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U-17 MNT Plays 2014 Nike International Friendlies

ussoccer.com takes a look back at the U-17 MNT's run through the 2014 Nike International Friendlies, culminated by a chance to win the title in the pivotal final game against Brazil.

USA Draws Group A for 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Honduras

CHICAGO (Dec. 8, 2014) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team drew Group A for the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, which runs Feb. 27-March 15 in Honduras. The draw took place at the Chamber of Commerce and Industries in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

The USA is paired with Cuba, Honduras, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and an UNCAF qualifier – either El Salvador or Guatemala. The remaining UNCAF team will conduct its playoff January 17 and 24. All Group A games will be held at Francisco Morazan Stadium. The USA opens against Cuba on Friday, Feb. 27.

“I think the draw went well,” U-17 MNT head coach Richie Williams said. “We’re happy with the format of five group games and we feel confident that we’ll perform and do well. You never truly know until you get here. Obviously with Honduras in our group and playing at home, that will be difficult, but we’re ready to play against everyone and looking forward to it.”

The 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship will be played Feb. 27-March 15 in San Pedro Sula. The tournament will qualify four teams directly to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile.

2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship

  • Group A: Honduras, Jamaica, (UNCAF team), Trinidad & Tobago, USA, Cuba
  • Group B: Canada, Haiti, Panama, Mexico, St. Lucia, Costa Rica

USA’s Group A Schedule:

  • Friday, Feb. 27: Cuba, 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. local)
  • Monday, March 2: Trinidad & Tobago, 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. local)
  • Thursday, March 5: TBD (UNCAF team), 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. local)
  • Sunday, March 8: Honduras, 8:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. local)
  • Wednesday, March 11: Jamaica, 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. local)

The CONCACAF U-17 Championship format has changed for 2015 with two groups of six teams. Previous tournaments had featured four groups of three teams.

Under the new setup, the first-place teams in Group A and Group B will automatically qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup and advance to face each other in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship Final. The second- and third-place teams in each group (four teams) will be reseeded based on group-stage results. In this playoff stage, the top seed will play the No. 4 seed and the second seed will face the No. 3 seed. The two winners from these respective games will also qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

The playoff stage and final matches of qualifying will be held Saturday, March 14, at Olympic Stadium.

The U.S. U-17 MNT is coming off a second-place showing at the 2014 Nike International Friendlies. This age group has had a strong 2014 with 27 international matches and high-quality tournaments, posting a 17-7-3 international record (18-7-7 overall).

“It’s been our goal over the past year and a half to get as many international games as we can and play in different countries and against different teams,” Williams said. “The tournament in Mexico, the trip to Panama, competing against other CONCACAF opponents to get experience, all these games are excellent opportunities. We’ve given everyone the experience to have a strong 20-man roster come qualifying, and hopefully all of this will translate into a successful result in the tournament.”

2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship Draw

U-17 MNT Finishes Runner-Up to Brazil at Nike International Friendlies

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Florida (Dec. 2, 2014) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team fell to Brazil 4-1 in the final game of the 2014 Nike International Friendlies in front of packed house at the Premier Sports Campus.

Brazil (2-0-1) finished the tournament with seven points, earning the 2014 Nike Friendlies crown and was followed by the USA (2-1-0; 6 points), England (1-1-1; 4 points) and Australia (0-0-3; 0 points).

Forward Andrey and midfielder Evander each scored a brace for Brazil in the win. Evander also added an assist. Christian Pulisic had the USA’s lone goal off of a Haji Wright assist. Pulisic was the USA’s leading scorer in the tournament with three goals.

In addition to claiming the 2014 Nike International Friendlies title, Brazil swept the individual awards. Evander (Golden Boot), Matheus Pereira (MVP) and Bruno (Golden Glove) were all recognized for their performances throughout the three-day tournament.

A fast-paced offensive attack dictated much of the game, and from the start Brazil made sure to set the tone often. The verde amarela exploded out of the locker room with powerful shots from distance and pressured the U.S. defense.

