Youth National Teams: Donovan, Beasley lead U-17s to 3-0 win over Honduras

The U.S. U-17 national team struck with two first-half goals to defeat Honduras, 3-0, in CONCACAF U-17 qualifying Feb. 26 in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The U.S., unbeaten in its last nine international matches, dictated the tempo from the beginning, pressuring Honduras all over the field and taking advantage of their team speed on the flanks and up front. "We did a much better job dealing with the weather today, keeping possession, pressuring and letting the ball do the work," said U.S. coach John Ellinger. "We finished our chances today and the team really stepped it up and controlled the game." The Americans found the back of the net in the 7th minute when DaMarcus Beasley (Fort Wayne, Ind.) nudged in a pass from Kyle Beckerman (Crofton, Md.) on the 6 yard box. The play began with the defensive work of Jordan Cila (Jericho, N.Y.) who tracked down and dispossessed Honduran midfielder Mario Castillo and immediately fed the ball to Kenneth Cutler (Richmond,Va.). Cutler played a through ball to a streaking Beckerman, who faked a shot and slid the ball across the goal to an awaiting Beasley to put the ball in the net. Landon Donovan (Redlands, Calif.) scored in the 24th minute after a give-and-go combination on the left side with Beasley. Beasley beat his defender on the touch-line and played the ball back to Donovan, who stuck the ball first-time from on top of the box, beating Honduras keeper Maximiliano Lanza to the far post and giving the U.S. a 2-0 lead at halftime. In the 27th minute forward Cliford Carcamo had Honduras's best chance to score when he found himself on a breakaway against U.S. dkeeper Delvin Countess (Sarcramento, Calif.). The Honduran tried to loft the ball over Countess but sailed his shot over the goal. The USA put the game away in the 80th minute when Raul Rivera (Tulare, Calif.) performed some crafty footwork in midfield, beating three Honduran defenders and threading a ball to Donovan at the top of the box. Donovan played a one-two combination with Cila and made no mistake with his shot, tallying his third goal of the tournament to give the U.S. a 3-0 victory. The U.S. will play Jamaica on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 3:00 p.m. (ET) in the final match of the tournament. The hosts, who are undefeated so far, beat Honduras, 1-0, in their opening match Feb. 24 and Costa Rica, 2-0, today. The winner of the USA-Jamaica match will earn an automatic berth in the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship to be hosted by New Zealand in November. The U.S. must win to earn the automatic berth; a draw would see the U.S. face El Salvador in a two-leg playoff for the final CONCACAF berth at New Zealand '99. "Jamaica are difficult to play against. They don't play out of the back but rather one-touch it out and look for the counter-attack," said Ellinger. "It will be a battle on Sunday." Feb. 26 in Montego Bay USA 3 Honduras 0. Goals: Beasley 7, Donovan 24, 80. USA -- Countess, Akwari, Yi, Trembly, Onyewu, Jackson (Gregorio, 72), Cutler (Rivera, 75), Beckerman (Convey, 80), Beasley, Cila, Donovan. Honduras -- Lanza, Cooper, Salmeron (Cruz, 31), Carcamo, Castillo, Cerrata, Euceda, Figueroa, Montero (Bonilla, 35), Benavidez, Guerrero. Yellow cards: Honduras -- Benavidez 66. Referee: Noel Bynoe. Att.: 600.

Group A Standings

Jamaica 2 2 0 0 3 0 6
USA 2 1 1 0 5 2 4
Costa Rica 2 0 1 1 2 4 1
Honduras 2 0 0 2 0 4 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 vs. Honduras, Jamaica vs. USA.
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