MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica - Nathan Smith scored with a spectacular 35-meter strike and Andrew Oliver and Alfred Koroma added insurance goals in extra time to gave the United States its first CONCACAF Under-17 Championship since 1992 with a 3-0 victory over Canada on Sunday.
Smith ended the American frustration 65 seconds into the first extra period and Oliver tacked on his goal in the 100th minute for the United States, which had significantly more possession throughout the match and better chances in the second half.
The winning play started innocently enough with Smith taking a touch toward the center of the field before unleashing a curling, right-footed drive. Canadian keeper Maxime Crepeau reached across his body with his right hand but did not come close to before it banged high off the inside of the right post and settled in the opposite side netting of the goal.
Oliver, who threatened several times in the second half, assured the victory, finishing a counter by rounding Crepeau and scoring into an open net for his fourth of the tournament. It was his eighth goal in a U.S. uniform. Koroma completed the scoring in the 119th with his second of the tournament.
The goals were the first allowed by Canada in the tournament, having recorded four shutouts en route to the final.
Both teams finished with 10 eligible players when Oliver and Marco Lapenna were ejected in the 117th minute following some pushing-and-shoving that involved several players near the benches.
The United States became the first CONCACAF U-17 champion since 1996, after which the confederation did not crown a winner. Although the 2009 tournament returned to a championship format, the event was abandoned after the quarterfinals due to an swine flu outbreak in the host country of Mexico.
It was the third title for the Americans, who also won in 1983 when the competition was an under-16 event.
The Americans had better possession but Canada the more dangerous opportunities in the first half with goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh overcoming defensive lapses to keep the game goalless.
McIntosh, making his second start in place of the suspended first-choice keeper Fernando Pina - who was ejected in the final minutes of the United States' quarterfinal victory over El Salvador and drew an extra game's penalty, twice came off his line to thwart threatening moments.
He raced from his goal box and blocked Jay Champan after he stole the ball from Andrew Souders and shot from near the top of the area in the ninth minute. Nineteen minutes later he repeated the feat, denying Keven Aleman, who had gotten behind the U.S. back line.
The Americans continued to control the possession in the second half and had better chances, the best in the 53rd when Crepeau stretched to punch a Dillon Serna corner, but knocked the ball back toward his own goal where Marco Lapenna cleared it off the line.
Crepeau also had to drop to his knees to block a Pelosi attempt at the left post in the 77th and could only punch away Pelosi's 35-meter free kick in the 82nd.
"We had some chances in the first half that if they would have gone in would have changed things," Canada coach Sean Fleming said. "It was a great strike for the first goal. The other two I'm not going to worry about."
The victory was the Americans' fifth straight in Jamaica and seventh over Canada in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship in eight games. The runner-up finish was the highest for a Canadian side in the tournament after finishing third three times.
PS. WE DON'T HAVE A NT: CANADA TAG AND I KNOW AT LEAST ONE PERSON WHO WOULD REALLY LOVE AND APPRECIATE ONE! ;)