre own goal. Moments after Bobby Convey nearly put the U.S. on the board with a beautiful left-footed free kick, El Salvador’s Alexander Escobar inadvertently headed the ensuing corner kick into his own net from four yards out.
The U.S. wraps up the CONCACAF qualifying tournament against Canada on Sunday, Nov. 17 at 2:30 p.m. ET.
“We came to this tournament with one goal, and tonight we accomplished that,” said U.S.head coach Thomas Rongen. “We knew coming into the game that three points would get us into the World Championship, and although we didn’t do it in a way I thought it would happen, we still did what we had to do. I am very proud of our guys, because tonight we battled against adversity and showed a tremendous amount of heart in a difficult situation.”
The U.S. did not make qualification easy on themselves, going down to ten men in the 19th minute when Santino Quaranta was shown a red card for a violent foul on Escobar. Quaranta, as well as head coach Thomas Rongen, who was shown a red card for entering the field of play in the 87th minute, will both miss Sunday’s clash against Canada.
For the second straight match, the U.S. defense posted a shutout and proved to be difference. The U.S. backline of goalkeeper Steve Cronin and defenders Chad Marshall, Ryan Cochrane, C.J. Klaas and Jordan Harvey held El Salvador to only eight shots in the game, despite playing down a man for well over and hour.
U.S. goalkeeper Steve Cronin produced five saves in the match, including three difficult saves in the final 11 minutes to preserve his fourth international shutout of the year. Cronin’s biggest save of the match came in the 79th minute, when Roberto Ochoa broke into the penalty area all alone, but the Santa Clara goalkeeper pounced off his line to snuff Ochoa’s point-blank effort.
The USA had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 40th minute, when Devin Barclay’s first time shot was just saved by a sliding Henry Hernandez. Justin Mapp’s cross skidded across the face of the goal, just inches in front of a sliding Bobby Convey, and found Barclay all alone at the back post. Barclay’s first time shot from 10 yards hit Hernandez, who is able to smother the loose ball.
The U.S. created plenty of chances in the first 80 minutes of the game, but were unable to finish in the penalty box. Quaranta just missed wide with a solo effort in the 15th minute. Ed Johnson followed suit, firing a one-timer just wide after nice combination play from Devin Barclay and Bobby Convey.
Convey almost single-handedly produced the goal of the tournament late in the first half, weaving his way on a 40-yard run through the Salvadoran defense and then misfiring with an off-balance shot as he approached the penalty area.
In the evening’s first match, Haiti played Canada to a 0-0 draw. The result left both teams in the hunt for Group B’s second spot in the World Youth Championship. Haiti will open Sunday’s action against the already eliminate Salvadoran squad, with the border clash between the U.S. and Canada to follow at 2:30 p.m. ET. Canada can secure a spot in the world championship with a draw on Sunday.
Game Notes: The U.S. wore white jerseys with blue shorts and white socks … El Salvador wore their traditional blue jerseys with white shorts and blue socks … Santino Quaranta played with a splint wrapped in soft foam on his left pinky finger, which he broke in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Haiti … Prior to the game both teams honored a moment of silence for Fritz Marth, who worked as an USASA Administrator from 1981-2002 … The referee for the match was Armando Archundia of Mexico … Canada can clinch a spot in the final with a draw against the U.S. on Sunday, but a Canada loss and a Haiti win over El Salvador will land each team on four points ... The tiebreakers for this tournament are: head-to-head, total points between them, total goal differential, total goals scored ... Seven of the players who started the match for El Salvador also started the Under-17 qualifier against the U.S. on April 22, 2001 ... Guatemala’s Henry Hernandez was named the goalkeeper of the tournament at the Under-17 qualifying tournament in St. Louis in April 2001.
- U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Game Report -
Participants: U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team vs. El Salvador
Competition: CONCACAF Under-20 Qualifying Tournament
Location: Blackbaud Stadium; Charleston, S.C.
Date: November 15, 2002
Weather: 51 degrees; clear, crisp
Scoring Summary: 1st - 2nd - Final
United States 0 - 1 - 1
El Salvador 0 - 2 - 2
USA – Own goal (Alexander Escobar) 85th minute.
USA - 1-Steve Cronin; 2-Jordan Harvey, 4-Chad Marshall, 5-Ryan Cochrane, 8-C.J. Klaas; 3-Justin Mapp, 11-Ricardo Clark (6-Jordan Stone, 78), 10-Bobby Convey (captain) (15-David Johnson, 90), 13-Devin Barclay; 7-Ed Johnson, 9-Santino Quaranta.
Subs not used: 14-Chris Lancos, 16-Frank Simek. 17-Knox Cameron, 18-Clint Baumstark, 19-Ned Grabavoy.
SLV - 1-Henry Hernandez; 3-Edwin Carranza, 4-Alexander Escobar, 5-Enmanuel Castillo, 6-Jhon Garcia, 8-Marvin Bernal (15-Juan Bonilla, 81), 9-Dennis Alas (capt.), 10-Juan Francisco Leiva, 14-Roberto Ochoa, 17-Christian Carranza, 20-Juan Carlos Villalta (7-Jose Ochoa, 72).
Subs not used: 2-Juan Jose Aviles, 11-Jose Burgos, 12-Andres Rivera, 18-Isaac Zelaya, 22-Walvin Zetino.
Statistical Summary: USA SLV
Shots 13 - 8
Saves 5 - 2
Corner Kick 4 - 1
Fouls 17 - 12
Offside 2 - 6
USA – Santino Quaranta (ejection) 19th minute.
USA – Ed Johnson (caution) 58.
SLV – Enmanuel Castillo (caution) 70.
SLV – Christian Carranza (caution) 82.
SLV – Roberto Ochoa (caution) 83.
USA – Thomas Rongen (ejection) 87.
Referee: Armando Archundia MEX
Assistant Referee 1: Hector Delgadillo MEX
Assistant Referee 2: Amato Deluca CAN
Fourth Official: Alejandro Jimenez CRC
CONCACAF Group B Standings
Team GP W L T GF:GA Pts.
USA 2 2 0 0 3:0 6
Canada 2 1 0 1 2:0 4
Haiti 2 0 1 1 0:2 1
El Salvador 2 0 2 0 0:3 0
Wednesday, Nov. 17
Canada 2 El Salvador 0
USA 2 Haiti 0
Friday, Nov. 15
Haiti 0 Canada 0
USA 1 El Salvador
Sunday, Nov. 17
12 p.m El Salvador vs. Haiti
2:30 p.m. USA vs. Canada