USA Begins 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship with 5-0 Win vs. Jamaica

PANAMA CITY, Panama (April 23, 2017) – Battling scorching conditions under the afternoon sun, the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team used a barrage of second half goals from Chris Durkin, Timothy Weah, Josh Sargent and a late brace from Ayo Akinola to earn a 5-0 victory against Jamaica in the teams’ opening match of the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship.

Despite 90-degree heat and high humidity at kickoff, the U.S. came out with heavy pressure early on but was thwarted at every turn in the first half thanks to stellar play from Jamaica goalkeeper Tajay Griffiths. The Reggae Boyz captain turned away two great chances from Blaine Ferri and Akinola inside the first 11 minutes before pouncing on Andrew Carleton’s 22nd minute penalty kick.

A minute later, he got help from center back Jamoi Topey, who blocked George Acosta’s shot, before Griffiths came up with another impressive save on Josh Sargent’s well-placed free kick in the 27th minute as Jamaica mostly locked down the U.S. attack for the remainder of the half.

The U.S. continued its forward pressure early in the second half and after a series of corner kicks, unlocked the lead in the 53rd minute when Acosta’s take from the left was headed home by Durkin. The U-17 MNT pressed looking for the insurance goal, but again saw Griffiths impressively deny another effort from Ferri in the 58th minute before an Akinola chance was turned away in the 61st.

The second goal came in the 77th minute when a great piece of work between Akinola and Weah, who had come on for Andrew Carleton, saw the substitute striker tap home from inside the six-yard box. The U.S. then took advantage of a tiring Jamaica side, with Sargent adding an opportunistic strike in the 87th minute and assisting on Akinola’s near-post effort one minute later. Deep into second-half stoppage time, Akinola alertly smashed home his second of the match to cap the scoring at 5-0.

Sunday’s win against Jamaica preceded the second Group C clash between Mexico and El Salvador, also to be played at Estadio Maracaná in Panama City.

Up Next: The U-17 MNT faces rival Mexico in its second group stage match of the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship on Wednesday, April 26. Kickoff from Estadio Maracaná in Panama City is set for 6:30 p.m. ET and the match can be seen live on UDN and CONCACAF YouTube.

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Goal Scoring Rundown: 
USA – Chris Durkin (George Acosta), 53rd minute: 
The U.S. breakthrough came eight minutes after halftime when George Acosta’s in-swinging corner kick from the left picked out Chris Durkin whose glancing header from the six-yard box crept inside the right post.USA 1, JAM 0 [WATCH]

USA – Timothy Weah (Ayo Akinola) 77th minute: After peppering the Jamaica goal with more chances, the insurance marker came through substitute Timothy Weah. The Paris Saint-Germain attacker started the play when he swung a diagonal ball to Akinola on the left, who beat his defender to gain entry into the box before providing an easy tap-in for Weah. USA 2, JAM 0 [WATCH]

USA – Josh Sargent (Jaylin Lindsey), 87th minute: The U.S. added a third goal when Lindsey’s long ball from the right was chased down by Sargent, who alertly worked around Kendall Edwards and poked his shot past the onrushing Griffiths. USA 3, JAM 0 [WATCH]

USA – Ayo Akinola (Josh Sargent), 88th minute: The U.S. continued to take advantage of a fatigued Jamaica side as Josh Sargent slid a through ball to Akinola in space. The U.S. forward powered to his right before firing a low drive that tucked inside the lower right post. USA 4, JAM 0 [WATCH]

USA – Ayo Akinola, 90+2 minute: The USA added a fifth goal in second half stoppage time when Sargent forced a turnover and tried to slip a through ball into the box for Weah. The attempt was turned away by a Jamaica defender, but went straight to Akinola, who alertly fired a first-time laser from distance past Griffiths. USA 5, JAM 0 [WATCH] FINAL

Key Saves and Defensive Stops 
JAM – Tajay Griffiths, 7th minute:
Chris Gloster forced a turnover in midfield and immediately began a combination up the left with George Acosta. Gloster’s cross looking for Josh Sargent was a little long, but the U.S. captain chased the ball down and laid back for Ayo Akinola before the Toronto FC Academy product squared for Blaine Ferri whose first-time effort was well held by Griffiths.

