Top Stories

U.S. U-17s defeat El Salvador, clinch place in 2011 FIFA World Cup

U.S. Soccer Federation

Mario Rodriguez and Marc Pelosi scored goals in extra time to propel the United States Under-17 national team to a wild 3-2 victory over El Salvador in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF U-17 championships. The victory booked a place in the semifinals of the tournament and clinched a berth in the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico for coach Wilmer Cabrera's squad.

In the 96th minute, Rodriguez finished off an unselfish pass from Pelosi, who had gotten in on goal from the left on a counterattack but elected to slot a ball across the center of the area. Rodriguez ran onto the pass and finished into a vacated net to put the United States ahead.

Pelosi added the eventual game-winner by touching home a cross from Alejandro Guido in the 112th minute before chaos ensued.

After U.S. defender Kellyn Acosta was sent off for picking up his second yellow card, El Salvador forward Jose Pena and U.S. goalkeeper Fernando Pina were involved in an altercation that got both players sent off with straight red cards.

Pina was given a red for kicking an El Salvador player in the box while trying to make a play on the ball in the air, and Pena retaliated by getting physical with Pina.

Backup keeper Kendall McIntosh was pressed into duty and promptly yielded the ensuing penalty to Geraldo Iraheta, which got El Salvador back within one goal, but the United States held on with nine men to advance.

Guido got the United States off to a strong start with a goal off a header in the fifth minute, but the lead was short lived. Pena equalized for El Salvador four minutes later, and the teams played through the 1-1 scoreline until extra time.

Acosta and Pina should not be available for the United States' semifinal match against either Jamaica or Honduras, who will face each other in a quarterfinal on Wednesday. Panama, which qualified for the U-17 World Cup for the first time after defeating Costa Rica earlier in the day, will face either Canada or Trinidad and Tobago in the other semifinal.


What do you think about the result? Relieved the United States qualified? Think the USA can win the CONCACAF title? 

Share your thoughts below.


  1. The other backs didn’t leave me wondering who’d slipped Wilmer the crazy pills. That’s over like 4 games. He’s just not up to snuff. In fact the speed he has is a crutch.

  2. The field is just sand with some grass on top. They said it was the smallest field- width wise- allowed by Fifa. I heard it was actually short of that.
    Before the game they were out raking the field to try and smooth out the sand.
    You can’t play soccer on this field.

  3. You have a point. He is a superior passer of the ball, and he plays some delicious through balls. However, as evidenced in the first leg of their Champions League tie with Arsenal, he is prone to taking a selfish shot from near the endline rather than playing the ball across goal to one of sometimes multiple players running at goal and already in the box. What I see as a better choice in a similar situation is the play leading to Arsenal’s second goal in that match. Nasri’s decision to hold up the ball on the break and play it across the box to Arshavin (who scored on a first timer) was selfless and intelligent.

    Given the choice of taking a shot at a narrow angle with the keeper in position or playing the ball across the box for a teammate to possibly take a shot on goal from a better angle with the ‘keeper scurrying across the face of goal to get into position is a far superior choice. Of course there is a danger of the ball being cut-out by a defender or the ‘keeper himself, but the shot that is prospectively set-up is a much more favorable one.

  4. That was the funniest part of the match when Pina was on the ground for what seemed like an eternity, the stretcher comes and takes him off the field, then he hops up and runs around the sideline, what an actor!!!!

    Announcers were great, first time i have heard Jamaican announcers and a referee called Mr. so many times.

    The last 20 minutes of the game were absolutely crazy. I’m just thankful we qualified because it got pretty ridiculous out there.

  5. I also think the Union don’t want him down there because he is training with the first team and has played in all the scrimmages with them. 1st team practice and reserve/open cup/friendlies on beautiful pitches vs in Jamaica, playing unorganized, ugly soccer on the aforementioned Moon dusted with green.

  6. Wow! I never thought that someone would use Messi as an example of a player who needs forgiveness for being selfish. Did you realize that he leads La Liga in assists?

  7. Bad habits are acquired early, huh? Cabrera needs to have a talk with this young man so that such a performance is not repeated.

