LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. (Dec. 9, 2013) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team began the 2013 Nike International Friendlies with a heart rending 2-1 loss to Portugal, which scored its game-winning goal in second-half stoppage time. The USA next plays England at 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday. The match will be streamed live on ussoccer.com. Additional updates will be on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.
In a hard-fought match that the USA controlled for long stretches, the U-17 MNT was unable to turn in more than one of the many good chances it created. Haji Wright opened the scoring in the 13th minute for the USA only for Generoso Correia to equalize 15 minutes later. USA goalkeeper Kevin Silva stood on his head throughout the match, making four remarkable saves, but was unable to keep out Goncalo Vieira’s game-winning header in the 91 st minute.
The USA began the game well, looking comfortable in possession and working the ball into dangerous areas down Portugal’s flanks. The good work opened up space for the USA, and in the 12th minute Luca de la Torre was able to skip through the Portugal defense and send in a tempting cross that Wright headed into the arms of Portugal goalkeeper Fabio Duarte.
Wright made no mistake with his next opportunity. Sent through on goal by Alejandro Zendejas, Wright smashed a shot into the upper right corner of the goal to hand the USA the 1-0 advantage in the 13th minute.
As the half wore on, Portugal gained more control of the ball and tested Silva in the U.S. goal on multiple occasions. Silva was up to the task, showing a vast array of skill to punch clear a dangerous cross while under duress, diving at the feet of Ricardo Araujo to stop the Portugal attacker from running down a back pass and making a superb pair of saves in quick succession just after the 20-minute mark.
In the 27th minute, Portugal finally found a way through. From the wide left flank, Joao Simoes sent in a deep cross that an unmarked Correia chested down and slotted past a helpless Silva.
The rest of the half played out with the USA gaining control again, but unable to sufficiently test Duarte.
That control carried over to the beginning of the second half as a good spell of possession led to the USA winning a free kick near the top right corner of the Portugal penalty area in the 48th minute. Christian Pulisic whipped in a fierce, curling shot that Duarte was narrowly able to claw wide of the post. Duarte was again called into action four minutes later as Josh Perez unleashed a long-range effort that was headed for upper right corner.
Similar to the first half, Portugal responded with an excellent chance of their own on the hour mark, but Silva robbed Sambu Idrisa of a sure headed goal with an acrobatic stop.
The teams traded half chances throughout the remainder of the half until Portugal grabbed the winning goal from a set piece in extra time. With the USA unable to organize its wall and defensive marking, Vieira was able to get behind the defense and head home the deciding goal.
-U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team Match Report-
U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. Portugal U-17 Men’s National Team
Date: Dec. 9, 2013
Competition: 2013 Nike International Friendlies
Venue: Premier Sports Campus; Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET
Weather: 77 degrees, clear
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
POR 1 1 2
USA – Haji Wright (Alejandro Zendejas) 13th minute
POR – Generoso Correia (Joao Simoes) 27
POR – Goncalo Vieira (Bruno Pereira) 90+1
USA: 1-Kevin Silva; 2-Matthew Olosunde (15-Alexis Velela, 78), 3-John Nelson (13-Edwin Lara, 64), 5-George Braima, 6-Eric Calvillo (capt.), 7-Christian Pulisic, 8-Luca de la Torre (17-Brian Zelaya, 87), 9-Haji Wright, 10-Alejandro Zendejas (19-Joe Gallardo, 64), 11-Joshua Perez (20-Pierre Da Silva, 78), 14-Hugo Arellano
Subs not used: 4-Daniel Barbir, 12-William Pulisic, 16-Logan Panchot, 18-Thomas McCabe
Head Coach: Richie Williams
1-Fabio Duarte, 2-Joao Simoes, 3-Bruno Paz, 4-Goncalo Vieira, 6-Pedro Ferreira (13-Rafael Duarte, 75), 7-Generoso Correia (9-Rui Sousa, 66), 8-Madiu Bari
(16-Bruno Lourenco, 46), 10-Moreto Cassama (capt.) (15-Jorge Pereira, 81), 11-Ricardo Araujo (17-Jonatas Centeno, 46), 14-Bruno Pereira, 18-Idrisa Sambu
(5-Ricardo Mangas, 81)
Subs not used: 12-Tiago Martins
Head Coach: Filipe Ramos
Stats Summary: USA / POR
Shots: 6 / 12
Shots on Goal: 6 / 6
Saves: 4 / 5
Corner Kicks: 6 / 5
Fouls: 6 / 18
Offside: 4 / 3
POR – Idrisa Sambu (caution) 60th minute
POR – Pedro Ferreira (caution) 66
POR – Moreto Cassama (caution) 81
Referee: Marcos Deoliveira
Assistant Referee 1: Danny Thornberry
Assistant Referee 2: Kathryn Nesbitt
Fourth Official: Alex Chilowicz