BRIAN SCIARETTA - Sunday, February 27, 2011
A spectacular goal from Nathan Smith helped the US U-17 national team capture the CONCACAF U-17 championship with a 3-0 victory over Canada in extra time on Sunday night in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
The Americans started off the game slowly in the first half with Canada controlling most of the play. As the half progressed the US increased the tempo and came close to scoring before the half with Matt Dunn narrowly missing on a long shot.
In the second half, the US took over and controlled the play as Canada began to tire. The US came close to scoring on a number of chances and Dunn once again missed the best chance when he fired over the bar with an unguarded net in the 75th minute.
After 90 minutes the teams were still scoreless and extra time was needed to decide the winner.
In the first minute of extra time, Smith put the Americans in front with a 35 yard stunner that swerved into the top right corner of the net past Canadian keeper Maxime Crepeau.
In the 100th minute, Andrew Oliver gave the US an insurmountable lead when he moved in all alone against Crepeau down the left side. As Crepeau came out, Oliver cut to his right and fired it into an empty net.
With the game out of reach in the 117th minute, tempers boiled over and members from both teams got into a shoving match. Marco LaPenna from Canada and Andrew Oliver from the US were shown straight red cards. As a result, both players will now miss the start of the U-17 FIFA World Cup.
In the 119th minute the US scored a final time when LA Galaxy forward Jack McBean made a nice pass from the left side that sent Alfred Koroma in alone against Crepeau. Crepeau was able to get his hands on Koroma's low shot but the ball still found the back of the net.
This tournament also served as qualification for the 2011 U-17 World Cup this summer in Mexico beginning on June 18th. The tournament's four semifinalists US, Canada, Jamaica, and Panama along with hosts Mexico will all represent CONCACAF at the World Cup.