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Football: US Under 23 Team Wins Olympic Qualifier - 2003-11-20

The United States men's under-age-23 soccer team has defeated the tiny Caribbean island nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, 4-0, in a regional Olympic qualifying match played in suburban Washington. This was the second leg of a two-game home-and-home series. In the opener last Saturday in Saint Kitts, the U.S. men dominated, winning 6-0.

When the Americans got a goal in the third minute from David Testo here, the home fans thought they might see another high-scoring victory. But the miserable weather conditions helped keep things in check for much of the game. The first half was played in a hard-driving rain that made for slippery footing. It let up after the intermission, and Testo scored again in the 62nd minute to make it 2-0.

The 22-year-old midfielder is the only one on the team who is playing on a U.S. minor league professional soccer club, and Testo told VOA Sports it was a thrill to contribute to this win. "It honestly means the world just to even put on the [U.S. national team] jersey, and to score a goal when you play with this team it means so much to me as a player and a person," he says. "And I just love this country so much, especially after visiting other countries I just love to be with this team, this country and everything."

The U.S. squad got its final two goals near the end of the match. Kyle Martino scored in the 87th minute, and 17-year-old Eddie Gaven converted a penalty kick in stoppage time moments before the final whistle.

With the 4-0 win and two-game sweep of Saint Kitts and Nevis, the U.S. soccer team advances to the final round of regional Olympic qualifying which will take place among eight teams next February in Mexico. The top two teams from that tournament earn berths in the 2004 Athens Olympics.