March 11, 2009

The U.S. Under-20 team has marched on in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament, winning 2-0 over El Salvador and claiming the top spot in the group.

Unlike Mexico, which shockingly failed to advance out of its group, the U.S. only had a slight bit of trouble with a scoreless draw versus Honduras in its last match.

Although the U.S. had failed to concede a goal, there was still a slight chance of elimination in the final game versus El Salvador.

"Even though we only needed a tie tonight, we wanted to be aggressive," said U.S. Under-20 head coach Thomas Rongen.

Yet the U-20 team assured its passage to the World Cup in Egypt by scoring two first-half goals.

Brek Shea struck for the opener in the 31st, which came courtesy of an assist from Brian Ownby.

Tony Taylor stuck for the game's final goal 10 minutes later, with Peri Marosevic playing provider on the assist.

"We did a very good job in the first half of playing together and scoring the two goals," added Rongen. "We played three tough games and put ourselves in a position to get to Egypt, which we did. We were able to determine our own fate in this game and I couldn't be happier with this team as they showed a lot of character through some adversity tonight."

The second half, though scoreless, contained plenty of drama as Shea received a second yellow card and left the U.S. team a man down. The problem was compounded when Jorge Flores saw red near the close of the game.

Still, the U.S. team was able to hold on. Rongen and his players are now assured of U-20 World Cup participation.

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