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USA survives wild finish
February 22nd, 2011 4:18PM

TAGS:  u-17 world cup


[CONCACAF UNDER-17 CHAMPIONSHIP] Substitute Mario Rodriguez and Marc Pelosi scored in overtime and the USA then survived two red cards and a penalty kick to defeat El Salvador, 3-2, in the Concacaf under-17 quarterfinals and keep its streak intact of having qualified for every Under-17 World Cup.

Pelosi fed Rodriguez on the counterattack, and Rodriguez, open on the right wing, did not miss to give the USA a 2-1 lead in the 95th minute.

Halfway through the second overtime, Pelosi made it 3-1 when he scored with his left foot after Alejandro Guido beat two defenders and drove a low cross to the near post.

Guido had scored on a header to give the USA the lead in the fourth minute, but El Salvador responded five minutes later on a goal by Jose Pina.

Following Pelosi's goal, the fireworks began.

First, U.S. left back Kellyn Acosta was sent off for picking up his second yellow card, and then U.S. goalie Fernando Pina was ejected for a foul on Salvadoran captain Diego Galdamez in the box, reducing the USA to nine men.

Pena was then sent off for retaliating against Pina, who was shown his red card as he was stretchered off the field.

Jamaican referee Valdin Legister had not yet allowed the USA's third substitution waiting to enter the game at the midfield area, so backup goalie Kendall McIntosh came in and Guido went out.

Geraldo Iraheta converted the penalty kick to reduce the U.S. lead to 3-2, but El Salvador never threatened in the three and a half minutes of stoppage time.

The game finished with three red cards and 10 yellow cards.

“Overall, I’m happy with the personality and determination that the players showed on the field,” said U.S. coach Wilmer Cabrera. “It’s a good win for us. We’re in the World Cup. We came here to prove what we can accomplish in three games and we made it to the World Cup. Now we’re one of the four top teams and tomorrow we’ll think about what’s next.”

The Under-17 World Cup will be played June 18-July 10 in Mexico.

“It’s the best feeling," Guido said of qualifying for the world championship. "It’s everything I’ve ever wanted, everything the team’s wanted. Ever since I was little I’ve wanted to go to a World Cup and especially this one because it’s in Mexico. It’s the best feeling in the world.”

The USA will face Wednesday's winner of the Jamaica-Honduras game in the Concacaf semifinals on Friday (TV: ESPN Deportes,, live, 7 pm ET).

Panama won Tuesday's opening quarterfinal with a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica.
Feb. 22 in Montego Bay
USA 3 El Salvador 2 (OT). Goals: Guido 4, M.Rodriguez 95, Pelosi 112; J.Pena 9, Iraheta 120 (pen.).
USA -- Pina; Amon, Souders, Fehr, Acosta; E.Rodriguez, Dunn, Guido (McIntosh, 119), Pelosi; Koroma (M.Rodriguez, 80), Oliver (Carroll, 114).
El Salvador -- Morales; V.Zelaya, Landaverde, Galdamez, J.Pena, Castro (Lizama, 98), Mejia (Villavicencio, 75), Ayala, Barahona, Iraheta,  Zavaleta (G.Pena, 59).
Red Card: USA -- Acosta 113, Pina 116; El Salvador -- Pena 116.

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