U.S. U-20s Open Qualifying With 5-0 Win Over Guatemala

March 18, 2001

Tunapuna, Trinidad - The U.S. Under-20 Men'sNational Team exploded for three goals in a seven-minute span in thefirst half and cruised to a 5-0 win against Guatemala in the team'sfirst match of the CONCACAF Under-20 qualifying tournament at the Dr.Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence in Tunapuna, Trinidad.

With the win, the U.S. vaults to the top of the qualifyingtournament, and will face Trinidad & Tobago, 3-0 losers to Costa Rica,on Tuesday. The top two teams at the tournament will advance to the2001 FIFA World Youth Championship in Argentina from June 17 - July 8.

'We are very happy to open the tournament with a win, especially aquality win like we had tonight,' U.S. head coach Wolfgang Suhnholzsaid. 'However, we still have two more matches to play and we have totake care of business in those matches or this first win doesn'tmatter. And it is never easy to play team at home in a tournament likethis.'

The U.S. got on the board in the 13th minute when a DJ Countesspunt started a U.S. counterattack that would prove lethal. U.S. forwardConor Casey flicked on the punt, and Landon Donovan raced into space in the boxto catch the ball. Donovan evaded a defender in the left side of thepenalty box, drew the goalkeeper out of the goal and played the bouncingball across the box where an unmarked Casey easily volleyed the ballinto the empty net.

The U.S. struck again three minutes later with a Bobby Convey strike, and he added another three minutes later when DaMarcus Beasley found spaceon the right side and laid a perfect ball behind the defense and intospace in the penalty box that Convey one-timed into the net from sixyards. Also scoring were Beasley and Brad Davis.

Guatemala was unlucky not to add a goal of their own, but theCentral American team was denied by Countess and his six saves, as wellas by the post midway through the second half. Countess, who recordedhis third shutout of 2001, was tested throughout the evening and came upwith three big saves in the first half, including one early in the matchwith the score knotted 0-0. The U.S. barely outshot Guatemala by a11-10 margin that suggests a closer final score.

Countess' Bruin teammates Nelson Akwari and Alex Yi also started and played all 90 minutes of the contest.

The U.S. continues their run to Argentina 2001 on Tuesday, March20, when they face Trinidad & Tobago, and will finish the qualifyingtournament against Costa Rica on March 22. The top two teams from thegroup will advance to the 2001 World Youth Championship from June17-July 8 in Argentina.

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