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Youth National Teams: U-17s draw 0-0 with Jamaica, will meet El Salvador in playoff
February 28th, 1999 12AM
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The U.S. boys' U-17 national team drew 0-0 against Jamaica on Feb. 28 to finish second in the 1999 CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament held in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The U-17s will now play El Salvador in May in a home-and-away playoff series for the third and final CONCACAF berth in the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship. The USA will play in El Salvador for the first match of the playoff series on May 9. The second match will be played on either May 21, 22 or 23 in the United States at a site yet to be determined. Landon Donovan, the qualifying tournament leading scorer with three goals, will serve a one-game suspension and miss the first match in El Salvador after receiving a red card in the 89th minute for his challenge on Jamaican goalkeeper Allien Whittaker. "I thought the team played well today, we were just unlucky in front of the net and their keeper had a tremendous game. We shut them down in the back and they had no real good chances to score," said U.S. Head Coach John Ellinger. "We dominated the match, but today was Jamaica's day. They were in position to play for a tie and did what they needed to do to qualify." In front of 5,000 festive, soccer-crazed Jamaican fans the USA dominated and shut down a strong Jamaican team. The U.S. defense held Jamaica to just three shots for the entire match while U.S. goalkeeper Delvin Countess was never really challenged. The U.S. nearly got on the board in the sixth minute when Donovan beat two defenders on the right wing and played a cross to a near-post streaking Jordan Cila, who misdirected the ball just wide of the far post. Jamaica played a defensive game, bunkering down in their own penalty area while trying to counter on the Americans. It wasn't until the 29th minute that Jamaican forward Craig Gordon got their first shot on goal. In the second half the USA continued their domination, playing the majority of the game in Jamaica's defensive half. In the 70th minute Donovan bent a 25-yard free kick over the Jamaican wall but was denied a goal at the last moment by the out-stretched hands of Jamaican goalkeeper Whitaker. With time running out, Nelson Akwari had the USA's best chance to score in the 90th minute when he fired a low hard-driven shot from six yards out that was cleared off the line by a Jamaican defender. The U-17s will return to the Bollettieri Sports Academy in Bradenton, Fla. on March 1 to immediately begin preparations for their playoff series against El Salvador. Feb. 28 in Montego Bay, Jamaica Jamaica 0 USA 0. Jamaica -- Whittaker, Thomas, Stevens, Sailsman, Frazer, Bennett (Richards, 46), Bryan, Gordon, King, Stewart, Kelly (Prendergast, 71). USA -- Countess, Akwari, Yi, Trembly, Onyewu, Jackson (Gregorio, 63), Cutler, Beckerman, Beasley, Cila (Rivera 84), Donovan. Yellow cards: Jamaica -- Thomas 16, King 53; USA -- Donovan 84. Red card: USA -- Donovan 89. Referee: Ulises Rangel (Mexico). Att.: 5,000.

Final Group A Standings

*Jamaica 3 2 1 0 3 0 7
**USA 3 1 2 0 5 2 5
Costa Rica 3 1 1 1 5 5 4
Honduras 3 0 0 3 1 7 0
Feb. 24 -- USA 2 Costa Rica 2, Jamaica 1 Honduras 0. Feb. 26 -- USA 3 Honduras 0, Jamaica 2 Costa Rica 0. Feb. 28 -- Costa Rica 3 Honduras 1, Jamaica 0 USA 0. *Jamaica and Mexico earn automatic CONCACAF berths in the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship in New Zealand. ** USA and El Salvador will play a home-and-away playoff series for the third and final CONCACAF berth at New Zealand '99.

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