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USA Defeats El Salvador 1-0 to Finish Undefeated in Group Play at 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship

PANAMA CITY, Panama (April 29, 2017) – Already assured of winning its group, the U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team defeated El Salvador 1-0 behind Zyen Jones’ fifty second-minute strike to close out Group C play with a perfect 3-0-0 record at the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship.

With a spot in Classification Stage Group D secured, U.S. head coach John Hackworth shuffled his starters for the match against Los Cuscatlecos drafting eight players into the lineup for their first start of the tournament.

Even with all the personnel changes, the U.S. did not miss a beat, controlling long passages of play and carving out chances with regularity throughout the match. The defense and goalkeeper C.J. dos Santos did their part as well, limiting El Salvador to just three shots on goal en route to recording the USA’s second clean sheet of the competition.

With a full nine points from three wins, the U.S. is one of only two teams including Group B winner Costa Rica to sport a perfect 3-0-0 record heading into the Classification Stage. Mexico and Jamaica face off later in the Group C finale for the last available spot in the Classification Stage, where the winner will face Group A winner Panama and Costa Rica in Group E.

Up Next: The U-17 MNT begins the classification stage of the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in a Group D clash against Honduras on Wednesday, May 3. Kickoff from Estadio Maracaná in Panama City is set for 2:30 p.m. ET and the match can be seen live on UDN and the CONCACAF YouTube Channel. The U.S. and Honduras will be joined in Group D by Cuba.

Social: Twitter (@ussoccer_ynt; @ussoccer_esp); Facebook; Instagram

2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship Group C

Team

GP

W

L

D

Pts.

GF

GA

GD

x-USA

3

3

0

0

9

10

3

9

Mexico

2

1

1

0

3

9

4

5

Jamaica

2

1

1

0

3

3

6

-3

El Salvador

3

0

3

0

0

1

10

-9

x-Qualified for Classification Stage

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Zyen Jones (Bryan Reynolds), 52nd minute:
The U.S. broke down the right sideline as Reynolds was played into space. With plenty of time to pick out a pass, Reynolds whipped a low cross along the top of the six-yard box. Making a quick run toward the back post, Jones sped past two defenders to meet the cross and send a side-footed shot over charging El Salvador goalkeeper Jario Guardado into the roof of the net. USA 1, SLV 0 [WATCH] FINAL

NOTES:

  • With the result, John Hackworth moves to 8-1-1 all-time in U-17 World Cup Qualifying matches.
  • The USA holds a commanding 8-0-1 record vs. El Salvador and a 31-5 edge in goals.
  • Goalkeeper C.J. dos Santos, midfielders Taylor Booth and Adrian Villegas as well as forwards Zyen Jones and Bryan Reynolds were all named to the starting XI and saw their first action of the tournament for the U.S.
  • Additionally, defenders Indiana Vassilev and Akil Watts as well as forward Tim Weah, who had seen substitutes minutes earlier in the competition, were all handed their first start.
  • Jones’ goal was his first of the tournament and sixth in his time with the U.S. U-17 MNT.
  • Josh Sargent and Ayo Akinola both have three goals at the CONCACAF U-17 Championship, just one behind Honduras’ Carlos Mejía in the race for the tournament’s Golden Boot.
  • Sargent leads all players at the competition with two assists.
  • With Sargent on the bench, Hackworth turned to Chris Durkin to captain the side on the day for the USA.
  • Andrew Carleton came on for the USA in the 62nd minute for Jones for his third appearance of the competition.

- U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. El Salvador
Date: April 29, 2017
Competition: 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship – Group C
Venue: Estadio Maracaná de Panamá; Panamá City, Panamá
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET
Weather: 82 degrees, mostly cloudy 

Scoring Summary:    1          2          F
USA                             0          1          1
SLV                             0          0          0

