Two goals from Freddy Adu helped the United States overcome their Canadian neighbours 3-0 in Tennessee in their CONCACAF U-23 championship semi-final on Thursday. In the earlier game, Honduras slipped past Guatemala on penalties as both finalists now move on to represent CONCACAF at the 2008 Men's Olympic Football Tournament in Beijing this August.
Honduras had the early game at LP Field in Nashville, and were pushed all the way by a motivated and talented Guatemala. After a cautious 90 minutes and 30 more of extra time, in which Guatemala were reduced to ten men, the game ended in a goalless stalemate.
And in keeping with the tense and well-balanced nature of the preceding two hours of football, it took 14 spot kicks to separate the sides. Goalkeeper Kevin Hernandez of Honduras saved from Manuel Leon and Rafael Morales ballooned his crucial kick over the bar to send Honduras to their first Men's Olympic Football Tournament since Sydney 2000.
The host Americans, and their stable of stars, took the field after the defensive marathon of the first game and put Canada to the sword 3-0 with minimal effort. Captain Freddy Adu was the star of the show, scoring a free-kick in each half to lead the Stars and Stripes to Beijing.
The Benfica man's first set-piece strike came in minute 28 and caught the Canadian defence unawares, skipping off keeper Joshua Wagenaar and into the net. His second try was a sublime left-footer from 23 yards which cleared the wall and swerved into the top corner, effectively putting the contest beyond doubt.
Chivas USA midfielder Sasha Kljestan went on to add a third
goal, and the only one to come from the run of play, to round out
the 3-0 win.
The final between Honduras and the USA will take place on Saturday 22 March and decides the region's U-23 champion. Canada and Guatemala will meet earlier on Saturday in a third-place play-off.