[UNDER-17 CONCACAF CHAMPIONSHIP] The USA completed group play at the Under-17 Concacaf Championship with another offensive display, scoring three first-half goals en route to a 3-0 victory over Honduras Saturday in Tijuana. It gave the Americans three wins and 12 goals in three outings.
With a berth to the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria locked up, Coach Wilmer Cabrera started new players against Honduras, which has lost all six matches it has played against the USA at the U-17 qualifiers. Nicholas Palodichuck, who had not played in either of the first two games, scored the first and third goals for the USA. Jack McInerneyadded a goal in the 28th minute, bringing his total to five goals in three games.
Palodichuk's first goal came in the 28th minute when he pounced on the rebound of Joseph Gyau's hard shot that Honduras goalkeeper Jesus Rivera did well to parry.
Eight minutes later, McInerney received a ball from Gyau on the left side of the penalty area, took two touches to get inside the box and curled his shot around Rivera and inside the far post.
Palodichuk completed the scoring in stoppage time of the first half, striking with the outside of his left foot from 25 yards after McInerney laid the ball off to him.
With Dustin Corea and Emilio Orozco both entering the game at the start of the second half, all 20 players on the U.S. roster saw action during the group phase.
"It was a pretty match," said Cabrera. "We had six players play who were not starters and with the other five players, we confronted a Honduran team who knew they had qualified already and that probably changed their perspective of the game. Our first objective was to qualify for the World Cup. Our second objective was to play the greatest number of players possible. We have accomplished our tasks and we have done it by winning."
Cuba's 2-1 win over Canada earlier on Saturday had clinched the Catrachos' place in Nigeria.
Update:The remainder of the tournament was canceled because of the swine flu threat in Mexico.
Other qualifiers for Nigeria '09 include New Zealand, which won the Oceania bid on Friday afternoon, Nigeria, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Gambia and Malawi representing Africa, Iran, Japan, South Korea and Uzbekistan from Asia. The South American tournament is currently underway in Inquique, Chile.
April 25 in Tijuana
USA 3 Honduras 0. Goals: Palodichuk 28, 45, McInerney 36.
USA --Richey, Polak, Zavaleta (Orozco, 46), Herold, Kitchen, C.Martinez, Duran (Jerome, 65), Agudelo, Palodichuk, McInerney (Corea, 46), Gyau.
Honduras --Jesus Rivera, John Rivera, Alvarado, H.Martinez, Fuentes (Rodriguez, 66), Agustin, Lozano (Sanchez, 80), Tobias, Rivas, Aragon (Lopez, 46), N.Martinez.
Yellow Card:Honduras -- Lozano 33.
Referee:Stanley Lancaster (Guyana).