USA – Zyen Jones (Bryan Reynolds)             52nd minute

Lineups:
USA: 12-C.J. Dos Santos; 13-Akil Watts, 4-James Sands, 6-Chris Durkin (capt.), 18-Indiana Vassilev; 20-Adrian Villegas, 16-Taylor Booth, 10-George Acosta (14-Chris Goslin, 71); 19-Tim Weah, 15-Zyen Jones (11-Andrew Carleton, 62), 17-Bryan Reynolds
Subs not used: 1-Justin Garces; 2-Jaylin Lindsey; 5-A.J. Vasquez, 7-Ayo Akinola, 8-Blaine Ferri, 9-Josh Sargent
Not available: 3-Chris Gloster
Head coach: John Hackworth

SLV: 1-Jairo Guardado; 2-Kevin Menjivar, 4-Diego Chevez, 6-Ever Guzman (capt.) (7-Fernando Villalta, 75), 8-Jorge Cruz, 9-Ronald Cerritos, 10-Denis Garcia, 13-Roberto Lopez, 15-Andy Alas, 17-Mauricio Gomez (12-Rodrigo Santamaria, 71), 20-Diego Guatemala (16-Allexon Saravia, 15)
Subs not used: 3-Erick Cartagena, 5-Giovanni Avila, 11-Rolando Ramirez, 14-Christian Barillas, 18-Tomas Romero, 19-Sergio Ramirez
Head coach: Erick Prado 

Stats Summary: USA / SLV
Shots: 18 / 14
Shots on Goal: 7 / 3
Saves: 3 / 6
Corner Kicks: 6 / 3
Fouls: 13 / 23
Offside: 2 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
SLV – Roberto Lopez (caution)          53rd minute
USA – Indiana Vassilev (caution)       57
USA – Taylor Booth (caution)            86 

Officials:
Referee: Michele Rodriguez (CUB)
Assistant Referee 1: Jesus Tabora (HON)
Assistant Referee 2: Eugene Farro (ARU)
4th Official: Gladwyn Johnson (GUY) 

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: James Sands

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U-17 MNT

- U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. El Salvador
Date: April 29, 2017
Competition: 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship – Group C
Venue: Estadio Maracaná de Panamá; Panamá City, Panamá
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET
Weather: 82 degrees, mostly cloudy 

Scoring Summary:    1          2          F
USA                             0          1          1
SLV                             0          0          0

USA – Zyen Jones (Bryan Reynolds)             52nd minute

Lineups:
USA: 12-C.J. Dos Santos; 13-Akil Watts, 4-James Sands, 6-Chris Durkin (capt.), 18-Indiana Vassilev; 20-Adrian Villegas, 16-Taylor Booth, 10-George Acosta (14-Chris Goslin, 71); 19-Tim Weah, 15-Zyen Jones (11-Andrew Carleton, 62), 17-Bryan Reynolds
Subs not used: 1-Justin Garces; 2-Jaylin Lindsey; 5-A.J. Vasquez, 7-Ayo Akinola, 8-Blaine Ferri, 9-Josh Sargent
Not available: 3-Chris Gloster
Head coach: John Hackworth

SLV: 1-Jairo Guardado; 2-Kevin Menjivar, 4-Diego Chevez, 6-Ever Guzman (capt.) (7-Fernando Villalta, 75), 8-Jorge Cruz, 9-Ronald Cerritos, 10-Denis Garcia, 13-Roberto Lopez, 15-Andy Alas, 17-Mauricio Gomez (12-Rodrigo Santamaria, 71), 20-Diego Guatemala (16-Allexon Saravia, 15)
Subs not used: 3-Erick Cartagena, 5-Giovanni Avila, 11-Rolando Ramirez, 14-Christian Barillas, 18-Tomas Romero, 19-Sergio Ramirez
Head coach: Erick Prado 

Stats Summary: USA / SLV
Shots: 18 / 14
Shots on Goal: 7 / 3
Saves: 3 / 6
Corner Kicks: 6 / 3
Fouls: 13 / 23
Offside: 2 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
SLV – Roberto Lopez (caution)          53rd minute
USA – Indiana Vassilev (caution)       57
USA – Taylor Booth (caution)            86 

Officials: 
Referee: Michele Rodriguez (CUB)
Assistant Referee 1: Jesus Tabora (HON)
Assistant Referee 2: Eugene Farro (ARU)
4th Official: Gladwyn Johnson (GUY) 

