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CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship Jamaica 2013 Draw Held in Montego Bay

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) conducted a draw today for the CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship Jamaica 2013.

At the Hilton Rose Hall Resort, CONCACAF Director of Competitions Horace Reid oversaw proceedings that determined the groupings and match schedule.

Host Jamaica — seeded into Group A — kicks off its campaign against El Salvador on October 30, while the defending champion United States – seeded into Group B – opens with Trinidad & Tobago a day later.

“We are delighted to return to Jamaica for this event, which is the first women’s regional championship to be hosted by the country,” said CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb, who was in attendance along with representatives from the participants.  “Jamaica has always been known as a hospitable, welcoming island, and we are confident the country has the infrastructure and know how to set the bar even higher, to host not only regional championships but also World Championships in the near future.”

The nations were divided into two groups of four, both of which will engage in round-robin play over the competition’s first six match days.  The top two teams from each group will advance to the semifinals on Thursday, November 7.  The semifinal winners will advance to the final, as well as qualify to join host Costa Rica as CONCACAF’s representatives in the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.

All tournament matches will be held at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.

The United States has won two of the three CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championships to date, including the inaugural tournament in 2008, and the last edition in 2012.  Canada was crowned champion in 2010.

CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship Jamaica 2013
October 30 – November 9, 2013
at Montego Bay, Jamaica (Montego Bay Sports Complex)

Group A: Jamaica, Mexico, Haiti, El Salvador
Group B: United States, Canada, Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago

Times U.S. Eastern (local time in parentheses)

Wednesday, October 30
Mexico vs. Haiti, 4:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m.)
Jamaica vs. El Salvador, 7:00 p.m. (6:00 p.m.)

Thursday, October 31
Canada vs. Guatemala, 4:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m.)
Trinidad & Tobago vs. United States, 7:00 p.m. (6:00 p.m.)

Friday, November 1
El Salvador vs. Mexico, 4:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m.)
Jamaica vs. Haiti, 7:00 p.m. (6:00 p.m.)

Saturday, November 2
Canada vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 4:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m.)
United States vs. Guatemala, 7:00 p.m. (6:00 p.m.)

Sunday, November 3
Haiti vs. El Salvador, 3:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m.)
Jamaica vs. Mexico, 6:00 p.m. (6:00 p.m.)

Monday, November 4
Guatemala vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 3:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m.)
United States vs. Canada, 6:00 p.m. (6:00 p.m.)

Thursday, November 7
SF #1:  Winner Group B vs. Runner-up Group A, 3:00 p.m. (3:00 p.m.)
SF #2:  Winner Group A vs. Runner-up Group B, 6:00 p.m. (6:00 p.m.)

Saturday, November 9
Loser SF #1 vs. Loser SF#2, 3:00 p.m. (3:00 p.m.)
Winner SF #1 vs. Winner SF#2, 6:00 p.m. (6:00 p.m.)

* CONCACAF reserves the right to change the time and order of matches.

Seattle’s Secondary Pummels Guatemalan Side

In the first leg of the group stages of the CONCACAF tournament, Mike Fucito led the Seattle Sounders to an impressive 4-1 victory over Comunicaciones.  Fucito, who normally struggles to produce goals, had two left footed goals and an assist to Brad Evans on the night.  The Sounders starters were not the norm for this match, but it did not seem to make a difference.  Seattle’s victory becomes even more remarkable when one considers that they were down a man for twenty-five minutes, following a red card to Neagle in the 55th. 

An early goal from Comunicaciones made Terry Boss (playing for Keller) looked novice and hesitant.  The goal, a low, aerial corner kick to the far post, was misjudged by Boss, who missed the block off of the header.

There were several handballs on the evening.  One on Alvaro Fernandez, one for Comunicaciones, along with several other missed handballs along the way.  Sitting in the press box, a hundred yards further away than the refs, it’s a wonder how they were able to miss them.

Seattle was finally able to retaliate after a corner from Fucito was struck powerfully and with purpose by Evans in the 35th minute.  The score was then tied at 1-1.

A minute before the half, Montero brought down a great pass at the top of the 18 yard line.  He trapped and unloaded, missing the goal by mere inches.

