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U.S. U-17 MNT Faces Costa Rica on Saturday with Automatic Berth to FIFA World Championship at Stake

U.S. Under-17 MNT Notes
San Jose, Costa Rica
April 15, 2005

The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team is still in control of its own destiny despite drawing 1-1 with Cuba in their second match of the 2005 CONCACAF Under-17 Group A Qualifying on Thursday (April 14) evening. The U.S. can secure an automatic berth in the 2005 FIFA Under-17 World Championship with a victory over Costa Rica in their third and final match on Saturday, April 16. Kickoff is set at 7 p.m. local (9 p.m. ET) at the Estadio Eladio Rosabal Cordero in Heredia, and fans can follow live on’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

2005 CONCACAF Under-17 Qualifying Tournament
Team   GP  W   L   T  GF  GA  GD  Pts.
CRC      2     2   0   0    5     1      4      6
USA       2    1    0   1    4     1      3      4
CUB      2     0   1   1    1     4     -3      1
SLV       2     0   2   0    1     5     -4      0

Tuesday, April 12
USA 3, El Salvador 0
Costa Rica 3, Cuba 0

Thursday, April 14
USA 1, Cuba 1
Costa Rica 2, El Salvador 1

Saturday, April 16
Cuba vs. El Salvador 4:30 p.m. local time (6:30 p.m. ET)
Costa Rica vs. USA 7 p.m. local time (9 p.m. ET)

With their second straight loss in the qualifying tournament, El Salvador was eliminated from any chance of advancing to the FIFA Under-17 World Championship, meaning the automatic berth and the playoff berth are up for grabs between Costa Rica (6 points), the U.S. (4) and Cuba (1). Costa Rica is guaranteed to finish in either first or second place as no matter what Cuba does they can not get more than four points. Cuba’s only chance is to defeat El Salvador big and have the U.S. lose big, providing them with a better goal differential. The U.S. currently leads the first tiebreaker with a +3 goal differential compared to Cuba’s –3 goal differential.


Here are the possible scenarios on how the U.S. Under-17 MNT can finish depending on the team’s result against Costa Rica on Saturday.
      1) The U.S. can only receive the automatic berth with a win over Costa Rica to finish atop the group, as the winner of Group A automatically qualifies for the FIFA Under-17 World.
      2) A draw against Costa Rica would secure the U.S. with a second-place finish and keep their world championship hopes alive, as they would play a two-game playoff for the final CONCACAF berth. The U.S. would face the second-place finisher in Group B, which will be contested among Mexico, Canada, Haiti and Honduras in Mexico from May 17-21, in a home-and-away playoff series. The dates and location of the two matches would be decided after Group B play is completed.
      3) The U.S. could also finish in second place and compete in playoff series if they lose to Costa Rica, depending on the match between Cuba and El Salvador. A Cuba win would pull the teams even at four points and it would move to tiebreakers, the first being goal differential.

The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team is following down the exact same path as the U-17 team in 2003. During the 2003 CONCACAF Under-17 Qualifying Tournament the U.S. defeated Jamaica by a 3-0 margin in their first game only to slip up in their second game and draw 1-1 with El Salvador. “I feel a little déjà vu here,” said Hackworth who was an assistant under John Ellinger two years ago. The U.S. is hoping it will continue down the path laid before them by the likes of Freddy Adu, Eddie Gaven and Jonathan Spector, with a victory in their final match and an automatic berth to the FIFA Under-17 World Championship (in ’03 the U.S. defeated Guatemala 3-0).

As the U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team gets prepared for their final match in qualifying against Costa Rica, read what head coach John Hackworth and players Kyle Nakazawa, Blake Wagner, Nikolas Besagno and Preston Zimmerman have to say about fighting for an automatic berth to the FIFA World Championship.

Two U.S. players – David Arvizu and Amaechi Igwe, picked up their second straight yellow cards in the match against Cuba and will be suspended for the final match against Costa Rica. Arvizu and Igwe were both given their first cautions during the same sequence in the first half of the El Salvador game.

U.S. midfielder Kyle Nakazawa is on a three-game goal-scoring streak. The California native hadn’t scored a single international goal for the U-17s before he buried the third goal in the team’s 4-0 drubbing of Haiti on April 3, their last match before qualifying. During the qualifying tournament, Nakazawa has provided the U.S. with a goal against El Salvador and Cuba, upping his international goal total to three.

You’ve been behind the scenes with the full MNT during World Cup qualifying. You got a close up look of the Under-20 Men as they qualified for the FIFA World Youth Championship. Now it’s the U-17s turn to let you into their world as they traverse the difficult qualifying road in the not-so-friendly confines of Costa Rica. In today’s segment check out video of the game vs. Cuba.
Link: /teams/youth/u-17mnt/fwc.jsp.html

Australia became the fifth team to secure a spot in the 2005 FIFA Under-17 World Championship when they defeated Vanuatu 1-0 in the final match of the Oceania Qualifying Tournament on Friday (April 15) in Noumea, New Caledonia. Australia joins host Peru and Asian qualifiers China, DPR Korea and Qatar. When Australia competes in the World Championship in Peru from Sept. 16- Oct. 2, it will mark their fourth straight appearance at the world stage and tenth overall as they’ve only missed out on one tournament. After speeding through their group matches, which included a 26-0 pasting of Tonga, Australia had a tougher test when they met the Solomon Islands in the semifinals, but pulled out a 2-0 victory. The final was a rematch of a group match between the two countries, which Australia won 4-0, but this meeting was much closer as striker David Williams scored the game-winner in the 82nd minute. Williams finished as the top scorer in the tournament with nine goals.