Within the first four minutes of the game, forward Andrey and midfielders Matheus Pereira and Evander had all taken a shot toward U.S. goalkeeper Kevin Silva, but every attempt went awry as it was either wide, high or saved, thus keeping the USA very much in the game.

In the 10th minute, forward Leandro found himself running toward the goal with only U.S. defender Daniel Barbir by his side. He was able to outrun Barbir with a nice move to the right side but his attempt toward the near post ended up hitting the post instead and went out of bounds.

One of the USA’s strongest chances early in the first half came on the 11th minute when Pulisic outplayed three defenders on the left band and proceeded to send a pass to the middle for midfielder Luca de la Torre. De la Torre took the shot but sent it wide and was unable to make it happen for the USA.

Evander continued to push the USA backwards into its own side of the field as he ran through players and resumed shooting the ball. Finally, a nifty left-legged pass from Lincoln who came to the front after receiving the ball on the midfield found Evander who then took the ball into the box trough the right side and sent it to the far post for the 1-0 Brazilian lead. The goal was the third of the tournament for Evander, who was responsible for nine of Brazil’s 26 shots in the match.

Wasting no time and regrouping fast, the USA started to shift its attention from defense and was able to put together a couple of plays that culminated in a play that tied the score to one apiece.

Haji Wright drove through a few Brazilian defenders on the left band and with some creative footwork was able to get past them and send a perfect ball to the middle where Pulisic awaited to kick it in. Brazil’s goalkeeper Bruno had left his spot, which allowed Pulisic to send the ball right to the middle cleanly and even up the scoreboard.

With both teams on the board, the pace appeared more uniform as each played some strong defense and drove forward. Despite the 1-1 score at the 29th minute, however, the shot differential was visible, as Brazil has outshot the USA 12-3 up to that point.

Brazil’s attack never slowed down, but in the 37th minute the USA tried to take advantage of a sleepy defense and midfielder Alejandro Zendejas knocked a strong shot toward the goal. However, he was not able to curl it on time and it went just wide.

A foul called on Zendejas on the 41st minute set up a Brazil free kick, which led to the second score of the game. The U.S. set up a four-man wall on the left side right outside the box and had two Brazilian men right behind them, looking to clear the ball in case it went their way. Nonetheless, Evander’s free kick sailed over both barriers and straight toward the far post where it found the back of the net with an incredible shot to put Brazil up 2-1 with his second score of the match.

Coming out of the locker rooms for the second half, the teams turned down the fast pace a notch and calmly seemed to control the ball until about the 60th minute. Yet on the 62nd minute, Evander again created problems for the U.S. defense and this time sent a ball to Andrey on the right side. Andrey took the shot and was able to score on a deflection off of U.S.  defender Tyler Adams’ leg to give Brazil the 3-1 lead.

The U.S. quickly responded on the 63rd minute and a near perfect header by Wright down the middle went just wide, as the USA continue to trail Brazil by two goals. Despite a resilient fight, there was not much the USA could do to stop the Brazilian attack.

In the 70th minute, Andrey took a ball from 35 yards out into about 18 yards and sent a textbook shot onto the left corner of the goal. The goal was his second of the night and fourth for Brazil to give them the 4-1 victory.

Next, the U.S. U-17 MNT will shift its focus toward preparation for the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship taking place from Feb. 27-March 14 in Honduras as the team hopes to qualify for the 2015 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Chile.

- Nike Internationals Friendlies Match Report -

Match: U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. Brazil U-17 Men’s National Team
Date: Dec. 2, 2014
Competition: 2014 Nike International Friendlies
Venue: Premier Sports Campus; Lakewood Ranch, Florida
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET
Attendance: 1,500
Weather: 68 degrees, partly cloudy

Scoring Summary:    1 2 F
USA                            1 0 1
BRA                            2 2 4

BRA – Evander (Lincoln)                              14th minute
USA – Christian Pulisic (Haji Wright)           22
BRA – Evander                                              42
BRA – Andrey (Evander)                              62
BRA – Andrey                                               70

