Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hats Off in Panama

The US U-20s are one win away from this Summer's World Cup after a 4-1 trashing of Haiti last night in Panama City. Harvard University's Andre Akpan scored a hat trick in the rout, that was blemished only by a Haitian pk in the 73th minute that was nearly stopped by US keeper and RSL draftee Chris Seitz. FC Dallas's John Wallace scored the other US goal in the physical match, where Trinidadian ref Lee Davis handed out seven yellow cards (only two to the US) . RSL's Freddy Adu captained the US Squad, but NY Red Bull forward Jozy Altidore didn't leave Thomas Rongen's bench. Guatemala tied host Panama in the nightcap, leaving the standings this way after one round:

(Top two nations qualify)
Team, Pts, GD
USA, 3, +3
GUA 1, 0
PAN 1, 0
HAI 0, -3

A win vs. Guatemala tomorrow night (6:30pm ET, GolTV) will clinch a spot for the Yanks in the U-20 World Cup, to be held in Burnaby, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Victoria, Canada starting on June 30th. Already qualified for the 24-team tournament are European nations Spain, Scotland, Czech Rep., Austria, Poland, and Portugal, and Asian countries Japan, North and South Korea, and Jordan. The host nation will take part as well, of course.

Guatemala will surely prove a tougher task than the Haitians, but here's to hoping for a smooth and safe qualification for the Gnats. Go get 'em!

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