The second half started with a bang.  A yellow card was issued to Castrillo in the 50’, and Neagle was issued a red in the 55’, leaving the Sounders a man short for a half hour.  An early free kick for Seattle narrowly avoided the net.  Juan Paredes, the keeper for Comunicaciones, had many diving saves.  If it were not for his many saves, the score would have been much more lopsided.

Seattle scored again in the 61st.  Fucito pulled down a great through ball, had time to set up, and blasted the ball past Paredes!  Credit for the assist went to Fredy Montero.  Fucito has had five goals and one assist in the last five matches.

In the 68th minute, Fucito was the recipient of another fantastic through ball.  His one touch set up and left footed strike found the back of the net, yet again.  The assist went to both Fernandez and Evans.  Fernandez would tally two assists on the night.

The 80th saw a near goal for the Guatemalanside.  Boss made a diving save, pushing the ball to open space where some strikers were awaiting the rebound.  The Seattle defense stayed strong and were able to clear it out.  The replay may lead you to believe a goal was scored by Comunicaciones, but the people in charge saw it differently.

If Comunicaciones weren’t feeling down already, the own goal in the 88th minute from Rigoberto Gomez hammered the final nail into their coffin.

Seattle Starting XI -Terry Boss, James Riley, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Hurtado Kennedy, Leo Gonzalez, Lamar Neagle, Servando Carrasco, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez, Fredy Montero, Mike Fucito

Comunicaciones Starting XI -Juan Paredes, Edgard Martinez, Erwin Morales, Carlos Castrillo, Adolfo Machado, Juan Marquez, Fredy Thompson, Bryan Ordonez, Carlos Ramirez, Transito Montepeque, Jairo Arreola

Sounders Advance in CCL Thanks to 2-0 Result

The Sounders FC played the San Francisco FC in their final of two matches for the CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round.  On July 26th, the Sounders played on their opponents’ home turf in Panama, where they lost 1-0.  The series takes into account the aggregate score from the combined games, so Seattle entered CenturyLink Field slightly defeated yet determined to send a message. 

The message was loud and clear: Seattle Sounders FC are red hot at home and continue to display this streak week in and week out, unless of course they are playing Manchester United.  Seattle won the match in regulation time (1-0 on the single game, 1-1 on the series) thanks to a marvelous goal from Alvaro Fernandez, but due to the nature of the aggregate scores between the two games, Wednesday’s match was propelled into overtime.  Nate Jaqua put Seattle up by one goal (2-0 for the match, 2-1 on the series) in the 99th, while the Rave Green defense stunted San Francisco’s strikers and kept them off the score board.  Seattle advances to the group stage of the tournament, which is always an accomplishment for MLS clubs.

Seattle dominated the game, unleashing roughly four times the amount of shots as San Francisco.  Seattle set a personal record for most shots fired.  Leo Gonzalez, Seattle’s left defender, was all over the pitch, breaking up plays and participating in multiple offensive attacks.  The usual stars for Seattle, Montero, Rosales, and Fernandez, were brilliant, but I would not be surprised if Gonzalez becomes a more key player for Seattle.  He has the height, speed, and vision to make great plays and his performance on Wednesday will hopefully carry into future competition. 

Miguel Torres, the SF keeper, had eleven saves on the night, while Kasey Keller’s earned five saves.  Keller had two crucial saves, the first in just the 12th minute as the veteran knocked a shot away from the open far post.  The other sealed the victory as Keller made a nice save in the 109th minute, pushing his club deeper in this prestigious tournament. 

The play was aggressive, manipulative, and strategic.  Six yellow cards were issued due to the brutality and hastiness of the players.  Several SF players were “injured” and had to be hauled away on stretchers.  The crowd was unhappy with the referee’s decisions, and they let him know repeatedly.

While a victory and advancement in the tournament is great news for Sounders FC fans, Jaqua’s contributions are met with mixed feelings.  He has been a disappointing player for several games now.  He cannot control passes, misses open goal chances, and his passes are shabby.  At times, it is as if there is a college player on the pitch trying to keep up with MLS players.  Jaqua’s goal was much needed for the team, but I for one am unhappy; the last thing I wanted was a reason to like Jaqua.

