Canada's Under-17 national team booked their tickets to the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in highly dramatic fashion on Sunday, and MLS academy players were key to the achievement.
Les Rouges' youngsters outlasted Costa Rica in an epic quarterfinal clash at the Concacaf U-17 Championship decided by penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes of play.
The teams swapped penalty kicks on either side of halftime, Toronto FC prospect Jayden Nelson netting from the spot for Canada in first-half injury time after Jeremie Omeonga-Nkoy (Montreal Impact) was fouled in the box, only for Geancarlo Castro to level for Los Ticos in similar fashion early in the second stanza.
A tense 30 minutes of extra time at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida unfolded with plenty of action but no goals, sending the contest to a shootout, where Canada triumphed 4-3, the decisive spot kick dispatched by Gianfranco Facchineri (Vancouver Whitecaps) to send the Canadians into euphoric celebrations.
🇨🇷Jordy Hernandez ❎ Kouadio save— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) May 12, 2019
🇨🇦Kamron Habibullah ✅
🇨🇷Keymark Davis ✅
🇨🇦Matthew Catavolo ✅
🇨🇷Geancarlo Castro ✅
🇨🇦Jacen Russell-Rowe ❎ Barrett save
🇨🇷Jordy Evans ❎ Crossbar
🇨🇦Julian Altobelli ✅
🇨🇷Maikel Gonzalez ✅
🇨🇦Gianfranco Facchineri ✅ QUALIFIED!!#canm17 #U17WC
It's the seventh U-17 World Cup trip for Les Rouges, and the first since 2013. .
- CAN - 45+3' - Jayden Nelson (PK)
- CRC - 49' - Geancarlo Castro (PK)
CANADA: Marc Kouadio -- Rohan Goulbourne (Toronto FC), Nathan Demian (Vancouver Whitecaps), Gianfranco Facchineri (Vancouver Whitecaps), Deylen Vellios (Vancouver Whitecaps) -- Damiano Pecile (Vancouver Whitecaps), Kamron Habibullah (Vancouver Whitecaps), Tomas Giraldo (Montreal Impact), Ralph Priso-Mbongue (Toronto FC) -- Jeremie Omeonga-Nkoy (Montreal Impact), Jayden Nelson (Toronto FC)
- 37' Simon Colyn (Vancouver Whitecaps) for Ralph Priso-Mbongue
- 60' Julian Altobelli (Toronto FC) for Tomas Giraldo
- 79' Matt Catavolo (Montreal Impact) for Jeremie Omeonga-Nkoy