BRADENTON, Fla. (Dec. 21, 2016) – With assistant coach Marcelo Serrano filling in for head coach for John Hackworth (who was completing U.S. Soccer's first Pro License course), the U-17 Men’s National Team finished in third place of the IMG Academy Cup - Boys Invitational Super Group. The tournament, held in the backyard of the team’s Residency program at IMG Academy, proved to be a great test for the team following a successful sweep at the Nike International Friendlies earlier this December.
In the first game of group play, the U.S. found themselves down 1-0 early to Baltimore Armour U-18. In the 30th minute, Akil Watts crossed the ball into the box and connected with the head of Tonny Temple, who redirected the ball straight into the net on his first touch. In the 53rd minute, Temple found himself on the front end of a scoring play, assisting Isaac Angking who’s goal put the U.S. up for good. Outshooting Baltimore 12-4, the USA pressure was enough to keep the ball on the opposite side of the field and secure the come-from-behind win.
The second opponent for the U.S. hailed from Edinburg, Texas. Rio Grande Valley FC U-19 proved to be up to the task, until the 22nd minute. Carlo Rittaccio found Ayo Akinola for the first goal of the game. Fifteen minutes later, the duo would combine again for another goal and Akinola’s final points for the day. The USA continued to test Rio Grande Valley for the remainder of the match, recording 18 shots (12 on target). Of those 12, three would find the back of the net via strikes from George Acosta (67’), Andrew Carleton (70’) and Zyen Jones (77’).
After defeating Baltimore Armour and Rio Grande Valley FC, the U.S. looked to carry its momentum with a top finish in the group against a fast and physical Tottenham FC lineup, and punch a ticket to the Super Group Championship. Despite a valiant effort, the team was unable to get around the size and speed of Tottenham, falling 3-1.
“With Tottenham, we got to experience a mixture of ages as they had a lot of 1998’s (birth year) on the field,” Serrano said. “That was the challenge that we had. We needed to find a way to compete with a team that was not only an excellent team, but also more physical than us. But I thought we did a good job. We competed with them the whole game. In the second half, down 2-1, our objective was to tie the game, at least, and in their counter attack they made it 3-1. We had some chances to put in a second goal, but in the end, Tottenham played a good game. So it was a great experience for us to play against a highly skilled and older team.”
With the loss, the U-17’s placed second in their bracket and were positioned against FC Florida Prep Academy, which finished second in the other bracket of the Super Group, in a placement game for third place. The U.S. closed out the tournament with a victory, defeating FC Florida 3-1. Akinola got the team off to a quick start with a goal in the 12th minute, assisted by Chandler Vaughn. In the 43rd minute, Ritaccio found Josh Sargent to put the USA up 2-0. Twenty-seven minutes later, Akinola would put the game out of reach, tallying his second goal of the game via a great assist from Chris Goslin.
“This tournament was a great chance for us to manage the Residency roster, especially after doing so well at the Nike International Friendlies,” Serrano concluded. “We had a chance to evaluate a lot of players in a high-level competition.”
The U-17 Men’s National Team will rest through the holiday season and return to Residency in January, where they will continue to train and prepare for the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship (April 21-May 7), which serves as the qualifying tournament for the U-17 FIFA World Cup to be played from Oct. 6-28 in India.Read more
Thursday - Tournament Performance of the Year
Today, Dec. 22, marks the fourth day of our 2016 U.S. Soccer "Best of" Awards. UPDATE: The U.S. Women's National Team performance at the SheBelieves Cup takes the prize as U.S. Soccer's Best Tournament Performance of 2016. Check back tomorrow for the final "Best of" U.S. Soccer Award!
Monday - Individual Performance of the Year
Today, Dec. 19, marks the first day of our 2016 U.S. Soccer Best of Awards voting right here on ussoccer.com. After tallying today's votes, U.S. WNT's Crystal Dunn wins Best Individual Performance for her five-goal effort vs. Puerto Rico on Feb. 15.
