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Donovan, Beasley pace 3-0 rout of Honduras; Americans must now beat Jamaica.

By Gary Davidson
SoccerTimes

(Friday, February 26, 1999) -- DaMarcus Beasley netted an early goal and assisted the first of two Landon Donovan tallies as the United States under-17 men blanked Honduras 3-0 to stay alive in the CONCACAF Group A qualifying tournament today in Montego Bay Jamaica.

The Americans (1-0-1, 4 points) are left with the daunting task of beating the host Jamaicans (2-0, 6 points) Sunday afternoon to gain one a berth in Novemberís world championships in New Zealand. With a victory, the U.S. will join Group B winner Mexico as a qualifier. A tie would place the Americans second in the four-nation group, sending them into a home-and-home playoff with El Salvador, the runnerup to Mexico, for the third and final spot from the region that includes North America, Central America and the Carribean. Even with a loss, the U.S. could conceivably finish second depending on the result of Sundayís match between Costa Rica (0-1-1, 1 point) and Honduras (0-2, 0 points).

A capacity crowd of around 30,000 is expected for the Sunday match against Jamaica, which beat Costa Rica 2-0 today. "I think itís going to be great," said Landon Donovan (Redlands, Calif.), who now has three goals in the tournament and 28 in 30 appearances for the U.S. under-17s. "I donít think any of us our used to (such a large crowd) and you canít prepare for it, but we usually rise to the challenge so weíll se how it goes."

The U.S., unbeaten in its last nine international matches, dictated the tempo from the outset, applying extreme pressure to the Honduran and pressing its advantage with speed on the flanks and up front.

"We had a lot of good pressure and a lot of chances," said U.S. coach John Ellinger of Ellicott City, Md. "We had them under pressure almost the entire game. Other than a few defensive miscues in the first half, we played a pretty solid performance.

"This particular team seems to play better when their backs are against the wall. Weíre in a tough situation (against Jamaica) because itís going to be packed. Itís going to be a huge crowd and they ainít going to be rooting for us."

Beasley (Fort Wayne, Mich.) put the U.S. ahead 1-0 in the seventh minute, nudging home a shot from six yards off a pass from Kyle Beckerman (Crofton, Md.). The play began with the defensive work of Jordon Cila (Jericho, N.Y.) who tracked down and stripped Honduras 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 before sliding the ball across the goal to an awaiting Beasley.

"If we get an early goal, we donít usually lose," said Donovan, who last Saturday signed a four-year contract with a two-year option with Bayer Leverkusen of the German Bundesliga.

Donovan put the U.S. up 2-0 in the 24th minute, cutting back against a defender before perfectly placing a 25-yard shot into the top right corner after a give-and-go with Beasley.

"Landon smacked this thing from about 25 yards out," Ellinger said. "He hit it into the upper right corner on a rope . . .

The U.S. finished the scoring in the 80th minute when Raul Rivera (Tulare, Calif.) used some crafty footwork in midfield to beat three Honduras defenders and thread a ball to Donovan at the top of the box. Donovan played a one-two combination with Cila, who probably could have scored, but slid a pass to Donovan for an easy tally.

"Not too shabby," Donovan said of his dayís work. The first goal "was pretty nice. It was kind of lucky actually. It just wanted to one-time it and hit it on goal so I was pretty happy about that. The second goal was all Jordon. He was alone in front of the goal and he slid it across and I put it in. He could have (scored), Iím sure, but the offensive players on this team are pretty unselfish."

United States 3, Honduras 0

Lineups: United States - Delvin Countness, Nelson Akwari, Alexander Yi, Seth Trembly, Oguchi Onyewu, Bryan Jackson (Adolfo Gregorio 72), Kenneth Cutler (Raul Rivera 75), Kyle Beckerman (Bobby Convey 80), DaMarcus Beasley, Jordon Cila, Landon Donovan; Honduras - Lanza Maximiliano, Astor Cooper, Norlan Salmeron (Josue Cruz 31), Cliford Carcamo, Mario Castillo, Jhoni Cerrata, Jose Euceda, Marco Figueroa, Carlos Montero (Jose Bonilla 35), Alex Benavidez, Derick Guerrero.

Scoring:
United States - Beasley (Beckerman) 7;
United States - Donovan (Beasley) 24;
United States - Donovan (Cila) 80.

Shots: United States 19, Honduras 13. Saves: United States 7, Honduras 12. Corner kicks: United States 14, Honduras 6. Fouls: United States 19, Honduras 3. Offside: United States 4, Honduras 3. Yellow card cautions: Honduras - Benarivdez 66.

Referee: Noel Bynoe. Assistant referees: Gustavo Aquirre, Clemroy Francois. Attendance: 600 at Jarrett Park Stadium in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Weather: 85 degrees, breezy and humid.

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