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U-17s Ready for Do or Die Match Against Guatemala on Sunday

Sunday, March 9, 2003
Estadio Mateo Flores
Guatemala City, Guatemala

The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team plays Guatemala in their final match of the CONCACAF Under-17 Qualifying Tournament tomorrow at 1 pm local time (2 p.m. ET) at Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City.  The match can be followed live on’s MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. 

There are a number of scenarios that would see the U.S. through to the world championship or to the CONCACAF play-off (see below for a detailed breakdown), but one scenario is rather simple to understand – if the U.S. tops Guatemala, they will finish first in the group and clinch a spot in the FIFA Under-17 World Championship.  With a draw the U.S. at least clinches a spot in the CONCACAF play-off.  The second-place team from this group (Group A) will meet the second place team from Group B (Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, Canada) in a home-and-home playoff, with the winner advancing to the world championship.


Team              GP   W    L  T   GF   GA  Pts
USA                2      1    0   1    4       1     4
Jamaica            2      1    1   0    3       5     3
El Salvador      2      0     0   2    3      3     2
Guatemala        2      0    1   1    4       5     1

March 5
USA 3  Jamaica 0
Guatemala 2   El Salvador 2

March 7
USA 1  El Salvador  1
Guatemala   2  Jamaica  3

March 9
El Salvador vs. Jamaica  11 a.m. local
USA  vs. Guatemala  1 p.m. local

With a win against Guatemala, the U.S. clinches first place and a ticket to Finland.  However, the U.S. can still clinch first place or second place and a spot in the CONCACAF playoff without winning.  What follows is a breakdown of three possible scenarios in tomorrow’s first match (El Salvador vs. Jamaica), and what the U.S. would have to do – other than win - to qualify for the world championship or the CONCACAF playoff.

The U.S. takes second place with a draw against Guatemala.

The U.S. will finish in first place with a draw against Guatemala if El Salvador doesn’t win by more than two goals.  If the U.S. draws and El Salvador wins by more than three goals, the U.S. will finish in second place.  If the U.S. draws and El Salvador wins by exactly three goals, first place in the group will go down to a tiebreaker of goals scored – the U.S. enters Sunday’s matches with four goals scored, and El Salvador enters with three.

The U.S. clinches first place with a draw.  If the U.S. loses, three teams – USA, Jamaica and Guatemala – would all finish with four points.  The U.S. would finish in first due to goal differential if they only lost by one goal, and would finish in second place if they lost by four goals or less. 

The U.S., which has the tournament’s top defense through two matches, deals with one of the tournament’s top offenses (four goals scored) and the tournament’s leading scorer – Jonny Brown – tomorrow.  Brown tallied twice in Guatemala’s opening 2-2 draw and is the only player with multiple goals in the tournament.

2 goals
Jonny Brown (GUA)

1 goal
José Contreras (GUA)
Lisandro Perez (GUA)
Anthony Christie (JAM)
Seon Giveans (JAM)
Phillip Hall (JAM)
Carlos Calderon (SLV)
Christopher Dulce (SLV)
Josue Guardado (SLV)
Freddy Adu (USA)
Corey Ashe (USA)
John DiRaimondo (USA)
Guillermo Gonzalez  (USA)

3-0 U.S. Win - March 5, 2003

The U.S. wasted little time jumping on Jamaica on Wednesday, scoring five minutes into the game on their first shot, as Corey Ashe volleyed home a Freddy Adu cross.  John DiRaimondo added a goal late in the first half, and the U.S. defense completely shut down a Jamaican attack that had scored 19 goals in their previous six qualifiers before Adu closed the game with a brilliant solo goal in added time of the second half.  The U.S. outshot Jamaica 18-8, and goalkeeper Phil Marfuggi was only required to make two saves to preserve the shutout.  Lineup vs. Jamaica:
USA - 1-Phil Marfuggi; 2-Kyle Helton, 3-Jonathon Spector, 5-Brandon Owens (capt), 16-Adrian Chevannes; 7-Brian Grazier, 15-Corey Ashe, 10-Guillermo Gonzalez (17-Daniel Szetela,, 79), 8-John DiRaimondo; 11-Freddy Adu, 4-Eddie Gaven (13-Jamie Watson, 84).

1-1 Draw - March 7, 2003

As they did in the first game, the U.S. scored first against El Salvador, as Guillermo Gonzalez scored from the penalty spot after his slick pass set up Eddie Gaven in the penalty area, where Gaven was taken down.  However, as El Salvador did in their opener, they recovered from a half-time deficit to equalize, this time Josue Guardado pounced on a rebound after Phil Marfuggi did well to save Christopher Dulce’s free kick.  The U.S. was reduced to 10 men in the 84th minute, when Brian Grazier was shown his second caution of the evening.
USA - 1-Phil Marfuggi; 6-Chris Germani, 3-Jonathon Spector, 5-Brandon Owens (capt), 16-Adrian Chevannes (2-Kyle Helton, 75); 7-Brian Grazier, 15-Corey Ashe (captain), 10-Guillermo Gonzalez (17-Daniel Szetela, 88), 8-John DiRaimondo; 11-Freddy Adu, 4-Eddie Gaven.

The U.S. defense is in the midst of one of the most impressive runs in U.S. Under-17 history, posting 14 shutouts in their last 23 matches.  The U.S. defense has been the stiffest in Guatemala, allowing only one goal.  Discounting three matches against MLS teams earlier this year, the U.S. team has only allowed seven goals in their last 20 matches.  The goal the U.S. conceded in the second half of the match against El Salvador was the first goal scored in the last seven halves of international soccer against the U.S.

U.S. midfielder Brian Grazier will miss tomorrow’s crucial clash after receiving two cautions and the subsequent red card.  Prior to his ejection in the 84th minute, Grazier had played every minute of every 2003 international.

Tomorrow the U.S. will see the same referee crew that officiated their first two matches in Guatemala City.  Marcos Rodriguez (MEX) will run the middle of the field, with Edgar Mora (CRC) and Hector Delgadillo (MEX) serving as the ARs and Alejandro Jimenez (CRC) working as the fourth official.