U-17 MNT Opens World Cup with Convincing 3-0 Win
- Alejandro Guido Sets Pace with Early Goal; Esteban Rodriguez and Alfred Koroma Add Second Half Tallies
- Seven Players Representing U.S. Soccer Development Academy Start Match in Torreon, Mexico
- USA to face Uzbekistan on Wednesday, June 22 with Live Coverage on Galavision and ESPN3 at 4 p.m. ET
TORREON, Mexico (June 19, 2011) – The U.S. opened the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup with an emphatic 3-0 win against the Czech Republic on Sunday in Torreon, Mexico. Goals from midfielders Alejandro Guido and Esteban Rodriguez, as well as a late strike from substitute forward Alfred Koroma gave the USA a deserved three points in scorching three digit temperatures.
The U.S. currently sits in second place in Group D behind New Zealand on goals scored. The Young All Whites powered to a 4-1 win against Uzbekistan earlier in the evening. The U.S. can secure a berth to the second round with a win against Uzbekistan on Wednesday, June 22. That match, also from Estadio Torreon, kicks off at 3 p.m. local time (4 p.m. CT) live on Galavision and ESPN3, and on tape delay on ESPNU.
"It's a very important result for us because it’s our first game of the tournament and against a great European team in Mexico," said head coach Wilmer Cabrera. "It's very positive for the kids. They were nervous like every kid, for sure. They played the game, made themselves feel comfortable, and got the result by playing well. That’s important and that’s going to give us confidence to continue improving throughout the tournament. The Czech Republic is a great team and that’s why we played the game very seriously, very hard. We never tried to change our script."
With the win, the U.S. improved its record against European teams at the U-17 World Cup to 6-8-2. This was the first time the U.S. has won its opening game at the U-17 World Cup since 2005.
Seven players representing U.S. Soccer Development Academy clubs started the match for the United States: goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh, defenders Kellyn Acosta, Joe Amon and Zach Carroll, midfielders Marc Pelosi and Esteban Rodriguez, and forward Paul Arriola.
The U-17s started the match brightly, controlling possession in the early exchanges, and Guido opened the scoring with a wonderfully taken effort in the fifth minute. The U.S. midfielder picked the pocket of Patrik Svoboda, and took one touch before firing a left-footed scorcher from 25 yards out that dipped under the crossbar and gave the Czech goalkeeper little chance.
It was the second consecutive World Cup where the USA started with an early goal, after Jack McInerney scored for the USA against Spain in the opening match of the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria. On that day the USA would succumb to the eventual third place team from that tournament. This time around there was no comeback from the Europeans.
After the goal, the USA continued its positive start with Pelosi trying his luck with a left-footed shot. Moments later Mario Rodriguez skimmed a header wide after taking up a good position at the far post.
The Czech Republic began to get into the game and after 30 minutes fashioned a few dangerous chances. In their first opportunity, Ondrej Karafiat whipped in a dangerous cross where Michael Lueftner headed it wide from close range. In the 38th minute USA goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh was called into action, springing to his right to expertly palm away a close-range effort from the Czech Republic’s Lukas Julis and preserve the USA’s lead heading into the break.
The USA started the second half with similar impetus and midfielder Pelosi smashed a shot from distance off the crossbar in the 49th minute.
Three minutes later the USA would double its lead when Arriola teed up Esteban Rodriguez inside the area. Arriola picked the ball up from a USA throw-in and shimmied past his defender on the endline. Picking his head up, he found Rodriguez streaking into the box and cut it back for his onrushing teammate who slotted a one-time finish into the far post with aplomb.
The USA turned its attention to defending following the second goal and the backline did well to deal with a dangerous corner in the 63rd minute. Proceedings were generally slowing down, the 100-degree weather no doubt contributing to the decline in the game’s pace, but the USA was firmly on top of its opponent.
McIntosh remained alert throughout the second half, scampering off his line to snuff out a Czech Republic through ball in the 76th minute. Three minutes later Czech Republic’s Michal Travnik tried a shot from 20 yards out that went past McIntosh’s right hand post and proved to be the last bit of offense for the young European team.
There was still time for another bit of magic on the offensive end for the USA, with substitute Alfred Koroma getting into the action. After coming on minutes earlier, Koroma’s first involvement in the game saw him pick up a pass from Pelosi in the 89th minute. Two stepovers later, Koroma went by two defenders and cracked a left-footed shot from 20 yards low to the far post to seal the USA’s win.
-- U.S. U-17 MNT Match Report --
Match: U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. Czech Republic
Date: June 19, 2011
Competition: FIFA U-17 World Cup; Group D
Venue: Estadio Torreon; Torreon, Mexico
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Weather: 100 degrees, clear
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 2 3
CZE 0 0 0
USA - Alejandro Guido 5th minute
USA – Esteban Rodriguez (Paul Arriola) 52
USA – Alfred Koroma (Marc Pelosi) 89
USA: 1-Kendall McIntosh; 16-Kellyn Acosta, 6-Mobi Fehr, 2-Zach Carroll, 4-Joe Amon; 8-Esteban Rodriguez, 5-Matt Dunn, 10-Alejandro Guido (14-Tarik Salkicic, 75), 11-Marc Pelosi (capt.); 9-Mario Rodriguez (7-Alfred Koroma, 87), 18-Paul Arriola (13-Nico Melo, 90)
Subs not used: 12-Fernando Pina, 3-Nathan Smith, 15-Alessandro Mion, 17-Andrew Souders, 19-Jack McBean, 20-Dillon Serna
Head Coach: Wilmer Cabrera
CZE: 16-Lukas Zima; 2-Ondrej Karafiat, 3-Jan Filip, 6-Michael Lueftner, 15-Jan Sterba (capt.); 4-Petr Nerad (12-Lukas Stratil, 54), 7-Ales Cermak, 9-Nikolas Salasovic (19-Michal Travnik, 72), 17-Dominik Masek (8-Jindrich Kadula, 61); 10-Lukas Julis, 11-Patrik Svoboda
Subs not used: 1-Patrik Macej, 21-Ondrej Kolar, 5-Lubos Adamec, 13-Patrik Kundratek, 14-Dominik Spavelko, 18-Marek Strada, 20-Daniel Cerny
Head Coach: Josef Csaplar
Stats Summary: USA / CZE
Shots: 10 / 13
Shots on Goal: 4 / 3
Saves: 3 / 1
Corner Kicks: 0 / 7
Fouls: 17 / 10
Offside: 0 / 3
USA – Tarik Salkicic (caution) 86th minute
Referee: Diego Abal (ARG)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Herrera (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Christian Lescano (ECU)
Fourth Official: Omar Ponce (ECU)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Paul Arriola