Los Angeles Soccer: Nathan Smith
February, 27, 2011
By Scott French | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Galaxy forward Jack McBean came off the bench to set up two goals as the U.S. captured CONCACAF's under-17 boys championship Sunday with a 3-0 overtime triumph over Canada.
McBean (Newport Beach/Corona del Mar), who last month signed a "Home Grown Player" contract with the Galaxy, came on for fellow Southern Californian Marco Rodriguez (North Hollywood/Poly HS in Sun Valley) with 10 minutes to go in regulation. He set up goals by Andrew Oliver and Alfred Koroma as the Americans won the first U-17 title CONCACAF has awarded since the mid-1990s.
Nathan Smith broke the scoreless draw two minutes into overtime with a 35-minute strike. Oliver made it 2-0 eight minutes later on a breakaway from McBean's throw-in, his fourth goal of the tournament, and Koroma netted the finale in the 119th.
Both teams finished with 10 players after Oliver and Canada's Marco Lapenna were sent off after a scuffle in the 117th minute.
Palmdale's Esteban Rodriguez (Bell Gardens HS) went the distance again for the U.S. The midfielder was the only American to play every minute of the tournament -- and the only U.S. player to start all five of the team's games. Mario Rodriguez and McBean saw action in for games.
Both teams had already qualified for the June 18-July 10 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico.
The U.S. had previously won the tournament in 1983, when it was a U-16 event, and in 1992. Coach Wilmer Cabrera, a former pro defender who represented Colombia at the 1990 World Cup in Italyc and played at the 1998 World Cup in France, has posted an 8-0-0 mark in FIFA U-17 qualifiers. The Americans were 3-0-0 two years ago at the CONCACAF championship in Mexico, but the semifinals and final were canceled over swine-flu virus concerns.
"It was a good final, and Canada was a great opponent," Cabrera told U.S. Soccer's Web site. "A lot of things happen in finals, and I'm really happy about this one. This is the first time we've won a championship like this at this level, and I'm proud of the kids and the work they did. To come here, play five games and win all five shows that they've been doing a good job."
Panama, which beat Jamaica, 1-0, in the third-place game, and the tournament-host Reggae Boyz also qualified for the World Cup. The draw will be held May 17 in Mexico City.
Fourteen countries have qualified for the 24-team tournament, including host Mexico. The others, aside from the CONCACAF teams: Australia, North Korea, Japan and Uzbekistan from Asia; Burkina Faso, Congo, Ivory Coast and Rwanda from Africa; and New Zealand from Oceania. South America will provide another four teams, and Europe will qualify six.