Lineups:
USA: 1-Kevin Silva; 19-Tyler Adams, 4-Alexis Velela (15-Tanner Dieterich, 81), 14-Daniel Barbir, 3-John Nelson; 6-Eric Calvillo (capt.) (17-McKinze Gaines, 64), 8-Luca de la Torre, 10-Christian Pulisic, 11-Josh Perez (2-Matthew Olosunde, 52); 7-Haji Wright (18-Pierre Da Silva, 81), 9-Alejandro Zendejas
Subs Not Used: 5-Hugo Arellano, 12-William Pulisic, 13-Logan Panchot, 16-Thomas McCabe, 20-Keegan Kelly
Head coach: Richie Williams

BRA: 1-Bruno (capt.) (12-Carlinhos, 90); 2-Kleber, 14-Thiago, 4-Leo, 6-Caique (13-Alan, 84); 7-Andrey (18-Jean, 90), 15-Renan, 17-Lincoln, 8-Matheus Pereira (5-Matheus Fernandes, 85), 19-Evander, 10-Leandro (11-Ramon, 60)
Subs Not Used: 3-Ronaldo, 9-Eronildo, 16-Mauro Junior, 20-Loran   
Head coach: Caio Zanardi

Stats Summary: USA / BRA
Shots: 9 / 26
Shots on Goal: 1 / 6
Saves: 2 / 0
Corner Kicks: 2 / 5
Fouls: 7 / 14
Offside: 0 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
None

Officials:
Referee: Caleb Mendez (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Kathryn Nesbitt (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: TJ Zablocki (USA)
Fourth Official: Chipalo Street (USA)

U-17 MNT Looks to Defend title against Brazil in Nike Friendlies Finale

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Florida (Dec.  2, 2014) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team will close out the 2014 Nike International Friendlies against Brazil on Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 6 p.m. ET at the Premier Sports Campus. The game will be a rematch of last year’s finale, which the USA convincingly claimed with a 4-1 victory. The game will be live on ussoccer.com.

The USA (2-0-0; 6 points) will be entering the match with an unblemished record after taking down England (0-1-1; 1 point) 3-1 on Friday, Nov. 28, and downing Australia (0-0-2; 0 points) 2-1 on Sunday, Nov. 30. Brazil (1-0-1; 4 points) will also bring a clean record as it convincingly won against Australia 4-0 on Friday and got a 2-2 draw in a dramatic match against England, scoring its two goals in a span of three minutes on Sunday, only to see England equalize late in stoppage time.

A win or a draw will give the USA back-to-back tournament titles.

The USA-Brazil match is preceded by a 3 p.m. game featuring Australia and England. That game will also be live ussoccer.com. Fans can also follow all matches live on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.

This marks the USA’s last major tournament of the year as the focus will then turn toward preparation for the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship from Feb. 27-March 14 in Honduras.

2014 U.S. U-17 MNT Statistics

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team vs. Brazil U-17

2014 Nike International Friendlies
Premier Sports Campus; Lakewood Ranch, Florida
Dec. 2, 2014

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Kevin Silva (PDA), 12-William Pulisic (Richmond United)
DEFENDERS (8): 2- Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy), 3- John Nelson (Internationals), 4-Alexis Velela (San Diego Surf), 5-Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy), 13-Logan Panchot (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri), 14-Daniel Barbir (West Bromwich Albion), 15-Daniel Dieterich (Real Salt Lake AZ)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 6-Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal), 8-Luca de la Torre (Fulham), 9-Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas), 10-Christian Pulisic (Unattached), 16-Thomas McCabe (PDA), 20-Keegan Kelly (Baltimore Celtic)
FORWARDS (4): 7-Haji Wright (Unattached), 11-Josh Perez (Unattached), 17-McKinze Gaines (Lonestar SC), 18-Pierre Da Silva (New York Soccer Club)

USA ROSTER NOTES:

