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U.S. U-17 Men's National Team Clinches Top Spot in Group A with 3-0 Victory Against Honduras

TIJUANA, Mexico (April 25, 2009) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team defeated Honduras 3-0 to take the top place in Group A of the CONCACAF U-17 Championship. The win gave Wilmer Cabrera’s team a perfect three wins from three games. Nicholas Palodichuck, who had not played in either of the first two games, scored the first and third goals for the U.S. Jack McInerney added a goal in the 28th minute, bringing his total to a tournament-high five goals in three games.

With a berth to the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria locked up on Thursday, Cabrera was able to change his lineup and six new starters took the field against Honduras. With Dustin Corea and Emilio Orozco both entering the game at the start of the second half, all 20 players on the U.S. roster saw action during the group phase.

“It was a pretty match,” said Cabrera. “We had six players play who were not starters and with the other five players, we confronted a Honduran team who knew they had qualified already and that probably changed their perspective of the game.”

“Our first objective was to qualify for the World Cup. Our second objective was to play the greatest number of players possible. We have accomplished our tasks and we have done it by winning.”

Honduras sealed its place in Nigeria before even taking the field, as Canada’s loss to Cuba was enough to give the Central American nation one of the top two places in Group A. Despite both teams’ assured progression to the next round, the two sides had much to play for. The winner would take the group title and play the second place finisher from Group B in the semifinals on Wednesday, April 29.

Palodichuk’s first goal came in the 28th minute after a good buildup from the American attack. The ball started in the back line before moving to Juan Agudelo and eventually Joseph Gyau in the box. Gyau, who scored in the team’s win against Canada on Thursday, hit a hard shot that skipped to Honduras goalkeeper Jesus Rivera. Rivera did well to make the save, but he gave up a big rebound. Palodichuk timed his run perfectly to pounce on the rebound and made sure his effort would go in, firing it high into the net from close range.

Eight minutes later, McInerney doubled the U.S. lead. He received the ball from Gyau on the left side of the penalty area, took two touches to get inside the box and curled his shot around Rivera and inside the far post. The strike brought McInerney’s impressive scoring rate to five in the past three games and nine in six international games in 2009.

Honduras coach Eugenio Umanzor was ejected from the sideline for calling a team meeting following McInerney’s goal, leaving Honduras’ assistant coaches at the helm of the team’s comeback attempt. Umanzor will also miss his squad’s semifinal match while serving a one-game suspension.

Palodichuk struck again in stoppage time of the first half. The U.S. had moved upfield quickly, with McInerney receiving the ball in the center of the field. He brought the ball down as Palodichuk was coming toward him, and with two defenders closing in, Palodichuk struck the ball with the outside of his left foot. He caught both the defenders and the Honduras ‘keeper off guard, curling the ball nicely inside the far post from 25 yards out.

The Battleground, Wash. native became the sixth different goalscorer for the U.S. in the team’s first three games. He is also the third player to score more than one goal, joining McInerney and Sebastian Lletget (2).

Perry Kitchen and Tyler Polak were once again stalwarts on the back line, going the full 90 minutes for the third-straight game. Kitchen and Polak are the only players on any team at the CONCACAF U-17 Championship to have played all 270 minutes of the tournament so far. Goalkeeper Spencer Richey got his first start of the event, picking up the shutout by making three saves.

The U.S. brought its perfect record against Honduras at the U-17 level to 6-0-0, dating back to the regional championship in 1983.

Cabrera’s young side will learn its semifinal opponent on Sunday when Group B concludes play. Hosts Mexico and Costa Rica are battling for the top place in Group B with the winner of that game taking the group crown and the right to meet Honduras in the semifinal. Guatemala has a chance to advance to the World Cup with a win against Trinidad & Tobago and a Costa Rica loss.

Honduras became the 12th team to qualify for the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria from Oct. 24-Nov. 15. They joined the U.S. and Mexico in representing CONCACAF, with one bid from the region still outstanding. New Zealand won the Oceania bid on Friday afternoon. Nigeria has an automatic bid as host of the tournament, joining Algeria, Burkina Faso, Gambia and Malawi in representing Africa. Asia has also completed qualifying with Iran, Japan, Korea Republic and Uzbekistan slated to represent the continent in Nigeria. The South American tournament is currently underway in Inquique, Chile.

Match: U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team vs. Honduras
Date: April 25, 2009
Competition: CONCACAF Under-17 Championship
Venue: Estadio Caliente; Tijuana, Mexico
Kickoff: 4 p.m. PT
Weather: 70 degrees, clear

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                            3 0 0
HON                           0 0 0

USA – Nicholas Palodichuk (Joseph Gyau)          28th minute
USA – Jack McInerney (Joseph Gyau)                    36
USA – Nicholas Palodichuk (Jack McInerney)      45+

USA: 18-Spencer Richey; 3-Tyler Polak, 2-Eriq Zavaleta (12-Emilio Orozco, 46), 14-Zachary Herold, 4-Perry Kitchen (capt.); 15-Carlos Martinez, 5-Marlon Duran (7-Stefan Jerome, 65), 17-Juan Agudelo, 16-Nicholas Palodichuk; 9-Jack McInerney (11-Dustin Corea, 46), 13-Joseph Gyau
Subs not used: 1-Earl Edwards, 20-Sebastian Lletget, 10-Luis Gil, 19-Andrew Craven
Subs not available: 8-Alex Shinksy, 6-Jared Watts
Head Coach: Wilmer Cabrera

HON: 1-Jesus Rivera Coto; 3-John Rivera Reyes, 4-Ever Alvarado, 5-Helder Martinez Reyes, 7-Wilmer Fuentes (9-Diego Rodriguez, 66), 10-Alexander Agustin Lopez, 11-Antony Lozano Colon (capt.) (17-Jose Sanchez Paz, 80), 13-Jose Tobias Chavez, 14-Allan Rivas Flores, 16-Jair Aragon Castellon (8-Roberto Lopez Mejia, 46), 18-Nestor Martinez
Subs not used: 6-Allan Gutierrez, 12-Harold Fonseca, 15-Rosendo Gonzalez, 19-Hector Matute Lopez
Subs not available: 2-Nixon Duarte Duarte
Head Coach: Eugenio Umanzor

Stats Summary: USA / HON
Shots: 12 / 4
Shots on Goal: 7 / 3
Saves: 3 / 4
Corner Kicks: 2 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
HON – Antony Lozano Colon (caution)          33rd minute

Referee: Stanley Lancaster (GUY)
Assistant Referee 1: Dieon Neil (TRI)
Assistant Referee 2: William Rocha (NIC)
Fourth Official: Raymond Bogle (JAM) Man of the Match:
Nicholas Palodichuk