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U.S. Loses in Final of CONCAF Tourney But Still Qualifies for Olympics

Even though the US lost to Honduras in the final of the CONCAF Olympic qualifying tournament, held in Nashville, the Americans still earned a berth in into this summer’s Olympic soccer tournament to be held in Beijing. Both teams had already earned Olympic berths after the semifinals of the tournament. Honduras was happy with the victory as they avenged their last loss to the U.S., which gave them the Group A title. The only goal of the game came late, as Georgie Wilson Welcome fired a shot from 23 yards out in the upper right hand corner of the neat beating U.S. goalie Dominic Cervi in the 103rd minute.

U.S. coach Peter Nowak did not have many choices for his roster, as several players returned to their European clubs after securing the Olympic berth. The players that returned to Europe were Freddy Adu (Benifica in Portugal), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United in England), Sal Zizzo (Hannover 96 in Germany) and Charlie Davis (Hammarby IF in Sweden).

Even though the U.S. missed several key players they played well in the final, especially on defense. The U.S. had the best chance to score in the 74th minute as forward Robbie Findley from Real Salt Lake hit the crossbar on a long cross by Chad Barnett of the Chicago Fire. Honduras had their best chance to score in the 54th minute, as the U.S. cleared two dangerous balls, as Dominic Cervi of the Houston Dynamo was out of the net. One ball was cleared off the line and another was cleared out of bounds.

There was an injury scare midway through the 2nd half when Hunter Freeman was taken down hard and suffered an ankle injury. He did leave the field on his own but the extent of the injury is not known as of yet.

Nowak stated about the final, “We talked with the players before this game. When you play at home you want to win the tournament. I’m glad and pleased. They still went forward. They still tried to win the game over the 90 minutes. We did have chances to win the game before the extra time.”

In the 3rd place game Canada beat Guatemala, as the game went to penalty kicks where the Canadians won the shootout 5-3. The game was a scoreless tie for the first 120 minutes of regulation and extra time.

For the U.S. four players were named to the All-Tournament Team. They were Michael Orozco, Dax McCarty, Freddy Adu, and Maurice Edu.