KINGSTON, Jamaica (May 4, 2007) — Despite allowing three goals in the final 14 minutes losing, 3-2, to Jamaica in their third match in Group B of the 2007 CONCACAF Final Round Qualifying Tournament this evening, the U.S. managed to qualify for their record 12th straight FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The U.S. was guaranteed a spot in the World Cup this summer in South Korea before taking the field at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica, due to Trinidad & Tobago’s surprising 2-1 upset against Canada in the first match of the doubleheader. Trinidad’s victory mathematically advanced the U.S. as they can not finish lower than third place. The top three teams in the group earn a berth to the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup, which will take place in eight venues in South Korea from Aug. 18-Sept. 9.
For the third straight game, the U.S. notched two goals in the opening half as Sheanon Williams and Alex Nimo scored, but three goals by Jamaica, including a penalty kick in injury time, sunk the U.S. chances of staying undefeated.
The loss broke the USA’s 18-game undefeated streak in qualifying matches at the U-17 age level. The U.S. had not lost a U-17 qualifying match since Aug. 26, 1996, when they fell in the final round to Mexico, 3-1.
The U.S. continued their streak as the only country to qualify for every FIFA U-17 World Cup and will now attempt to win their qualifying group for the fourth straight time when they face off against Costa Rica in their final match on Sunday, May 6 at 6 p.m. ET. Fans can follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
“We may have qualified before the match, but our main focus was always on Jamaica and we didn’t get the result we wanted,” said U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Hackworth, who qualified for his second straight World Cup. “Give a lot of credit to Jamaica for coming back, but we need to rectify things that we didn’t do well. I thought we started playing more direct and playing for a 2-0 result, which you can’t do. We didn’t handle it right and now we’ll have to try and turn things around against Costa Rica.”
“Right now it’s a bit difficult to celebrate that we qualified for South Korea, but we did accomplish one of the goals we had so I’m proud of our players for getting that done. But they know we came here with bigger aspirations and that was to win the group. We’ll get prepared to the best of our ability for Costa Rica.”
Costa Rica, which leads the group with seven points, qualified for the World Cup after their third match on Wednesday. The U.S. and Costa Rica faced off for the qualifying group title in 2005 as well, with the U.S. winning, 2-1, in Heredia, Costa Rica.
Canada, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago are all still alive and have a chance to qualify for the World Cup depending on the result of the final match of the tournament between Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago. Canada, which has a bye on the final match day, finished with only four points and can only qualify if the match finishes in a draw.
The U.S. was once again without the services of leading scorer Ellis McLoughlin, who was suspended for two games after receiving a red card late against Trinidad & Tobago in the team’s opening match, but Sheanon Williams picked up the scoring from his right back position in the 15th minute. The former forward, playing in his third game in five days, collected a long ball from Mykell Bates down the right sideline and looked up to see he had space in front of him. Noticing the goalkeeper a bit out of position, Williams uncorked a rocket from the right corner of the penalty area into the upper left corner, hitting side netting.
The U.S. took a commanding two-goal lead in the 33rd minute when Nimo scored his third goal of the tournament. Forward Billy Schuler dropping back in the midfield to help defend, got a hold of the ball and quickly feed Nimo out wide right where he was unmarked and had space to run. Nimo collected the ball 25 yards from goal and dribble on goal uncontested, slipping the ball past Jamaican goalkeeper Oneil Wilson and into the lower left corner.
As the second half went along, the U.S. steadily got away from their game plan and had trouble keeping possession or creating much of an attack. Jamaica on the other hand, started to build momentum and found gaps in the U.S. backline to push forward and test Lambo.
After a questionable foul was called against Jared Jeffrey, giving Jamaica a dangerous free kick at the top of the box, Hackworth was sent off for expressing his displeasure with the call in the 70th minute. Hackworth may have to sit out the USA’s final match against Costa Rica, but a final ruling will be provided by CONCACAF on Saturday.
Shortly after Hackworth’s departure, Jamaica got on the scoreboard in the 78th minute. A nice give-and-go on the left sideline allowed a cross into the box to find Shamari Brown, who had time to take a settling touch before finishing a 15-yard strike past Lambo.
Four minutes later, Jamaica scored the equalizer that was started with another give-and-go, but this time from the right side between John Ross Doyley and Brown. Free down the sideline, Doyley served in a cross to the back post that was headed back across by Andre Steele to Orgill Dever who hit a one-timer into the lower right corner.