  • The USA opened up the 2014 Nike International Friendlies with a 3-1 victory over England on Nov. 28, and added another three points on Sunday, Nov. 30, when it took down Australia 2-1.
  • Nine different players were in the starting lineup that took the field against Australia, with only midfielder Eric Calvillo and forward Josh Perez having started in both the England and Australia game.
  • The six points put the USA atop of the 2014 Nike International Friendly standings, followed by Brazil’s four points.
  • With a win or a draw, the USA will claim the title and win the Nike International Friendlies for the second year in a row.
  • After falling down 1-0 early in the game against Australia, forward McKinze Gaines tipped one in for the 1-1 score, tallying his fifth goal of 2014, and third-most on the team.
  • Gaines’ goal came from an assist by midfielder Pierre Da Silva.
  • Da Silva’s assist was his team-leading ninth of the year.
  • Gaines and Haji Wright made their 21st appearance of the year for the U-17 MNT against Australia, a leading mark on the USA roster.
  •  Midfielder Luca de la Torre scored the game-winning goal against Australia in the 69th minute. It was de la Torres’ first goal of his U-17 MNT tenure.
  • Midfielder Christian Pulisic led the way with two goals and Alejandro Zendejas tallied a goal and an assist for the USA win against England.
  • Pulisic now has 16 goals on the year, upping his career U-17 MNT total to 17 over a span of 25 games.
  • Goalkeeper Kevin Silva recorded six saves against England and is now 8-1-2 on the year.
  • Wright is the leading scorer for the U.S. in 2014 with 18 goals in 21 international matches and has added six assists. His career total with the U-17 National Team stands at 24 goals in 25 matches, racking up 21 of his 25 caps this year alone.
  • Wright has had three hat tricks this year, including a four-goal game against Montenegro. He has also featured for the U.S. U-18 MNT in 2014, winning a championship title at the 21st International Tournament of Vaclav Jezek in the Czech Republic in mid-August.
  • Calvillo and Hugo Arellano made their 17th start against Australia to lead all players in starts in 2014.
  • The USA is the defending champion of this event, earning last year’s crown with a 4-1 victory against Brazil in the finale on Dec. 13, 2013.
  • The U-17 MNT is coming off a three-game tournament in Chile from Nov. 18-22, with draws against host Chile and Qatar and a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Brazil after rallying from a two-goal deficit.
  • U-17 head coach Richie Williams’ side has enjoyed a successful 2014. The team has compiled a 17-6-3 international record and a 18-6-7 mark overall.

USA VS. BRAZIL

  • The U.S. U-17 MNT and Brazil last met Nov. 20 at the 2014 Copa Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins in Chile. The U.S. rallied from a two-goal deficit but ultimately fell 4-3. Brazil went on to win the tournament.
  • The two teams also met earlier in the year during Copa Mexico in Mexico City on Aug. 10 with the game going the Brazilian’s way again in a 2-0 defeat.
  • In addition, the USA and Brazil met on the final game of the 2013 Nike International Friendlies with the USA earning a commanding 4-1 victory to claim the tournament title. 

ON USSOCCER.COM:

IN FOCUS: BRAZIL
Confederacao Brasileira de Futebol
Founded: 1914
FIFA affiliation: 1923
Head Coach: Caio Zanardi

BRAZIL U-17 ROSTER BY POSITION:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Bruno (Coritiba), 12-Carlinhos (Portuguesa)
DEFENDERS (6): 2-Kleber (Flamengo), 3-Ronaldo (Cruzeiro), 4-Leo, 6-Caique (Sao Paulo), 13-Alan (Vasco da Gama), 14-Thiago (Palmeiras)
MIDFIELDERS (8): 5-Matheus Fernandes (Botafogo), 7-Andrey (Vasco da Gama), 8-Matheus Pereira (SC Corinthians), 15-Renan (SC Corinthians), 16-Mauro Junior (Desportivo Brasil) , 17-Lincoln (Gremio), 18-Jean (Gremio), 19-Evander (Vasco da Gama)
FORWARDS (4): 9-Eronildo (Vitoria), 10-Leandro (Ponte Preta), 11-Ramon (Fluminense), 20-Loran (Fluminense)

BRAZIL U-17 ROSTER NOTES:

