"We were able to walk off the field with a win tonight, and we are happy with that," U.S. head coach John Ellinger said. "Obviously I thought we should have put ourselves in a better position after the first half, but we just couldn't punch it in."
The U.S. dominated Jamaica in the first half, but found themselves trailing 1-0 at the break. The USA finally broke through in the 70th minute, when Santino Quaranta dribbled into the box and slipped the ball to Mike Magee. Magee's shot from 12 yards struck Leon Williams' arm and referee Marco Rodriguez pointed to the penalty spot.
Quaranta stepped to the spot and put the ball into the left side of the net as a helpless Richard McCallum dove to the right. Quaranta's goal was 70 minutes in coming for the D.C. United midfielder, who caused problems for the Jamaican defense all evening. He forced McCallum into a save less than two minutes into the match, and continued to wreak havoc on the wings throughout the game. Quaranta struck five shots in the first half, including two long-distance blasts that McCallum did well to handle.
The U.S. scored the well-deserved winner in the 76th minute when U.S. defender Chad Marshall got his head on the end of a Craig Capano corner kick. The goal was the first international goal of Chad Marshall's seven-game Under-17 career. Ed Johnson was unable to reach Capano's corner kick, and the ball found Marshall at the back post. The central defender made no mistake with the finish and sent the Robert R. Hermann Stadium crowd into a frenzy.
Ellinger inserted Justin Mapp into the game at halftime, replacing Erwin Diaz. Mapp and his brilliant left foot terrorized Jamaica's right side over the final 45 minutes, and he was unlucky not to provide the U.S. with another goal.
In the 55th minute a nifty Mapp flick from the near post gave Gray Griffin a clear shot and looked like it would provide the equalizer, but a Jamaican defender cleared the Griffin's shot from the goalline. At the end of the first half, Griffin, who plays next to Marshall in the center of the U.S. defense, found the outside of the goalpost and his shot bounced clear.
On the evening the U.S. outshot Jamaica 30-7, and forced McCallum to play a brilliant game and come up with 11 saves. U.S. goalkeeper Adam Schuerman was only forced into one save on the evening.
Luton Shelton opened the scoring for the Jamaicans in the 36th minute. He dribbled through a maze of U.S. defenders in the left side of the penalty box before punching the ball past a sliding Adam Schuerman from five yards out.
The score shocked the St. Louis crowd, who had watched the U.S. dominate the first 35 minutes of the game. The U.S. outshot the Jamaicans 15-5 in the first half, and forced Jamaican goalkeeper Richard McCallum into seven first-half saves.
The second half mirrored the play of the first half, with the U.S. dominating and not capitalizing on their opportunities. With Capano directing the U.S. offense from the middle of the field and Quaranta and the second-half sub Mapp running wild on the wings, the scoreline was kind to Jamaica. After 70 minutes of dominating, the U.S. finally broke through with two goals to open the qualifying tournament on the right foot.
The U.S. can clinch a spot in the 2001 FIFA Under-17 World Championship on Friday with a win against Canada and a Jamaican win or tie against El Salvador. In the event of a tie at the end of the tournament, the first tie-breaker will be head-to-head results.
In the tournament opener, Canada and Jamaica drew 1-1. Canada, who controlled play in the early going, took the early lead in the 20th minute on an El Salvador own goal. The face of the game changed fifteen minutes later when Sita-Taty Matondo was ejected from the match after throwing an elbow at El Salvador's wall. Jose Ochoa equalized in first half injury-time, converting on a pretty pass from Dennis Alas.
Jamaica and El Salvador open Friday night's doubleheader at 5 p.m., followed by the USA - Canada border war at 7 p.m.
%=macroPart|font/arialBlue2=%GAME NOTES: The U.S. wore their all-white strip of white jerseys, white socks and white shorts, while Jamaica was dressed in yellow jerseys with black shorts ... In a match that saw the U.S. take 30 shots, they did not score until their 26th and 27th shots of the match ... Seven of the ten Jamaican field players wore gloves to start the match ... The U.S. fired five shots in the game's in first 11minutes ... U.S. Men's National Team head coach Bruce Arena, as well as several of the US MNT players, were in attendance ... McCallum was shaken up will making a save on Ed Johnson in the 22nd minute ... The match ends Ed Johnson's four-game international scoring streak ... The U.S. has now won its last six international matches and is a perfect 4-0 in 2001 ... Quaranta's penalty kick was only the second unassisted goal for the U.S. in 2001 internationals ... Canadian defender Matondo will miss the match against the USA after receiving a red card against El Salvador.
2001 U.S. UNDER-17 MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM GAME REPORT
|Participants:||U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team vs. Jamaica|
|Competition:||CONCACAF Group A Qualifying for Trinidad & Tobago '01|
|Venue:||Robert R. Hermann Stadium (St. Louis, Mo.)|
|Date:||April 18, 2001 - Kickoff 7:00 p.m. CT|
|Weather:||64 degrees (Clear, Cool)|
JAM - Luton Shelton (unassisted), 36.
USA - Santina Quaranta (penalty kick), 70.
USA - Chad Marshall (Craig Capano), 76.
USA - 18-Adam Schuerman; 6-Chris Lancos, 8-Jordan Harvey, 12-Gray Griffin (Capt.), 14- Chad Marshall; 15-Jordan Stone, 16-Craig Capano, 7-Mike Magee, 9-Santino Quaranta; 17- Erwin Diaz (3-Justin Mapp, 46), 10-Ed Johnson (4-Paul Johnson, 84).
JAM - 13-Richard McCallum; 5-Copeland Lewis, 21-Kieron Bernard, 19-Jermaine Hardy ; 6- Leon Williams (Capt.), 17-Kowri Pickersgill (16-Andre Whyte, 78), 11-Conrad Hunt (8-Akeem Priestley, 82), 14-Ramon Dee Bailey, 15-Maurice Johnson; 22-Luton Shelton, 10-Richard West (20-Kamar Petrikin, 83).
JAM - Leon Williams (caution), 6.
USA - Chris Lancos (caution), 23.
JAM - Copeland Lewis (caution), 83.