U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team wins Group C with 1-0 win over Guatemala in CONCACAF U-17 Championship
PANAMA CITY, Panama – The U.S. Under-17 Men¹s National Team won Group C of the 2013 CONCACAF U-17 Championship after defeating Guatemala 1-0 at Estadio Rommel Fernández on Thursday. Midfielder Corey Baird scored the game’s only goal off an assist from forward Rubio Rubin.
As the top seed from Group C, the USA heads into the all-important 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 .
Few chances were exchanged in the opening half hour, with both teams trying to find their way into the game. Guatemala generated their first real opportunity in the 26th minute, but defender Conor Donovan took up an excellent position to block a shot from 12 yards.
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 tested the waters when he turned on the edge of the area and cracked a 20 yard drive, but Hagen was equal to the task. Just before halftime, Soñora drew another save out of Guatemala’s ‘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.