  8. The US players were right to yell at Andrew Oliver, the aforementioned #16, to pass. That fool was running at goal from near the end line at least twice and chose to take a low percentage shot instead of hitting the ball across the face of goal to Guido. Yes, you scored a goal in each of the previous two games, but you are not Messi, who is forgiven for his occassional selfishness due to his quality. Thankfully Pelosi and Guido chose the route that was best for the team in extra time when they each set each other up for a goal in similar situations.

    My man of the match was Guido. He had some great touches on the ball and played some great passes, not to mention scored two and assisted the other.

    This game, and probably tournament, was/is a joke. Corners/goal kicks and throw-ins were wrongly awarded half of the time, the pitch was disgusting, and our goalie (Pina) blatantly cleated a guy in the face. I don’t care that you are probably only 17 years old, you are a douchidiot.

  9. I missed that. The feed had no commentary (which wasn’t that bad since I had Lyon – Real Madrid on the TV anyway), all I heard were kicks, whistles, fans, and some of the US guys yelling at #16 for not passing enough.

  10. For those of you complaining about our play should lighten up a bit. They were playing on sand and un cut grass. Every player has to take an extra touch to control the ball. We controled most of the game except for a few counters by ES.

    Acosta is a 95 and has been playing LB when he’s a RB this dude is pretty good, my MOTM.

    Guido showed some really impressive display. This team has depth and I think they will do well in the WC.

  11. That referee was one wild dude.All the cards especially the second yellow card that led to the firstred card. A couple of wild dropballs and he ran the ball out to the center of the field after the El Salvador penatly. We attacked pretty well and we tried to play nice attacking soccer but suspicions are that El Salvador was not real good. We shall see how good we are at the world cup.

  12. By the way I don’t understand why Zach Pfeffer of the Union is not in this team. The kid is the only legit professional in MLS and could had help this team. Ives could you find out?

  13. there are other developmental acdemies in those areas, having mls academies in every city is not the way to go. Quit thinking good players only come from mls academies plus the team is in the u.s. residency program so none of them are developing their skills their so either way your questions are stupid.

  14. Oh my god that field. It’s like the surface of the moon dusted with green.

    And Acosta is just a young Marvell Wynne. He’s got exactly the same bad habits and the same old upside. Dump him for somebody better until he displays more than an iota of awareness. Had the same reaction to his play at that Phoenix tournament.

  15. What doesn’t make any sense is that we don’t believe this guys can win such an easy tournament!!!, c´mon the US should cruise under this circumstances because there aren’t any real world powers to compite with, so what we are really settling for is a nice WC spot instead of a semifinal WC run, that’s what we need to change as soccer spectators in America.

  16. Yeah that doesn’t make sense does it. All the Quarterfinalits get through plus Mexico as the host nation so really 5 representatives….

    I’m guessing that many of the other conferences have fewer teams?

  17. This was a horrible game and honestly the US is having a horrible tournament. Barely beatign subpar teams. Lots to improve if we want to be competitive in the WC in Mexico.

  18. Watched the game on The US boys deserved the result and will represent well in WC. Cabrera is a wonderful teacher and has this group performing well.

    Will be nice to see them on a better pitch.

  19. Ive wondered, why some of the USA players aren’t in MLS academys, and do you think that MLS teams should be scouting these tournaments for prospect players, instead of looking for them 5-10yrs later?

  20. Good work Young Nat’s. does anyone know if cards are reset, or do they carry over? not that it matters much now since we’ve qualified for Mexico…

  21. yea most definitely, Pina did a lil south american cheap shot to the el salvadorian forward.

    Acosta second yellow was very questionable. The ref directed the foul in the wrong direction, and you heard him saying “its my ball” the ES player pushed him, and the ref gave acosta a yellow card. It looked like the ref didn’t know Acosta was already on a yellow, because he would probably not have given it.

    Overall good game.

    US v Canada Final

    Canada Wins!

  22. Yeah, that is what happened and both red cards were deserved.

    Of course plenty of the TEN yellow cards were not really deserved. And there were a few potential yellows that were not given, as well as a few corner kicks not given, etc.

  23. Wow that was some bizarre stuff. Not great soccer or officiating but great entertainment. Those who get should check out the final 30 minutes if they want to see some crazyness.

  24. I don’t think it was Pena who was fouled. Pina kicked another guy in the face after collecting the ball in the air. As he came down from it Pena came in and shoved him to the ground. Both red cards were deserved in my mind.


Leave a Comment