  • Brazil began the 2014 Nike International Friendlies in dominating fashion taking down Australia 4-0 on Nov. 28 with four different players recording a goal.
  • The Brazilians outshot the Australians 27-5 and largely controlled the game, which saw Andrey, Evander, Leandro and Lincoln all score for the verde amarela.
  • The opening score against Australia on the fifth minute of the match was Andrey’s first goal as part of the Brazilian U-17 MNT.
  • The draw against England however came in dramatic fashion as Brazil scored its two goals in a three-minute span beginning in the 84th minute.
  • Lincoln and Evander were the authors of the two goals against the English side. It was the second goal at the 2014 Nike International Friendlies for each player, tying them with USA forward Christian Pulisic (2) atop the scoring list.
  • Goalkeeper Bruno sported the captain’s armband for the third straight game against England, after head coach Caio Zanardi first gave him the honor against Chile on Nov. 22.
  • Brazil leads all tournament teams with a plus-four goal differential but sits behind the USA with four points to the U.S. U-17 MNT’s six.
  • Brazil fell 4-1 to the USA at the 2013 Nike Friendlies and will have a chance to redeem itself on Tuesday. Only a win will allow the Brazilians to claim this year’s tournament crown.
  • Brazil recently won the 2014 Copa Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins in Chile on Nov. 18-22, where it defeated Chile 1-0, the U.S. 4-3 and Qatar 6-0.
  • The Nike Friendlies are the last main tournament for Brazil this year as the focused will shift toward the 2015 South American Under-17 Football Championship in Paraguay, which will qualify four teams for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile.

Academy Select Game Catapulted Gaines’ Rise to U-17 MNT

The goal of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy to provide the education and support in an everyday environment to develop world-class players. From an international standpoint, one player who has made some significant strides over the past year is forward McKinze Gaines.

Gaines performed admirably at the 2013 Academy Select Game, and the 2014 version kicks off Monday, Dec. 1, at 5 p.m. ET. It is a primetime event on the third day of the Development Academy Winter Showcase at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.

The game serves as a platform for Academy players who have been hand-picked by U.S. Soccer Technical Advisors and Youth National Team staff to show their skills and get the opportunity to get noticed by a scouting network in a competitive environment with the chance to perhaps be called into the Youth National Team system.

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team member Gaines understands the magnitude and the huge opportunity that this game represents.

One year ago, Gaines was playing in the Academy Select Game himself. Barely a few months after, he was called into the U-17 National Team and is now tied with teammate Haji Wright for the most appearances for the team in 2014.

“It was amazing,” Gaines said of being back in Florida with the U-17 MNT. “It just can show how much things can change in one year. Last year I had a really good game, and to be here was amazing; it was a great feeling.”

Gaines’ transition to being a vital participant of the U-17 MNT has showed the value of belonging and going through the Academy system, and the huge impact it can make toward sporting the Red, White and Blue.

In addition to his team-leading 21 caps this year, Gaines has also scored five goals, the latest coming during a 2-1 win against Australia on Nov. 30 at the 2014 Nike International Friendlies on the same field where merely one year ago Gaines was gaining the attention of Youth National Team coaches and Technical Advisors.

Gaines’ performance has been a terrific addition to an already successful offensive attack by the U.S. U-17s that includes 60 goals in 31 matches. Also, the forward has earned several minutes of play up front alongside team-leading scorer Haji Wright, a fact that does not go unnoticed by him.

“There is a lot of competition for spots and it makes you be at your best at all times,” Gaines said of earning playing time. “It’s awesome to score goals be able to see results like that. Anytime you can come in and play a good role in a team victory, it’s really rewarding and nice.”

Gaines and the U.S. U-17 MNT will close out the 2014 Nike Friendlies on Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 6 p.m. against Brazil for the tournament title. The game will be a rematch of last year’s thrilling finale, which the USA claimed with a 4-1 victory.  

“Last year we beat them, but they’ve got the upper hand in the past two results,” Gaines said. “We just need to come out here in our house, beat them and win the tournament.”

McKinze Gaines and Matthew Real

U-17 MNT vs. Australia: Reaction – Nov. 30, 2014

Richie Williams recaps the USA’s win against Australia at the Nike International Friendlies in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

U-17 MNT vs. Australia: Highlights – Nov. 30, 2014

The U.S. U-17 MNT overcame an early Australian goal with a goal in each half to post a 2-1 win on match day 2 of the 2014 Nike International Friendlies.