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: James Sands

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GALLERY: U-17 MNT Advances to Classification Stage with 1-0 Win Against El Salvador

Photos from the U.S. U-17 Men's National Team's 1-0 victory against El Salvador at Estadio Maracaná in Panama City, Panama. The USA finishes on top of Group C with nine points to start the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship. The U-17 MNT next faces Honduras in its first of two Classification Stage clashes. That game can be seen live on Wednesday, May 3 at 4:30 p.m. EST on Univision Deportes and the CONCACAF YouTube channel. Read more
U-17 MNT

USA Defeats El Salvador 1-0 to Finish Undefeated in Group Play at 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship

PANAMA CITY, Panama (April 29, 2017) – Already assured of winning its group, the U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team defeated El Salvador 1-0 behind Zyen Jones’ fifty second-minute strike to close out Group C play with a perfect 3-0-0 record at the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship.

With a spot in Classification Stage Group D secured, U.S. head coach John Hackworth shuffled his starters for the match against Los Cuscatlecos drafting eight players into the lineup for their first start of the tournament.

Even with all the personnel changes, the U.S. did not miss a beat, controlling long passages of play and carving out chances with regularity throughout the match. The defense and goalkeeper C.J. dos Santos did their part as well, limiting El Salvador to just three shots on goal en route to recording the USA’s second clean sheet of the competition.

With a full nine points from three wins, the U.S. is one of only two teams including Group B winner Costa Rica to sport a perfect 3-0-0 record heading into the Classification Stage. Mexico and Jamaica face off later in the Group C finale for the last available spot in the Classification Stage, where the winner will face Group A winner Panama and Costa Rica in Group E.

Up Next: The U-17 MNT begins the classification stage of the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in a Group D clash against Honduras on Wednesday, May 3. Kickoff from Estadio Maracaná in Panama City is set for 2:30 p.m. ET and the match can be seen live on UDN and the CONCACAF YouTube Channel. The U.S. and Honduras will be joined in Group D by Cuba.

Social: Twitter (@ussoccer_ynt; @ussoccer_esp); Facebook; Instagram

2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship Group C

Team

GP

W

L

D

Pts.

GF

GA

GD

x-USA

3

3

0

0

9

10

3

9

Mexico

2

1

1

0

3

9

4

5

Jamaica

2

1

1

0

3

3

6

-3

El Salvador

3

0

3

0

0

1

10

-9

x-Qualified for Classification Stage

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Zyen Jones (Bryan Reynolds), 52nd minute:
The U.S. broke down the right sideline as Reynolds was played into space. With plenty of time to pick out a pass, Reynolds whipped a low cross along the top of the six-yard box. Making a quick run toward the back post, Jones sped past two defenders to meet the cross and send a side-footed shot over charging El Salvador goalkeeper Jario Guardado into the roof of the net. USA 1, SLV 0 [WATCH] FINAL

NOTES:

  • With the result, John Hackworth moves to 8-1-1 all-time in U-17 World Cup Qualifying matches.
  • The USA holds a commanding 8-0-1 record vs. El Salvador and a 31-5 edge in goals.
  • Goalkeeper C.J. dos Santos, midfielders Taylor Booth and Adrian Villegas as well as forwards Zyen Jones and Bryan Reynolds were all named to the starting XI and saw their first action of the tournament for the U.S.
  • Additionally, defenders Indiana Vassilev and Akil Watts as well as forward Tim Weah, who had seen substitutes minutes earlier in the competition, were all handed their first start.
  • Jones’ goal was his first of the tournament and sixth in his time with the U.S. U-17 MNT.
  • Josh Sargent and Ayo Akinola both have three goals at the CONCACAF U-17 Championship, just one behind Honduras’ Carlos Mejía in the race for the tournament’s Golden Boot.
  • Sargent leads all players at the competition with two assists.
  • With Sargent on the bench, Hackworth turned to Chris Durkin to captain the side on the day for the USA.
  • Andrew Carleton came on for the USA in the 62nd minute for Jones for his third appearance of the competition.

