Pelosi stands out again for U.S. in CONCACAF play

Marc Pelosi (#15) was one of the USA's difference makers during the 2015 CONCACAF Men's Olympic Championship. (Photo: Mexsport)

SANDY, Utah – It has been a long road for United States under-23 international Marc Pelosi, who is – on most occasions – a midfielder.

And that’s why his goal in a 2-0 win over Canada in the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship’s match for third place on Tuesday was so inspiring.

“I would say Marc was a true warrior today because he comes on and plays left back, a position that is not normal for him,” said John Hackworth, the USA’s stand-in head coach for the suspended Andreas Herzog, after the game. “He does an outstanding job getting forward and, in the end, he scores the pivotal goal for us that kind of unlocks them a little bit and gave us that little bit of a cushion.”

Pelosi was one of the outstanding performers for the U.S. during its run to the 2011 CONCACAF Under-17 Championship title. In Jamaica, he scored two goals, including what proved to be the game-winner in the 112th minute of a 3-2 quarterfinal extra-time win over El Salvador.

His play there and the subsequent FIFA U-17 World Cup drew the attention of many big European sides. Pelosi ultimately signed with England’s Liverpool in November 2011, but in a match with the club’s under-21 team more than a year later, he suffered a broken leg.

While recovering, his contract was renewed, but he was ultimately released in June. The next month, Pelosi signed with Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes.

He appeared in 11 league matches, starting in last four appearances, before linking up with the U.S. for the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship (CMOQ).

Everything has been looking up for the impressive 21-year-old and that’s why his goal – the first -- in a 2-0 win over Canada in the CMOQ’s match for third place was so inspirational. It helped earn the Americans a playoff date with Colombia for a berth in the 2016 Olympic Games.

“Actually, I almost didn’t play because my right leg was injured, so everyone was laughing that I scored with my right foot,” said the humble Pelosi. “It was a good goal. The second…penalty…that really secured us for the win.” 

Hackworth could not have been happier for his game-winner, recognizing the difficulties that Pelosi overcame to get to this point. 

“Marc’s been struggling since, I think it was the Cuba game, when he took a really bad injury,” the former Philadelphia Union head coach expressed. “I shouldn’t say it was that bad, but it was tough to get it back. Full credit to him because he really had to struggle and play through some adversity to put himself in that position. He certainly came through for us today.”

As usual, Pelosi preferred to focus on the team’s achievements rather than his own.

“We knew we didn’t play our game against Honduras,” he finished. “We thought if just we kept at it like we played in the group stage, we knew we should come out with a result against Canada and that’s what we did.”