IJEBU-ODE, Nigeria (Nov. 1, 2009) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team strode confidently into the second round of the 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Cup with a 1-0 victory against United Arab Emirates at Gateway International Stadium in their final match in Group E. Jack McInerney’s first-half strike proved the difference in the USA’s second consecutive shutout in the tournament.
McInerney scored his second goal of the tournament off a rebound of a Nick Palodichuk shot in the 35th minute, slotting home inside the left post from six yards out with UAE goalkeeper Ahmed Shambih scrambling to recover.
With the win, the U.S. finished in second place in Group E with six points and advanced to the round of 16 at the tournament, where they’ll face Italy, winners of Group F on Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 10 a.m. ET in Kaduna, Nigeria. The match can be followed live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, at twitter.com/ussoccer and at espn360.com. The television broadcast information will be announced soon.
Spain, who defeated the U.S. 2-1 in their opening match, took first in Group E with nine points from a perfect record, while UAE has also advanced on three points as one of the four best third-place teams.
It is the fourth consecutive FIFA Under-17 World Cup where the U.S. has advanced past the group stage, and seventh overall. The United States is the only nation to have participated in all thirteen events.
“We are really pleased with today’s performance," said U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team head coach Wilmer Cabrera. "I want to congratulate UAE, who have a very good team and were very competitive. The play was very good from the kids tonight. They moved the ball around well and created good opportunities. We came to play good football, play a good match and move the ball forward. We were only able to score once, but that one was enough to give us the chance to get to the next round.”
Cabrera started Stefan Jerome in place of Victor Chavez, but otherwise kept the same roster that earned a 1-0 victory against Malawi on Oct. 29.
Focused on getting the win and an assured spot in the round of 16, the U.S. began the game on the attack, particularly down the left flank. In the 10th minute, a Tyler Polak throw-in resulted in a pass to McInerney, who began a four pass give-and-go between him and Alex Shinsky. As he dribbled into the left side of the box, Shinsky sent the final pass towards the penalty spot for McInerney to run onto, but his errant touch went just a step too far and he was forced to stretch a shot wide of the right post.
The U.S. almost found the net in the 23rd minute when UAE goalkeeper Ahmad Shambih fumbled what seemed to be a fairly innocuous cross. Corralling an errant UAE defensive clearance along the left sideline, Shinsky sent the ball into the box with his left foot. As the ball swung towards the net, UAE goalkeeper Ahmad Shambih’s slapped the ball off the underside of the crossbar. The ball landed dangerously inside the six-yard box, but Marwan Al Saffar cleared it out of danger.
The pressure by the U.S. attack eventually paid off in the 35th minute when McInerney capitalized on another mistake by Shambih. Deep in UAE’s defensive end, Polak sent a throw-in to Marlon Duran, who squared it to Luis Gil. Dribbling across the top of the box from the left, Gil laid the ball back for Palodichuk, who one-timed a left-footed shot towards the right post. Shambih dove to palm the shot but couldn’t hold on, and McInerney pounced on the loose ball to slam it into the net from the edge of the six-yard box. The goal was his 11th on the year for McInerney, extending his team lead.
Moments after Palodichuk earned the first booking of the match and his first yellow card of the tournament in the 43rd minute for a foul just inside the U.S. half, the U.S. had another great opportunity on goal. Shinsky dispossessed a UAE player at midfield and streaked towards goal down the left. Unable to turn the corner and with no support, he managed to get a shot off looking for the far post, but Shambih got low to palm it away for the save.
The second half brought much of the same in terms of run of play, with the U.S. creating most of the better chances. UAE finally got their first good shot on frame in the 61st minute, but U.S. goalkeeper Earl Edwards was there for the save. With the U.S. defense falling back, UAE forward Ahmad Ghuloom sent a pass to Mohammed Sabil on the left side of the box, who took it around Jared Watts and managed to fire with his left foot from 15 yards out. Diving to his right, Edwards forcefully punched the ball out to concede the corner.
Two minutes later, Shambih came up big for UAE again to keep the U.S. with a one-goal lead. Gil teed up a shot from 23 yards after McInerney laid off a ball to him during a 4 v 3 counter. Picking out the top right corner, Gil’s shot appeared to be curving in before a diving overhand save from Shambih kept his team in the game.
Edwards and his defense were called upon again in the 70th minute, when Fahad Salim got around Watts with a clever step-over before firing a rocket of a shot that the U.S. goalkeeper could do nothing but punch away. The rebound fell in front, but Mohammed Sebil couldn’t get a foot on it and Polak eventually cleared it out.
Making his first appearance of the tournament in the 73rd minute, U.S. midfielder William Packwood slotted into a defensive role in replacement of Palodichuk, as the U.S. tried to preserve their lead. Cabrera also substituted Dominick Sarle for Shinsky and Juan Agudelo for Jerome in the 80 and 90th minutes, respectively.
With five minutes of extra time added, partly due to a broken corner flag, UAE looked for the equalizer, but a strong U.S. defensive effort broke up the late attacks well before they got near goal.
- U.S. U-17 Men's National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. U-17 MNT vs. UAE
Date: Nov. 1, 2009
Competition: 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup; Group E
Venue: Gateway International Stadium; Itebu Ode, Nigeria
Kickoff: 4 p.m. local time (10 a.m. ET)
Weather: 88 degrees, rainy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
UAE 0 0 0
USA – Jack McInerney 35th minute
USA: 1-Earl Edwards; 6-Zachary Herold, 2-Jared Watts (capt.), 15-Eriq Zavaleta, 3-Tyler Polak; 10-Luis Gil, 11-Nick Palodichuk (17-William Packwood, 73), 5-Marlon Duran, 8-Alex Shinsky (13-Dominick Sarle, 80); 9-Jack McInerney, 7-Stefan Jerome (16-Juan Agudelo, 90)
Subs not used: 4-Perry Kitchen, 12-Spencer Richey, 14-Carlos Martinez, 18-Andrew Craven, 19-Victor Chavez, 20-Boyd Okwuonu, 21-Keith Cardona
Head Coach: Wilmer Cabrera
UAE: 17-Ahmad Shambih; 4-Ahmed Mohammed (7-Ahmad Ghuloom, 32), 8-Majed Hassan, 21-Marwan Al-Saffar, 5-Abdelaziz Abbas; 15-Haddaf (13-Omar Salem, 78), 11-Hassan Yousuf (2-Khalifa Abdulrahman, 65), 16-Waled Husain, 10-Fahad Salim, 9-Mohamed Hussain; 12-Mohammad Sebil
Subs not used: 1-Abdulla Ali, 3-Rashid Mohamed, 6-Abdulrahman Yousuf, 14-Ahmad Ismail, 18-Ali Murad, 19-Eesa Abbas, 20-Sulaiman Mohamed
Head coach: Ali Ebrahim
Stats Summary: USA / UAE
Shots: 13 / 8
Shots on Goal: 9 / 3
Saves: 3 / 8
Corner Kicks: 7 / 6
Fouls: 10 / 8
Offside: 0 / 0
USA – Nick Palodichuk (caution) 43rd minute
UAE - Haddaf (caution) 58
Referee: Koman Coulibaly (MLI)
Assistant Referee 1: Redouane Achik (MAR)
Assistant Referee 2: InacioManuel Candido (ANG)
Fourth Official: Viktor Kassai (HUN)
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