San Francisco FC Starting XI: Miguel Torres, Rolando Algadona, Martin Gomez, Felipe Olivardia, Edgardo Panezo, Manuel Torres, Eybir Bonaga, Amir Waite, Roberto Chen, Roberto Brown, Johan de Avila

Seattle Sounders FC Starting XI: Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg, Alvaro Fernandez Pat Noonan, Fredy Montero

U.S. Drawn Into Group A for CONCACAF’s Semifinal Round of Qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup

The U.S. Men’s National Team was drawn into Group A of CONCACAF’s Semifinal Round of FIFA World Cup Qualifying during the Preliminary Draw for the 2014 FIFA World Cup that took place Saturday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The U.S., led by new head coach Juergen Klinsmann, will begin its quest to qualify for a seventh-consecutive FIFA World Cup when Semifinal Round play in CONCACAF begins in June of 2012.

The U.S. was drawn into Group A with Jamaica, and will be joined by the winners of Group E and Group F from the Second Round of qualifying. Group E is composed of Grenada, Guatemala, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Belize, while Group F features Haiti, Antigua and Barbuda, Curaçao and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The group winners will be determined during Second Round play which will be completed November of 2011.

“The Preliminary Draw is an important starting point as it allows us to begin preparations for our qualifying campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “The teams in CONCACAF improve every year and that makes advancing to the World Cup more difficult, but we are look forward to the journey and the opportunity to be part of the world’s biggest event in what will be an incredible atmosphere in Brazil.”

The USA recently met Jamaica in the quarterfinals of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where goals from Jermaine Jones and Clint Dempsey sent the USA to the semifinal and the Reggae Boyz out of the tournament. The U.S. holds a lifetime record of 10-0-8 against Jamaica. The two teams last met in a World Cup qualifier almost seven years ago during qualifying for the 2006 tournament in Germany.

Beginning in June of 2012 and ending in October that same year, the U.S. will play each of its Group A opponents twice, once at home and once away, in round robin play, with the group winner and group runner-up advancing to Final Round of World Cup qualifying.

The Final Round, which will take place in 2013, will feature a group of six teams. Each of the Semifinal Round group winners and runners-up making up the well-known Hexagonal that determines which CONCACAF nations qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The top three teams from round robin play will book their place in Brazil, with the fourth place team playing a home-and-away intercontinental playoff against a team from Oceania. The USA has finished first in the Hexagonal during the past two FIFA World Cup cycles.

The U.S. is next in action against Mexico on Aug. 10 in Philadelphia. Tickets are still available for the match and can be purchased at Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, and Univision.

2014 FIFA World Cup – CONCACAF Draw
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

First Round (June 15 – July 17, 2011)
- The 10 lowest-ranked teams in the region (based on March 2011 FIFA World Rankings) contested a home-and-away series.
- The five series winners advanced to the Second Round.

Second Round (Sept. 2 – Nov. 15, 2011)
Group A
El Salvador
Cayman Islands
Dominican Republic

Group B
Trinidad and Tobago

Group C

Group D
St. Kitts and Nevis
Puerto Rico
St. Lucia

Group E
St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Group F
Antigua and Barbuda
U.S. Virgin Islands

Semifinal Round (June 8 – Oct. 16, 2012)
Group A
Winner E (Second Round)
Winner F (Second Round)

Group B
Costa Rica
Winner A (Second Round)
Winner B (Second Round)

Group C
Winner D (Second Round)
Winner C (Second Round)

Final Round (Feb. 6 – Oct. 15, 2013)
- Three group winners and runners-up from Semifinal Round comprise a group of six teams.
- The top three teams qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup with the fourth placed team advancing to the intercontinental playoff against a team from Oceania.

U.S. Men Fall 4-2 in 2011 Gold Cup Final

The U.S. Men’s National Team lost to Mexico 4-2 in the final of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup in a thrilling encounter in front of more than 93,000 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Saturday.

The USA opened the scoring with goals from Michael Bradley and Landon Donovan to jump out to a 2-0 lead, but Mexico followed with four unanswered goals to earn its second straight Gold Cup title.