Before the tournament everyone expected the final match of the tournament between Costa Rica and the U.S. to be the deciding game, and it will be. The U.S. will have its hands full trying to pull out a win against the host as Costa Rica needs only a draw to secure the top spot in the qualifying tournament and the automatic berth to Peru. Costa Rica is the most dangerous team the U.S. will face and will have to slow an offensive attack that scored three goals against Cuba and two against El Salvador.

GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Alfonso Quesada, 18-Armando Venegas;
DEFENDERS (6): 2-Alonso Vargas, 3-Rudy Forbes, 5-Carlos Chacon, 6-David Calvo, 17-Dave Andrew Myrie, 20-Kendall Watson;
MIDFIELDERS (5): 4-Fernando Paniagua, 7-Roberto Carillo, 10-Luis Diego Cordero, 13-Celso Borges, 15-Esteban Rodriguez;
FORWARDS (5): 9-Julio Cesar Garcia, 11-Jean Carlos Solorzano, 14-Carlos Sandoval, 19-Guillermo Guardia, 21-Cesar Elizondo Quesada.

Costa Rica has put themselves in the driver’s seat with victories in their two previous CONCACAF Group A qualifying matches. A win or a draw and they will win Group A and get the automatic berth to the FIFA U-17 World Championship, which is in Peru from Sept. 16-Oct. 2. Here’s a look at the last time out by Costa Rica:

April 14, 2005 - Estadio Eladio Rosabal Cordereo; Heredia, Costa Rica -2005 CONCACAF Qualifying, Group A

Costa Rica     2      Julio Cesar Garcia 29’, Carlos Sandoval 83’
El Salvador    0      Kevin Escobar 47’

CRC: 1-Alfonso Quesada; 3-Rudy Forbes (capt.), 4-Fernando Paniagua, 6-David Calvo, 7-Roberto Carrillo (14-Carlos Sandoval, 60); 9-Julio Cesar García, 10-Luis Diego Cordero (15-Esteban Rodriguez, 85), 11-Jean Carlos Solórzano, 13-Celso Borges, 17-Dave Andrew Myrie (21-Cesar Elizondo Quesada, 74), 20-Kendall Waston.

SLV: 22-Benji Oldai Villalobos; 3-Fernando Flores, 7-Victor Samuel Turcios (José Nelson Hernandez, 85), 8-Edgar Espinoza, 9-Cesar Mauricio Vasquez (Herberth Ulloa, 36); 10-Jilber Adonay Alvarez, 12-Jhonny Hernandez, 14-Jersson Gaytan (13-Sergio Palacios, 76), 18-Kevin Escobar; 20-Josue Odir Flores, 21-Joel Ely Serrano.

Costa Rica has won the final round of the CONCACAF U-17 Qualifying Tournament just one time before, claiming the crown in 1994. Costa Rica went undefeated in the final round, defeating Trinidad & Tobago (7-1), the Netherlands Antilles (5-0) and then defeating the U.S. (4-1) in their final match. The U.S., which finished in second place and advanced, actually beat Costa Rica in the first round 2-1.

Costa Rica has qualified for five of the 10 FIFA Under-17 World Championships, advancing to four of the past five (’95, ’97, ’01 and ’03). The five appearances on the world stage are the most by any Central American nation. The Ticos qualified for the first FIFA World Championship at this age group in 1985 when the competition was a U-16 tournament (it changed to U-17 in 1991), becoming the first Central American nation to accomplish the feat.

As host of the final round of the CONCACAF U-17 Qualifying Tournament for the first time, Costa Rica did not need to qualify.

The U.S. has faced Costa Rica six times in qualifying (four in the final round) and holds an even 2-2-2 record against the Ticos. The U.S. Under-17s only two losses against Costa Rica came in the first round of qualifying in ’94 and ’96, while going undefeated (2-0-2) against them in the final round. Costa Rica holds a slight edge on goals, scoring 11 against the U.S., while only allowing 10 against, but the U.S. has the only shutout of the six meetings, snagging a 2-0 victory in their first match-up in qualifying.
U.S.-Costa Rica Qualifying Results
Date                   Result                             Location
Feb. 24, 1999   USA 2, Costa Rica 2   Montego Bay, Jamaica (final round)
Aug. 22. 1996   Costa Rica 3, USA 2   Port of Spain, Trinidad (first round)
Aug. 31, 1996   USA 1, Costa Rica 1   Port of Spain, Trinidad (final round)
Nov. 7, 1994      Costa Rica 4, USA 1   San Salvador, El Salvador (first round)
Nov. 9, 1994      USA 2, Costa Rica 1   San Salvador, El Salvador (final round)
Feb. 26, 1987    USA 2, Costa Rica 0   Honduras (final round)

A few Costa Rica players have received a caution in their first two matches, but none have accumulated two in two games, meaning all their players will be available against the U.S.

"It's a simple question. If the moon was made of barbecue spare ribs, would you eat it?"
-- Will Ferrell doing an impression of Harry Carey on Saturday Night Live. The team watched the "Best of Will Ferrell" DVD during lunch in the dining room.

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