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March 15, 2015
U.S. U-17s are headed to World Cup

Four days ago the United States Boys Under-17s lost a 1-0 game to Jamaica on a penalty kick, setting up a rematch for a CONCACAF berth in the upcoming World Cup.

So it was probably fitting that the one-game match for a trip to Chile in the fall came down to a shootout after 90 minutes of a 0-0 draw. (No stoppage time was added; the teams went directly to the shootout.)

And in the sixth round Alexis Velela scored the USA's fifth goal for a 5-4 shootout win over Jamaica on Sunday night at the Estadio Francisco Morazon in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

The victory sends the U-17s off to the FIFA World Cup to be played Oct. 17-Nov. 8 in Chile. Honduras and Mexico had already qualified for two of the four CONCACAF berths through finishing first in their respective groups. Costa Rica defeated Canada 3-0 before the U.S. game to lock up the third berth, leaving the U.S. and Jamaica to battle for the fourth and final spot.

In the shootout, Christian Pullsic's opening shot was saved by Jamaican keeper Jahmali Waite, but then Joe Gallardo, Danny Barbir, Alejandro Zendejas, John Nelson and Velela converted to give the Americans a 5-4 advantage. And then Jamaica's Alex Marshall was off target with his shot, ending the suspense.

This will mark a return to the Under-17 competition for the USA, which failed to qualify for the 2013 World Cup.

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