WNT: Crystal Dunn vs. Puerto Rico – Feb. 15, 2016 - WINNER
The third group game of the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship marked the first meeting between the WNT and Puerto Rico in the history of the two teams. The USA scored 10 goals to finish atop Group A with the full nine points. Despite the dominant team performance, it was Crystal Dunn who had a record-book night. Dunn scored five goals in the match - a brace in the first half and three in the second - to lead the way. Her performance against Puerto Rico not only tied a U.S. WNT record for most goals scored in a single game, but it was also her first multi-goal game for the USA on a night when she went from five to 10 career goals. Dunn became the seventh player to score five goals in a match in the 31 years of the WNT program, joining Brandi Chastain, Michelle Akers, Tiffeny Milbrett, Abby Wambach, Amy Rodriguez and Sydney Leroux. She was also awarded the Golden Boot at the end of the tournament as the top scorer.
MNT: John Brooks vs. Paraguay – June 11, 2016
With both teams needing to win in order to ensure advancement to the Copa America Quarterfinals, MNT center back John Brooks turned in an epic performance in the USA’s 1-0 victory against Paraguay in Philadelphia. Having already put on a strong performance in the MNT’s 4-0 win against Costa Rica days earlier, Brooks was on the mark against Paraguay and memorably kept things level after stifling Miguel Almiron’s effort that came off of a three-on-one attack in the 11th minute. When DeAndre Yedlin was sent off early in the second half, it was Brooks who provided calm on the back line, helping the 10-man U.S. side keep the shutout and finish atop Group A.
MNT: Sacha Kljestan vs. Trinidad & Tobago – Sept. 6, 2016
After more than two years away from the U.S. Men’s National Team, Sacha Kljestan returned in full force during September’s World Cup Qualifying matches. Days after tallying a goal and two assists off the bench in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Kljestan’s first start since March 5, 2014 saw the MNT veteran score the opening goal as well as help set up the second and fourth in an emphatic 4-0 victory against Trinidad & Tobago which confirmed the USA’s place in the Final Round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying.
PNT: David Garza vs. Netherlands – Sept. 8, 2016
The U.S. Paralympic National Team opened the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro against a highly ranked Dutch side, which featured players among the Netherlands professional ranks. Following an early U.S. goal, the Dutch were aggressive in attack, attempting a whopping 32 shots on goal. Fortunately for PNT goalkeeper Sean Boyle, defender David Garza put forth a tremendous performance, blocking shot after shot to allow less than half on frame. As if his defensive performance wasn’t enough, Garza suffered a broken foot when he was the recipient of a studs-up tackle in the 24th minute. Garza went on to play the full 60 minutes to help the U.S. to a historic 2-2 draw, but was forced out of action for the rest of the competition.
WNT: Carli Lloyd vs. Thailand – Sept. 15, 2016
In the first match back for the WNT since the Olympic Games and on the occasion of Heather O’Reilly’s retirement from international soccer, it was Carli Lloyd who etched her name in history in a friendly against Thailand. On an emotional night, Lloyd remained focused and helped send her teammate into retirement in style. Lloyd was involved in seven of the USA’s nine goals - including exchanging assists with O’Reilly - and became the first U.S. WNT player in history to record three goals (her seventh international hat trick) and four assists in one game.
U-17 WNT: Civana Kuhlmann vs. Paraguay – Oct. 1, 2016
In its opening match of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan, forward Civana Kuhlmann led the USA by scoring the first hat trick by a U.S. player in a FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, including a big goal just four minutes into the second half. The scores were Kuhlmann’s 13th, 14th, and 15th international goals. She finished the cycle with 20 career caps with the U-17s.
U-17 MNT: Josh Sargent vs. Portugal – Nov. 30, 2016
U-17 MNT captain Josh Sargent capped a banner year at the 2016 Nike International Friendlies. Leading the team to its first tournament title since 2013, Sargent set the tone for the U.S. in the competition with a hat trick performance in a 7-1 win vs. Portugal. Each goal showed off a different strong suit of Sargent’s game. In the 19th minute, Sargent displayed finishing prowess, while his 55th minute goal demonstrated his strength in being able to muscle off his man up top. Sargent put an exclamation point on the night in the 82nd minute when he cleverly reacted to a deflected ball by sending a back heel past Portuguese goalkeeper Joao Monteiro.