JAM – Tajay Griffiths, 11th minute: The U.S. continued its early pressure, building out of the back before Jaylin Lindsey carried up the right flank and cut inside. The right back then utilized a combination of passes between Acosta and Ferri that allowed him to slip through the Jamaica midfield and provide a final pass into the box for Akinola whose quick effort was thwarted as Griffiths came far off his line to make the stop.

JAM – Tajay Griffiths, 22nd minute: A cross from Lindsey on the right fell for Andrew Carleton who settled and attempted to get off a shot before Jamaica defender Shane Ricketts fouled the U.S. forward in the area. Carleton’s ensuing penalty kick was hit with a lot of pace, but Griffith read it well, dropping to his right to keep the match scoreless.

JAM – Jamoi Topey, 23rd minute: Just a minute later, Sargent broke up the left and cut inside the area before centering for Acosta at the top of the area. The midfielder cut back to get the ball on his right foot, but saw his shot blocked by Jamaica center back Jamoi Topey.

JAM – Tajay Griffiths, 27th minute: After Carleton earned a free kick about 25 yards from goal, Sargent stepped up and hit a curling right-footed effort around the wall, but Griffiths came through with a diving stop at the right post, putting the ball out for a corner kick in the process.

JAM – Tajay Griffiths, 58th minute: The U.S. worked to build on their lead as Sargent won the ball deep in Jamaica’s half. The U.S. captain cut into the box unchallenged on the left before centering for Blaine Ferri whose first-time effort was turned away as Griffiths dove to his right to put the ball out for a corner kick.

JAM – Tajay Griffiths, 61st minute: A nice build-up on the left saw Acosta play a quick combination with Akinola at the top of the area before the forward split two Jamaica defenders and rip a low blast that Griffiths parried out for a corner kick at the right post.

NOTES:

- U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. Jamaica
Date: April 23, 2017
Competition: 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship – Group C
Venue: Estadio Maracaná de Panamá; Panamá City, Panamá
Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. ET
Attendance: TBA
Weather: 90 degrees; sunny

Scoring Summary:           1             2             F
USA                                    0             5             5
JAM                                    0             0             0

USA – Chris Durkin (George Acosta)                        53rd minute
USA – Timothy Weah (Ayo Akinola)                         77
USA – Josh Sargent (Jaylin Lindsey)                          87
USA – Ayo Akinola (Josh Sargent)                             88
USA – Ayo Akinola                                                     90+2

Lineups:
USA: 1-Justin Garces; 2-Jaylin Lindsey, 3-Chris Gloster, 4-James Sands, 5-A.J. Vasquez; 6-Chris Durkin, 8-Blaine Ferri (18-Indiana Vassilev, 88), 10-George Acosta (14-Chris Goslin, 76); 7-Ayo Akinola, 9-Josh Sargent (Capt.), 11-Andrew Carleton (19-Timothy Weah, 65)
Subs not used: 12-C.J. Dos Santos, 13-Akil Watts, 15-Zyen Jones, 16-Taylor Booth, 17-Bryan Reynolds, 20-Adrian Villegas
Head coach: John Hackworth

JAM: 13-Tajay Griffiths (Capt.); 3-Damani Osei, 5-Jamoi Topey (2-Kendall Edwards, 63), 6-Akeem Mullings (15-Richard Thompson, 61), 12-Kimani Gibbons, 20-Shane Ricketts; 4-Jeremy Verley, 8-Coby Atkinson, 11-Jermaine Lyons; 7-Kaheem Parris, 9-Raewin Senior (18-Ricardo McIntosh, 46)
Subs not used: 1-Daniel Russell, 10-Renato Campbell, 14-Nicque Daley, 16-Blake White, 17-Caseeam Priestly, 19-Calwayne Allen
Head coach: Andrew Edwards
 

Stats Summary: USA / JAM
Shots: 22 / 7
Shots on Goal: 10 / 4
Saves: 4 / 5
Corner Kicks: 10 / 1
Fouls: 6 / 11
Offside: 3 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
USA – A.J. Vasquez (caution)                       45+2nd minute
JAM – Kimani Gibbons (caution)                83

Officials: 
Referee: Adrian Skeete (BRB)
Assistant Referee 1: Daniel Ake (BLZ)
Assistant Referee 2: Zachari Zeegelar (SUR)
4th Official: Bryan Lopez (GUA)

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Ayo Akinola