“It’s a difficult way for us to end the tournament for sure,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. “As a team we made a lot of progress and we were looking forward to this matchup. It’s a very good game. It’s fast. There’s a lot of very good attacking on both sides. We certainly congratulate Mexico. Give credit to them for some of the soccer they put together and like I said we put a good amount into it and we’re disappointed to let one slip away.”

In a frantically paced first half, the U.S. got the start it was hoping for with an early goal. After winning a corner kick in the eighth minute, midfielder Freddy Adu whipped a ball into the near post where an onrushing Michael Bradley, playing in his first tournament final, hit a perfect glancing header that had too much on it for Mexico goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera. The goal was Bradley’s first in the Gold Cup and his third against Mexico, after netting twice in 2009 in a final round FIFA World Cup qualifier.

Despite the dream start, the mood was tempered by defender Steve Cherundolo’s exit from the game. The experienced right back and big-game performer sprained his left ankle, forcing Bradley to bring on Jonathan Bornstein with his first change of the match in the 11th minute and switch Eric Lichaj to the right.

Mexico’s attacking ability was on display in the early going as well, with Javier Hernandez getting involved in the action. His first chance saw him head over the goal from a teasing Giovani dos Santos cross, and minutes later Andres Guardado teed up Pablo Barrera for a volley that went straight at Tim Howard.

Despite the danger on the defensive end, the USA put together a flowing attacking play to double their lead in the 20th minute. Receiving the ball with his back to goal, Adu turned his man before laying the ball off to Clint Dempsey 30 yards from goal. The U.S. midfielder took a touch before slipping a perfectly weighted through ball into the path of a streaking Donovan. After timing his run superbly, Donovan took one touch before placing a left-footed shot into the goal at the near post. It was his second goal against Mexico in a Gold Cup Final after scoring in 2007, and also set a CONCACAF record with 13 career goals in the tournament all together.

Mexico reacted with urgency after going down two goals and head coach Jose Manuel De La Torre made an early substitution. Carlos Salcido made way for Jorge Torres Nilo in the 28th minute and immediately after the switch, Mexico was back in the game.

Hernandez lifted a ball over the top of the U.S. defense to Barrera, whose one-time finish with his right foot beat Howard at the near post in the 29th minute. The goal gave Mexico momentum and seven minutes later they leveled the match.

In the 36th minute, dos Santos cut inside on the edge of the area where he smashed a shot low to the far post. The ball deflected off Lichaj and bounced back to Guardado, who bundled the ball over the line past Howard from eight yards out to make the score 2-2 before the interval.

After halftime, Mexico jumped on the attack and took the lead in the 50th minute. Guardado won the ball at the top of the box before laying it off for Barrera for a one-time shot with the outside of his right foot that had too much pace for Howard to get a hand on.

Down a goal, the USA continued to throw numbers forward and generate chances. Carlos Bocanegra went close with a header from a Donovan corner in the 52nd minute, and six minutes later Adu tested Talavera with a curling free kick from 25 yards out.

The U.S. continued to push for a goal and in the 59th minute had its best chance of the second half. Bornstein whipped a ball into the box that was half cleared to Dempsey at the top of the box. The in-form midfielder took one touch before drilling a left-footed strike that beat the goalkeeper but smashed off the crossbar.

Mexico sealed its sixth Gold Cup title in the 76th minute when the ever-present dos Santos wrapped up the scoring. Receiving the ball in the box, he eluded the U.S. defense and Howard before pulling back and crafting a delicate chip that evaded everyone and nestled in the top corner.

“I think that they have some very good attacking players and I think that we do too,” Bob Bradley said. “I think sometimes a final becomes a real test of both teams going after each other. That was the way we chose to play this game knowing that it would still require good reactions defensively to deal with those situations. In there, there are some plays where our reactions don’t end up being as good and sometimes there are some plays where at the end you give credit. Dos Santos’ fourth goal is a great piece of skill.”

There were still late chances for the United States, with Clarence Goodson going close after being teed up by late substitute Sacha Kljestan, but it was not to be and the final whistle ended the USA’s quest for its fifth Gold Cup title.