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U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM

March 11, 2009
BOOKED FOR EGYPT
U.S. Clinches spot in U-20 World Cup


BACOLET, Tobago – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team secured a place at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup with a 2-0 win against El Salvador on Tuesday evening in their final Group A match of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship. The 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup will be held from Sept. 24-Oct.16 in Egypt.

The trip to Egypt marks the CONCACAF-record 12th appearance for the U.S. at the FIFA U-20 World Cup and the seventh straight.

First-half goals from Brek Shea and Tony Taylor combined with Brian Perk’s third shutout in as many games provided the U.S. with a 2-0-1 record in group play and the top spot in Group A. The U.S. advances to the semifinals where they will face the second-place finisher from Group B, which rounds out play on Wednesday night in Trinidad. The kickoff time for the semifinal will be determined after the conclusion of the Group B matches.

It was a nice build-up in the run of play in the 30th minute that gave them the lead. Brian Ownby, who provided tireless effort down the right wing all night, received a lofted pass from Dilly Duka, cut around his defender and struck a driven cross into the penalty area. Jared Jeffrey dummied the ball to force El Salvador goalkeeper Diego Cuelller to over-commit and leave his net wide open for Shea to easily place the pass inside the far post.

Five minutes before halftime, Peri Marosevic slipped a through ball behind El Salvador’s back line and into the box, providing the speedy Taylor time to take a touch and look up before slotting the ball inside the far post.

Honduras, who defeated Jamaica 4-0 in the other Group A game of the night, clinched second place in the group and also advanced to the World Cup. The other two CONCACAF berths will come from the top two finishers in Group B.

The U.S. finished the game with only nine players after Shea received his second yellow card in the 60th minute. Shea's first yellow came in the 26th minute after a foul on Diego Jose Chavarria. In the 60th minute he was shown a second yellow when the referee judged him to have tripped up a Salvadorian player on a 50-50 ball. With only nine players against El Salvador’s full squad, the U.S. was able to hold on for the shutout victory. Jorge Flores was sent off in the 84th minute on a straight red card for a foul that occurred away from the ball.

It was the first time that the U.S. defeated El Salvador in the U-20 qualifying tournament outside of the United States. The U.S. evened their record against the Central American side all-time in qualifying at 3-3-1.

“Even though we only needed a tie tonight, we wanted to be aggressive,” said U.S. Under-20 head coach Thomas Rongen. “We did a very good job in the first half of playing together and scoring the two goals. We played three tough games and put ourselves in a position to get to Egypt, which we did. We were able to determine our own fate in this game and I couldn’t be happier with this team as they showed a lot of character through some adversity tonight.”


   
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