- U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. El Salvador
Date: April 29, 2017
Competition: 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship – Group C
Venue: Estadio Maracaná de Panamá; Panamá City, Panamá
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET
Weather: 82 degrees, mostly cloudy 

Scoring Summary:    1          2          F
USA                             0          1          1
SLV                             0          0          0

USA – Zyen Jones (Bryan Reynolds)             52nd minute

Lineups:
USA: 12-C.J. Dos Santos; 13-Akil Watts, 4-James Sands, 6-Chris Durkin (capt.), 18-Indiana Vassilev; 20-Adrian Villegas, 16-Taylor Booth, 10-George Acosta (14-Chris Goslin, 71); 19-Tim Weah, 15-Zyen Jones (11-Andrew Carleton, 62), 17-Bryan Reynolds
Subs not used: 1-Justin Garces; 2-Jaylin Lindsey; 5-A.J. Vasquez, 7-Ayo Akinola, 8-Blaine Ferri, 9-Josh Sargent
Not available: 3-Chris Gloster
Head coach: John Hackworth

SLV: 1-Jairo Guardado; 2-Kevin Menjivar, 4-Diego Chevez, 6-Ever Guzman (capt.) (7-Fernando Villalta, 75), 8-Jorge Cruz, 9-Ronald Cerritos, 10-Denis Garcia, 13-Roberto Lopez, 15-Andy Alas, 17-Mauricio Gomez (12-Rodrigo Santamaria, 71), 20-Diego Guatemala (16-Allexon Saravia, 15)
Subs not used: 3-Erick Cartagena, 5-Giovanni Avila, 11-Rolando Ramirez, 14-Christian Barillas, 18-Tomas Romero, 19-Sergio Ramirez
Head coach: Erick Prado 

Stats Summary: USA / SLV
Shots: 18 / 14
Shots on Goal: 7 / 3
Saves: 3 / 6
Corner Kicks: 6 / 3
Fouls: 13 / 23
Offside: 2 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
SLV – Roberto Lopez (caution)          53rd minute
USA – Indiana Vassilev (caution)       57
USA – Taylor Booth (caution)            86 

Officials:
Referee: Michele Rodriguez (CUB)
Assistant Referee 1: Jesus Tabora (HON)
Assistant Referee 2: Eugene Farro (ARU)
4th Official: Gladwyn Johnson (GUY) 

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: James Sands

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U-17 MNT

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. 

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U-17 MNT

Five Things to Know About El Salvador U-17s

On Saturday, the U.S. U-17 MNT takes on El Salvador in its final group stage contest of the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship. After its historic 4-3 win against Mexico, the U.S. needs just a draw to ensure a first-place finish in Group C. The game kicks off at 6:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on UDN and the CONCACAF YouTube channel.

Here are five things you should know about the USA’s final group opponent, El Salvador:

WHAT’S IN A (NICK)NAME?
The El Salvador national teams are commonly referred to as Los Cuscatlecos, which is derived from Cuzcatlán, the name that the original inhabitants of the country gave to the western part of El Salvador. Today, the Cuscatlán Department is a state in the middle of El Salvador, where the nation’s capital, San Salvador is located. Fittingly, Los Cuscatlecos play their home matches at Estadio Cuscatlán in San Salvador.

2017 CONCACAF U-17 CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY
Helmed by former El Salvador international Erick Dowson Prado, who coincidently made his senior international debut against the U.S. in 1993, Los Cuscatlecos dropped their first two games of the tournament, falling to Mexico (6-0) and Jamaica (3-1). Eliminated from advancement, Los Cuscatlecos are now playing for pride as they close out their run at the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship on Saturday against the United States. 

THE ROSTER
The El Salvador U-17 roster is mostly made up of domestic-based players (13), but does feature four currently based in the United States, two in Canada and two unattached. Turin F.C., of the Salvadoran second division has the most representation of any club with five players.

