US U-17s clinch group with win over Panama
The United States U-17 national team have advanced to the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Championship as Group B winners thanks to their 1-0 defeat of Panama on Friday in the Americans' second match in Jamaica. Andrew Oliver scored the game's lone goal in the 50th minute.
With the victory, the Americans avoid a date with Costa Rica in the quarterfinals and instead will take on El Salvador on Feb. 22 with a berth in this summer's U-17 World Cup on the line. Panama also advance from the group after finishing ahead of Cuba.
Neither side made much offensive impact during the opening 45 minutes. The Americans, spurred by the return of playmaker Alejandro Guido, had the majority of the ball, but they failed to convert a few half-chances.
The drought ended in the 50th minute when Oliver beat Panamanian goalkeeper Iván Picant. Guido delivered an in-swinging free kick and the Indianapolis-born forward met the ball in the air. Oliver also scored against Cuba just after the second-half began.
With both teams content to advance, the Americans dominated possession in the dying stages of the match.
US Starting Lineup
Piña; Amon, Souders (capt.), Fehr, Acosta; E. Rodriguez, Dunn, Guido, Pelosi; M. Rodriguez, Oliver
Panama Starting Lineup
Picant; Francisco, Chen, Wright, Pinzon, Paredes, Narbon, Goot, Santamaria, Stephens, Gonzalez
Noah Davis covers the United States national team for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter at @noahedavis