With just injury time left deciding Jamaica’s fate, the hosts pushed forward into the attack knowing they needed a victory to keep their World Cup hopes alive. With the crowd back into the match, Kabari Palmer pushed up the left sideline and sent in a cross that hit Bates arm. The referee pointed to the spot and the crowd erupted when Doyley stepped up and roofed the shot into the upper netting past Lambo for the game-winner.
Jamaica’s coach, David Hunt, didn’t see the final moments of the match as he was also sent off by the referee for leaving the coaches box in front of the bench.
The U.S. became the 18th team to qualify for the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup and the fourth of five CONCACAF teams. The other two CONCACAF berths (besides Costa Rica) are Haiti and Honduras, which qualified from Group A. The U.S. will find out their opponents for the FIFA 2007 U-17 World Cup later this month when the draw is held in South Korea.
This will be the second team Hackworth will take to a FIFA U-17 World Cup, having coached the U.S. Under-17s at the 2005 event in Peru, leading the team to an impressive fifth place finish.
U.S. midfielder/forward Abdusalam Ibrahim will be unavailable for the Costa Rica match as he received his second caution of the tournament a few minutes later.
- U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team Game Report -
Participants: USA vs. Jamaica
Competition: CONCACAF Group B Qualifying Tournament (Final Round)
Location: National Stadium; Kingston, Jamaica
Date: May 4, 2007
Weather: Warm, 80 degrees
1 2 F
USA 2 0 2
JAM 0 3 3
USA – Sheanon Williams (Mykell Bates) 15th minute
USA – Alex Nimo (Billy Schuler) 33.
JAM – Shamari Brown 78.
JAM – Orgill Dever (Andre Steele) 82.
JAM – John Ross Doyley (penalty kick) 91+
USA: 1-Josh Lambo; 2-Sheanon Williams, 3-Mykell Bates (Capt.), 6-Daniel Wenzel, 16-Brandon Zimmerman, 19-Alex Nimo (12-Brendan King, 68), 8-Jared Jeffrey, 7-Nicholas Millington, 15-Brek Shea (11-Abdusalam Ibrahim, 61); 10-Bryan Dominguez (14-Jesse Paredes, 80), 13-Billy Schuler.
Subs not used: 4-Howard Turk, 5-Thomas Meyer, 17-Gregory Garza, 18-Zach MacMath, 20-Alex Dixon
Not Available: 9-Ellis McLoughlin
Head Coach: John Hackworth
JAM: 1-Oneil Wilson, 20-Shamari Brown, 17-Jermaine Jarret, 18-Damaine Thompson, 8-Kenniel Hyde; 4-Christopher Banner (15-Noel Mais, 24), 19-Kabari Palmer, 16- John Ross Doyley, 23-Yannick Salmon (7-Akeen Brown. 59); 11-Dever Orgill, 22-Christopher Wauch (5-Andre Steele, 73)
Subs not used: 3-Peter Kafach, 9-Marvin Boothe, 10-McKauly Tulloch, 12-Adrian Christian, 13-Andre Blake, 14-Shabon Brown.
Head Coach: David Hunt
Statistical Summary: USA JAM
Shots 11 9
Shots on goal 2 5
Saves 3 0
Fouls 16 5
Corner Kicks 2 4
Offside 13 0
JAM – Damaine Thompson (caution) 36th minute
USA - Abdusalam Ibrahim (caution) 65.
JAM – John Ross Doyley (caution) 84.
Referee: Luis Rodriguez (PAN)
1st Assistant: Hector Delgadillo (MEX)
2nd Assistant: Hiron Dopicio Perez (CUB)
Fourth Official: Roberto Garcia (MEX)
Sierra Mist Man of the Match: Sheanon Williams
2007 Final Round CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament
RESULTS / STANDINGS
Team GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
CRC 3 2 0 1 3 0 +3 7
USA 3 2 1 0 7 4 +3 6
CAN 4 1 2 1 5 4 +1 4
JAM 3 1 2 0 3 6 -3 3
TRI 3 1 2 0 2 6 -4 3
Saturday, April 28
Costa Rica 2, Trinidad & Tobago 0
Canada 3, Jamaica 0
Monday, April 30
Costa Rica 0, Canada 0
USA 3, Trinidad & Tobago 0
Wednesday, May 2
USA 2, Canada 1
Costa Rica 1, Jamaica 0
Friday, May 4
Trinidad & Tobago 2, Canada 1
Jamaica 3, USA 2
Sunday, May 6
USA vs. Costa Rica
Jamaica vs. Trinidad & Tobago