Goalkeepers (2): Jairo Guardado (Santa Tecla FC/SLV), Tomas Romero (Philadelphia Union/USA)

Defenders (6): Giovanni Avila (Santa Tecla FC/SLV), Erick Cartagena (CD FAS /SLV), Diego Chevez (Turin FC/SLV), Diego Guatemala (Santa Tecla FC/SLV), Kevin Menjivar (Turin FC/SLV), Sergio Ramirez (unattached)

Midfielders (9): Christian Barillas (Pateadores SC/USA), Jorge Cruz (CD Once Municipal/SLV), Andy Alas (Turin FC/SLV), Denis Garcia (Turin FC/SLV), Mauricio Gomez (Turin FC/SLV), Ever Guzman (Santa Tecla FC/SLV), Roberto Lopez (CD FAS /SLV), Rodrigo Santamaria (Regina FC/CAN), Allexon Saravia (D.C. United/USA)

Forwards (3): Ronald Cerritos (D.C. United/USA), Rolando Ramirez (CD FAS /SLV), Fernando Villalta (unattached)

PLAYING 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.

CONCACAF U-17 CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY
Since the inaugural CONCACAF U-17 Championship in 1983, Los Cuscatlecos have participated in all but four of the 17 tournaments (1992, 1999, 2013, 2015). The current edition marks El Salvador’s first appearance since 2011.

Having advanced from the final group stage in 1999, Los Cuscatlecos 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 over 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. 

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U-17 MNT

Q&A: USA Head Coach John Hackworth Previews 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship

With the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team set to kick off Group C of the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship against Jamaica on Sunday, April 23 (1:30 p.m. ET; Facebook Live)., U-17 MNT head coach John Hackworth sat down with ussoccer.com in Bradenton Fla., where the team has been preparing for the FIFA U-17 World Cup qualifying tournament.

Hackworth is entering his third CONCACAF U-17 Championship as the USA head coach, having previously led the team in 2005 and 2007. He also served as an assistant with the U-17 MNT in 2003. The U.S. qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in each instance.

ussoccer.com: What were the challenges in determining the final roster?

John Hackworth: “The depth of the player pool in this age group is as good as we have ever seen.  Thus, our decisions in selecting the final roster were difficult.”

ussoccer.com: What does the experience of going through CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying do for a player?

JH: “From a developmental view, it is invaluable. It is a competition that presents challenges both on and off the field. It exposes them at the earliest age possible to the demands and difficulties of qualifying for a FIFA World Cup in a CONCACAF event.”

ussoccer.com: What would you most like to see your players get out of this experience?

JH: “Successfully navigating through the demands of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying.”

ussoccer.com: How you would compare and describe the selection process for this roster to your past CONCACAF U-17 Championship rosters?

JH: “The selection process is always difficult. But as I mentioned previously, the depth of this particular player pool made it challenging. In addition, we have players based in Europe and several that turned pro (leaving Residency).”

ussoccer.com: Can you speak to the dynamics of this group of players, especially as some of whom were in Residency, but left to sign pro contracts?

JH: “This is a close group of young men. Andrew Carleton and I were speaking about it the other day. We were talking about his experiences and adjustments in becoming a pro with Atlanta United, then returning here and integrating with the guys in Residency.  He said, ‘Coach, these are my boys. I love these guys.’  Enough said.”

ussoccer.com: What is the goal and mindset for the next several days before facing Jamaica?

JH: “To ensure that we are as prepared as we can be for that opening match vs. Jamaica. We played them in the fall and know that they are a talented, well-coached team. At the same time, we need to trust in our preparation and feel confident that the planning and work that we have put in will allow us to be ready for that first Group C match.”

ussoccer.com: Chris Durkin (D.C. United), Andrew Carleton and Chris Goslin (both Atlanta United FC) are the three professional players on the team. What are you hoping they bring the squad for this tournament?

 JH: “Our hope is that they have matured and can bring elements of the experiences they have gained that will make our team even stronger.”

ussoccer.com: Is there any sense with the team that this tournament will be unique with Residency closing this spring?

JH: “We understand that this group will be the last to have gone through Residency prior to competing in World Cup Qualifying. I believe that each and every one of us, players & staff, is extremely proud of that fact. However, our mindset is to focus completely on the task of attempting to qualify for the World Cup in India. We certainly won’t be sentimental in our focus.”


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U-17 MNT
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