The United States U-17 squad earned a trip to this summer’s World Cup on Tuesday with a wild 3-2 victory over El Salvador in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Championship.
The victory cam in a match that saw two goals and three red cards in the final eight minutes of extra time. Alejandro Guido, Mario Rodriguez and Marc Pelosi tallied for the Americans, while José Peña and Gerardo Iraheta found the net for the Salvadorans.
The Americans will play the winner of Wednesday's Canada-Trinidad and Tobago fixture in the semifinals of the CONCACAF tournament on Friday.
After two early goals left the teams tied 1-1 at the end of regulation, Rodriguez put the Americans up just five minutes into the extra session. Pelosi took a long ball down the left flank and slotted a cross on the ground to Rodriguez, whose bouncing shot bounded past a diving Romel Mejía for the lead.
The Americans added another in the 112th minute to pad the lead, this time off the foot of Pelosi after a pretty feed from Guido.
The game turned physical from there, as the US’ Kellyn Acosta received his second yellow card of the match and was sent off in the 113th minute. Just seconds later, American goalkeeper and Houston Dynamo Academy product Fernando Piña was shown red for kneeing El Salvador's Peña in the face while grabbing a looping, headed ball.
Peña charged the US goalkeeper and was sent off after the play, but El Salvador were awarded a penalty kick for the initial tackle. Iraheta promptly buried the ensuing chance against the freshly subbed backup netminder Kendall MacIntosh to close the lead to 3-2 in the 120th minute.
El Salvador never seriously challenged again, however, and the Americans held on to secure their 14th consecutive U-17 World Cup appearance. The tournament begins on June 18 in Mexico.
USA – Alejandro Guido (Joe Amon) 5
SLV – Jose Peña (Ivan Castro) 9
USA – Mario Rodriguez (Marc Pelosi) 95
USA – Marc Pelosi (Alejandro Guido) 112
SLV – Gerardo Iraheta (penalty) 120
USA: 1-Fernando Piña; 12-Joe Amon, 2-Andrew Souders (capt.), 6-Mobi Fehr, 3-Kellyn Acosta; 8-Esteban Rodriguez, 5-Matt Dunn, 10-Alejandro Guido (18-Kendall McIntosh, 119), 11-Marc Pelosi; 7-Alfred Koroma (9-Mario Rodriguez, 80), 16-Andrew Oliver (17-Zach Carroll, 114)
Subs: 4-Nathan Smith, 13-Dillon Serna, 14-Tarik Salkicic, 19-Jack McBean
Subs not available: 25-Jordan Allen, 20-Paul Arriola
SLV: 1-1-Rolando Morales; 3-Victor Zelaya, 6-Brayan Landaverde, 8-Diego Galdamez (capt.), 9-José Peña, 11-Ivan Castro (14-Álvaro Lizama), 13-Romel Mejía (5-José Villavicenio, 13), 15-Oliver Ayala, 16-Kevin Barahona, 17-Gerardo Iraheta, 19-Giovanny Zavaleta (2-Gilberto Peña, 60)
Subs not used: 18-Wilberth Hernández, 4-Nelson Zelaya, 10-Eder Polanco, 12-Moisés Mejía
Subs not available: 20-Saul Varela, 22-Luis Medina
Noah Davis covers the United States national team for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter at @noahedavis.
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