U-17 MNT Rallies Past Australia, Moves into First Place at Nike Friendlies

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Florida (Nov. 30, 2014) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team defeated the Australia Under-17 Men’s National Team 2-1 in the nightcap of the second day of the  2014 Nike International Friendlies at the Premier Sports Campus.

Goals by forward McKinze Gaines in the 15th minute and midfielder Luca de la Torre in the 69th minute lifted the USA past the Joeys after an early goal from Australian captain Joe Caletti had given Australia the 1-0 lead.

It was Gaines’ fifth goal of the year and his U-17 tenure, and de la Torre scored his first U-17 goal.

With the victory, the USA is in a strong position to repeat as Nike International Friendlies champion. The U.S. is 2-0-0 (6 points) and needs a win or a draw against Brazil (1-0-1, 4 points) on Tuesday, Dec. 2, to clinch the tournament title. Tuesday’s game kicks off at 6 p.m. ET and will be live on ussoccer.com.

The U.S. U17 MNT began Sunday’s game slightly off balance as Australia went on the attack early with a shot in the second minute that was just tipped by U.S. goalkeeper William Pulisic. On the following play, Australia’s corner kick was batted away by Pulisic, but Caletti ran onto the deflected ball just outside the box and slotted it into the right side of the net for the 1-0 lead.

After a couple of missed shots to the far post by both teams, the USA regrouped and began creating some opportunities. The best one came on the 15th minute when forward Pierre Da Silva played the ball into the penalty box area through the left side and sent a cross to a perfectly placed Gaines, who kicked it right into the middle back of the net, tying the score at one apiece.

“I didn’t need to do much,” Gaines said of converting the goal. “Pierre did a lot of the work; it was a great cross. He just found me right in front of the goal and I just had to tap it in.”

In the second half, the USA threatened early after making three subs to open the second half. In the 50th minute, a free kick by Da Silva hit forward Haji Wright in the knee on what would have otherwise been an open lane toward the goal.

Australia responded with a couple of good opportunities, especially a free kick shot on the 60th minute, but the USA was the one that converted when it mattered.

In the 69th minute, Australia turned the ball over in its half and the USA took advantage. Wright dropped the ball off for de la Torre, who fired right-footed from nearly 25 yards out and into the upper left corner for the 2-1 lead and ultimately the game-winner.

The USA had one more big opportunity in the closing minutes of the game to add to its tally. During an 86th-minute free kick from midfielder Christian Pulisic, de la Torre received the ball and tried to kick it into the net, however Australia’s goalkeeper Brandon Osipov punched it out. U.S. defender Daniel Barbir got the rebound and tried to head it home, but the shot hit the crossbar. After hitting the woodwork, Osipov jumped up and grabbed it before allowing any potential rebound.

The 2014 Nike International Friendlies conclude on Tuesday, Dec. 2, with Australia taking on England at 3 p.m. ET and the USA facing Brazil for the tournament title at 6 p.m. ET. Both games will be streamed live on ussoccer.com.

- Nike International Friendlies Match Report -

 

Match: U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. Australia U-17 Men’s National Team
Date: Nov. 30, 2014
Competition: 2014 Nike International Friendlies
Venue: Premier Sports Campus; Lakewood Ranch, Florida
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET
Attendance: 1,400
Weather: 68 degrees, clear

Scoring Summary:    1 2 F
USA                            1 1 2
AUS                            1 0 1

AUS – Joe Caletti                                           3rd minute

USA – McKinze Gaines (Pierre Da Silva)      15th

USA – Luca de la Torre (Haji Wright)           69th

Lineups:
USA: 12-William Pulisic; 5-Hugo Arellano (14-Daniel Barbir, 46), 6-Eric Calvillo (capt.) (9-Alejandro Zendejas, 46), 11-Josh Perez (7-Haji Wright, 46), 13-Logan Panchot, 15-Tanner Dieterich, 16-Thomas McCabe, 17-McKinze Gaines (8-Luca de la Torre, 60), 18-Pierre Da Silva, 19-Tyler Adams, 20-Keegan Kelly (10-Christian Pulisic, 59)

