U.S. under-17 men
Donovanís late goal provides Americans 2-2 tie with Costa Rica.MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (Wednesday, February 24, 1999) -- Striker Landon Donovan scored in the 86th minute to allow the United State to twice to salvage a 2-2 draw with Costa Rica in the opening match of the CONCACAF under-17 menís qualifying tournament at Jarrett Park Stadium.
Donovan netted the equalizer between goalkeeper Nighel Durrmond off a header from Jordon Cila in a crowd in front of the Costa Rica net after late substitute Adolfo Gregorio sent a corner kick into the penalty area.
"Adolfo hit a driven ball into the box that went over Nelson's (captain Nelson Akwari) head and bounced out to (DaMarcus) Beasley who was on top of the 18-yard box," Donovan said. "Beasley headed the ball back in to Jordon Cila who was between four Costa Rican defenders. Cila won the ball and headed it perfectly to my feet and I just fired it in between the keeperís legs."
The U.S. twice had to overcome one-goal deficits to earn the point in the standings. The Americans next play Honduras on Friday at 1 p.m (ET) and finish Sunday against Jamaica at 3 p.m. The winner of this four-nation group advances to the world championships in New Zealand in November.
The second-place team will play El Salvador, the runnerup in the other CONCACAF group, for the third spot allotted to the region of North America, Central America and the Carribean. Mexico already has qualified for the world championships by winning the other CONCACAF group.
Jamaica defeated Honduras 1-0 in today's second match.
"You can play in all these tournaments and prepare all you want but until you actually set foot in a CONCACAF competition you don't feel the pressure of having to win and our team felt the pressure today for the first time," U.S. under-17 coach John Ellinger. "Of course, we would have liked a win but a tie is a positive result and now we will prepare for Honduras."
The Americans first fell behind in the eighth minute when referee Jose Farias awarded a penalty kick for a hand ball on defender Greg Martin. The U.S. argued that Martin was illegally pushed from behind creating the hand ball.
Marvin Calvo converted the penalty putting Costa Rica up, 1-0.
"I was very disappointed with the first 25 minutes of play and the penalty kick really unnerved us," Ellinger said. "It took us awhile to regain or composure and I was pleased with the last 20 minutes of the first half. In the second half we dominated Costa Rica."
The U.S. responded in the 28th minute when Landon Donovan was pulled down, setting up a free kick that Seth Trembly launched 30 yards that smacked the crossbar before going in for a 1-1 tie.
Seven minutes later Costa Rica took the lead 2-1 when Fabricio Mena netted a two-yard rebound after U.S. keeper Delvin Countess stopped, but could not control low drive by Calvo.
United States 2, Costa Rica 2Lineups: United States - Delvin Countness, Nelson Akwari, Alexander Yi, Seth Trembly, Greg Martin (Oguchi Onyewu 46), Bryan Jackson, Kenneth Cutler (Adolfo Gregorio 60), Kyle Beckerman (Raul Rivera 75), DaMarcus Beasley, Jordon Cila, Landon Donovan; Costa Rica - Nighel Durrmond, Victor Brenes, Erick Quesada, Gonzalo Segares, Cristian Montero (Pablo Hernandez 38), Gustavo Villalobus (Ronald Fleming 88), Luis Arroyo, Enoc Perez, Marvin Calvo (Juan Hildalgo 80), Fabricio Mena.
Shots: United States 14, Costa Rica 8. Saves: United States 3, Costa Rica 5. Corner kicks: United States 7, Costa Rica 1. Fouls: United States 21, Coosta Rica 22. Offside: United States 3, Costa Rica 5. Yellow card cautions: United States 56, Quesada 61.
Referee: Jose Farias (Canada). Assistant referees: Jose Garcia (Dominic Republic), Clemroy Francois (St. Francis). Attendance: 1,234 at Jarrett Park in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Weather: 85 degrees, humid.