GAME NOTES: U-17 MNT Closes Out Group Play Saturday vs. El Salvador

The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team closes out the group stage of the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship on April 29 against El Salvador at Estadio Maracaná in Panama City, Panama. The match can be seen live on the CONCACAF YouTube channel at 6:00 p.m. ET. Fans can also follow all the matches of the U.S. U-17 MNT on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.

U.S. U-17 MNT Roster by Position:

GOALKEEPERS (2): C.J. Dos Santos (Benfica; Philadelphia, Pa.), Justin Garces (Kendall SC; Miami, Fla.)

DEFENDERS (5): Christopher Gloster (New York Red Bulls; Montclair, N.J.), Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting Kansas City; Charlotte, N.C.), James Sands (New York City FC; Rye, N.Y.), Arturo Vasquez (FC Golden State; Mira Loma, Calif.), Akil Watts (IMG Academy; Fort Wayne, Ind.)

MIDFIELDERS (7): George Acosta (Weston FC; Hollywood, Fla.), Taylor Booth (Real Salt Lake AZ; Eden, Utah), Christopher Durkin (D.C. United; Glen Allen, Va.), Blaine Ferri (Solar Chelsea SC; Southlake, Texas), Christopher Goslin (Atlanta United FC; Locust Grove, Ga.), Indiana Vassilev (IMG Academy; Savannah, Ga.), Adrian Villegas (Portland Timbers; Hood River, Ore.)

FORWARDS (6): Ayomide Akinola (Toronto FC; Brampton, Ont.), Andrew Carleton (Atlanta United FC; Powder Springs, Ga.), Zyen Jones (Atlanta United FC; Clarkston, Ga.), Bryan Reynolds, Jr. (FC Dallas; Little Elm, Texas), Joshua Sargent (Scott Gallagher Missouri; O’Fallen, Mo.) Timothy Weah (Paris Saint-Germain; Rosedale, N.Y.)

Classification Stage set for USA

After the historic 4-3 win against Mexico on Wednesday, the USA not only qualified for the classification stage, but also locked up first place in Group C thanks to the tournament’s head-to-head tie-breaker. John Hackworth’s side also learned its classification stage opponents this week, as Honduras finished as runner-up in Group A, with Cuba finishing second in Group B.

The U.S. will sit idle as those two sides meet in the first Group D clash on Monday, before the USA faces Honduras on Wednesday, May 3 (4:30 p.m. ET on CONCACAF YouTube). The U-17 MNT then closes out the group vs. Cuba on Friday, May 5 (6:30 p.m. ET on CONCACAF YouTube). 

After losing 6-0 to Mexico and 3-1 to Jamaica, Saturday’s opponents El Salvador were officially eliminated from classification stage contention. 

2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship Group C

Team

GP

W

L

D

Pts.

GF

GA

GD

x-USA

2

2

0

0

6

9

3

+6

Mexico

2

1

1

0

3

9

4

+5

Jamaica

2

1

1

0

3

3

6

-3

El Salvador

2

0

2

0

0

1

9

-8

x-Group C winner

Chasing the golden boot

Josh Sargent’s two first-half strikes against Mexico took him to three goals in the tournament and teammate Ayo Akinola joined him at the mark with the late goal that stood as the winner in the 4-3 victory against El Trí.

The pair are chasing Carlos Mejía of Honduras, who slotted his fourth goal of the tournament in Honduras’ 3-1 win vs. Haiti on Thursday.

The Captain makes SportsCenter

Trailing Mexico 1-0 In the 26th minute of play, captain Josh Sargent chased down a deep ball from Blaine Ferri, flicked it behind his back and finished past Mexico goalkeeper Andre Alcaraz. The incredible display of skill and athleticism came in at No. 9 on SportsCenter’s “Top 10 Plays” on Wednesday

El Salvador players based in the USA

Four players on the El Salvador roster are currently playing with clubs in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy: goalkeeper Tomas Romero, midfielders Christian Barillas and Allexon Saravia, and forward Ronald Cerritos.

If the Cerritos name sounds familiar, it’s because it is! Ronald Cerritos is the son of the former M.L.S. striker and El Salvador international who shares the same name. The senior Cerritos remains the San Jose Earthquakes’ all-time assist leader and also played for Dallas Burn, D.C. United and Houston Dynamo from 1997-2006. The younger Cerritos scored El Salvador’s lone goal of the tournament in Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to Jamaica and features in the D.C. United Academy, along with Saravia.

Romero isn’t too far from the D.C. United pair, as he plays in the Philadelphia Union Academy, while Barillas features for California-based side Pateadores SC. 

USAvSLV History

In the 17 tournaments prior to 2017, the USA have faced El Salvador eight times, including twice in 1999. The USA holds a commanding 7-0-1 record against Los Cuscatlecos and a 30-5 edge in goals.

Having advanced from the final group stage in 1999, El Salvador encountered their first do-or-die opportunity to reach the U-17 World Cup, having to face the U.S. in a two-leg playoff for the right to go to New Zealand. A U.S. team featuring future MNT stars Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley and Oguchi Onyewu overpowered El Salvador during the two legs, winning 6-1 in San Salvador and 4-0 in Columbus to qualify for the World Cup.

El Salvador came close once again in 2011. Finishing second in the initial group stage, they advanced to the quarterfinals where they once again came up against the U.S. After playing to a 1-1 draw in regular time, the U.S. received goals from Mario Rodriguez and Marc Pelosi to edge El Salvador 3-2 after 120 minutes. 

Reaching the Big Stage

The 2017 edition marks the 17th occasion that the U.S. U-17 MNT will compete in the CONCACAF Youth Tournament or Championship. The USA has won the CONCACAF U-17, formerly U-16, Championship title three times: (1983, 1992, 2011) and finished runner-up five times: (1987, 1988, 1991, 1994, 1996).

In the 17 CONCACAF tournaments from 1983 to 2015, Los Cuscatlecos have taken part in 13 tournaments, but have yet to qualify for their first FIFA U-17 World Cup.

John Hackworth as U-17 MNT Head Coach

In his second stint as head coach of the U-17 Men’s National, John Hackworth is looking to lead the USA to the FIFA U-17 World Cup for a third time.

Hackworth served as an assistant to John Ellinger, helping the U.S. qualify for the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Cup before guiding the U.S. to the 2005 and 2007 editions as head coach before departing for other opportunities. The former Philadelphia Union manager returned to the U-17 MNT in December 2015.

Tournament Format

The 2017 tournament begins in a group stage, with 12 CONCACAF teams split into three four-team groups. After an initial round-robin schedule, the top two teams from each group will advance to the classification stage, featuring two groups with three teams each. In that second group stage, the top two finishers from each group qualify for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India, while the first-place teams in each group move on to play for the tournament title.