A last second shot by Jaime Alas which Sean Johnson could not hold onto trickled into goal for the equalizer and the USA U23 needing a win, alas, failed to qualify for the London 2012 Olympics. It will be El Salvador marching to the CONCACAF zone semi-finals from Group A, not the heavily favoured US side.
A 2-0 loss to Canada made the El Salvador encounter a must win. The USA came back from a 2-1 deficit as Terrence Boyd added another goal and a late strike by Joe Corona took them to a 3-2 advantage into stoppage time. Things were looking very good with just seconds to go before the end when Alas, the game on the line, took a speculative left footer from 15 yards out which bounced in front of Johnson taking him by surprise and what should have been a routine collection turned out to be a nightmare goal that sank the USA.
El Salvador by topping the group probably avoid likely group B winners Mexico leaving Canada with the unenviable task of trying to beat El Tri. Today’s matches will decide who joins Mexico from Group B as Honduras, Panama, and Trindad and Tobago all have a fighting chance to qualify.
The U23 can take some positives from this match. Terrence Boyd shows lots of promise as does Joe Corona or Joe Benny Corona Crespín if you want his full name.
Corona, who scored the third goal did so against El Salvador, the country of his mother’s origin, and therefore eligible to represent that country. In fact, Corona was also called up to represent the Mexican U22 team because of his father for the upcoming Pan American games. But because FIFA does not recognize it as an official tournament he was still eligible to play for the USA and on November 2nd accepted a call up to the U23 squad. He is the Olympics qualifying joint top scorer with four goals. A standout at San Diego State University, he now pursues his career at Tijuana, in the Mexican Primera Liga.