April 11, 2013
TOPS IN GROUP C
U.S. U17s down Guatemala 1-0
PANAMA CITY, Panama--- Midfielder Corey Baird scored the game's only goal off an assist from forward Rubio Rubin giving the U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team a 1-0 win over Guatemala at Estadio Rommel Fernández on Thursday. With the win, the U.S. won Group C of the CONCACAF U-17 Championship.
The USA's first major sniff at goal came in the 39th minute when Rubin tested the Guatemala goalkeeper Nicholas Hagen. The U.S. winger sidestepped his man in the area before unleashing a fierce shot that Hagen saved well, diving low to his left.
Moments later forward Ahinga Selemani turned on the edge of the area and cracked a 20 yard drive, but Hagen was equal to the task. Just before halftime, Sonora drew another save out of the Guatemala keeper, with a curling effort from 18 yards that Hagen tipped over the bar to ensure the match was scoreless at the break.
The USA took the lead in the 49th minute when Rubin skipped by his defender and then lifted a left-footed cross over Hagen to the far post. Baird was positioned perfectly to side foot the ball home on the full volley into the empty net and provide the USA a lead they would not relinquish.
Guatemala nearly got back into the match in the 62nd minute. Mario Hernandez was first to react to a cross at the far post but he headed his effort over the goal from a close angle.
In the 72nd minute Rubin, now out on the right, curled in another delightful cross to the far post that was just slightly too far for midfielder Junior Flores. Despite the effort, the midfielder failed to make good contact with his sliding, one-timed shot.
Guatemala had a quality chance for the equalizer in the 88th minute when Christopher Ortiz cut in on his left foot and unleashed a shot on goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell, but the U.S. 'keeper was able to make the save - his only of the match.
As the top seed from Group C, the USA heads into the quarterfinal stage and will face the Group D runner-up, which will be either Mexico or Honduras who play later tonight. Mexico entered that match needing a draw or win to take first place in Group D.
The U.S. U-17 MNT's quarterfinal match kicks off at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 14, at Estadio Rommel Fernández. The game will be broadcast live on FOX Soccer and Univision Deportes. Fans can also follow on ussoccer.com¹s MatchTracker and via Twitter @ ussoccer_ynt .