USA wins group to earn record 12th straight berth at U-17 World Cup

Goals by Gregory Garza and Ellis McLoughlin gave the USA a 2-1 victory over previously unbeaten Costa Rica to win Group B of the CONCACAF Under-17 Qualifying Tournament in Kingston, Jamaica. The USA qualified for the Under-17 World Cup for a record 12th straight time.

The Americans had only played two of their four games when they clinched a berth in the finals thanks to Trinidad & Tobago's 2-1 win over Canada on Friday night. Hours later, a 3-2 loss to host Jamaica snapped the USA's 18-game unbeaten streak in U-17 qualifying.

Early goals were the difference for the Americans throughout the tournament. In each game, it led, 2-0, in the first half. Against Jamaica, Sheanon Williams and Alex Nimo scored in the first 33 minutes, but three late goals by Jamaica, including a penalty kick in stoppage time, sunk the USA's chances of staying undefeated.

Against Costa Rica two days later, Garza and McLoughlin, who returned after serving a two-game suspension, gave the USA a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. Costa Rica, which had not previously allowed a goal in the tournament, outshot the USA, 8-5, but could only manage one goal, which came in the 55th minute. The victory gave the USA first place in its CONCACAF qualifying group for the fourth straight time.

The USA, Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago earned berths at the U-17 World Cup, which will take place in eight venues in South Korea Aug. 18-Sept. 9. T&T clinched the third spot with a 1-0 victory over Jamaica in the final game of the tournament.

Honduras and Haiti qualified for South Korea '07 from Group A. Defending champion Mexico did not qualifying.

GAME SUMMARIES:
May 4 in Kingston
Jamaica 3 USA 2. Goals: A.Brown 78, Dever 82, Doyley pen. 90; Williams 15, Nimo 33.
Jamaica -- Wilson, S.Brown, Jarret, Thompson, Hyde, Banner (Mais, 24), Palmer, Doyley, Salmon (A.Brown. 59), Orgill, Wauch (Steele, 73).
USA -- Lambo, Williams, Bates, Wenzel, Zimmerman, Nimo (King, 68), Jeffrey, Millington, Shea (Ibrahim, 61), Dominguez (Paredes, 80), Schuler.
Yellow cards: Jamaica -- Thompson 36, Doyley 84.
Referee: Luis Rodriguez (Panama).

May 4 in Kingston
USA 2 Costa Rica 1. Goals: Garza 13 , McLoughlin 20; Urena 55.
USA -- MacMath, Williams (Turk, 75), Bates, Meyer, Zimmerman, Nimo, Jeffrey, Wenzel, Garza (Millington, 71), McLoughlin, Schuler (Shea, 90).
Costa Rica -- Moreira, R.Smith, J.Smith, Rojas, Luna, Brenes (Ibarra, 80), Guzman, Bryan, Herra (Urena, 33), J.Castro, Varela (B.Castro, 49).
Yellow cards: Costa Rica -- Urena 40, J.Castro 40.
Referee: Elmer Bonilla (El Salvador).

FINAL STANDINGS:
1. USA 9 points;
2. Costa Rica 7 pts.
3. Trinidad & Tobago 6 pts.
4. Canada 4 pts.
5. Jamaica 3 pts.

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