Subs Not Used: 1-Kevin Silva; 2-Matthew Olosunde, 3-John Nelson, 4-Alexis Velela

Head Coach: Richie Williams

AUS: 12-Brandon Osipov; 2-Malcolm Ward, 5-Zac Speth, 6-Joe Caletti (capt.) (17-Nicholas Panetta, 50), 7-Daniel Maskin (22-Cameron Joice, 50), 8-Daniel Arzani (10-Jamie Dimitroff, 76), 9-Panos Armenakas (24-Marc Tokich, 70), 11-Peter Kekeris (15-Jackson Bandiera, 76), 16-Danny Kim (14-Solomon Monahan-Vaiika, 70), 20-Perry Fotakopoulos, 23-Kosta Petratos

Subs Not Used: 13-Christian Verbi, 18-James Delianov

Head Coach: Tony Vidmar

Stats Summary: USA / AUS
Shots: 10 / 8
Shots on Goal: 5 / 4
Saves: 3 / 3
Corner Kicks: 4 / 0
Fouls: 16 / 16
Offside: 2 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
AUS – Danny Kim (caution)                          39th minute

Officials:
Referee: Chipalo Street (USA)

Assistant Referee 1: Chris Hutchison (USA)

Assistant Referee 2: Kathryn Nesbitt (USA)

Fourth Official: Caleb Mendez (USA)

 

 

U-17 MNT’s Freedom up Front Poses Versatile Threat

The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team has experienced a successful 2014, compiling a 17-6-7 overall record and establishing itself as a strong force heading into the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in February that would qualify the team for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile in September.

A large factor in the strength of the team lies in its offense. In a span of 30 games this year, the U-17s have racked up 58 goals, with 15 different players scoring at least once. Forward Haji Wright leads the team with 18 goals in 20 matches played, while midfielder Christian Pulisic sits closely behind with 16 goals in 19 appearances.

Wright and Pulisic get much of the spotlight; however the USA offensive attack is successful because of the diversity it plays around with when it comes to lineups and positioning, as well as the liberty that U.S. U17 MNT head coach Richie Williams allows his players to have when they step on the field.

“We let them have a little bit of freedom,” commented Williams on the players moving from one spot to another up front. “We just want to make sure that they all earn a certain position but they can interchange positions at any time.

“Sometimes you see Haji wide or up front as a nine, and sometimes Christian will come a little bit deep, or also sometimes running behind the back four. As long as there is a balance with the top four positions, that they are not all on the same side of the field or all in the middle of the field, that we have some width, we encourage them to interchange positions and to look where the open areas are and the open spaces and I think it adds to our attack.”

For Pulisic and his teammates, having the green light to go ahead and create their own offensive attacks has proved to be a positive move that has in turn helped them find the back of the net much more often.

Wright has recorded four hat tricks this year and more recently, Pulisic scored a brace against England on Nov.28 to lead the USA to a 3-1 victory during the opening game of the 2014 Nike International Friendlies.

“We definitely have our freedom more up in the front four,” said Pulisic. “We have freedom up there. Richie likes to tell us that we can switch around, switch positions, and we’re all good at all positions up front.”


U-17 MNT Resumes Nike International Friendlies against Australia

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. (Nov. 29, 2014) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team is back in action at the 2014 Nike International Friendlies when it faces Australia at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 30, at the Premier Sports Campus. The game kicks off at 6 p.m. ET and will be live on ussoccer.com. The USA (1-0-0) is coming off a 3-1 victory against England on Friday, Nov. 28.

The USA-Australia match is preceded by a 3 p.m. game featuring Brazil (1-0-0) and England (0-1-0). Brazil holds first place in the tournament based on goal differential.

All four remaining games at the Nike Friendlies are live on ussoccer.com, with the USA game serving as the night cap on every day of competition. The U.S. U-17 MNT will close out the tournament against Brazil on Tuesday, Dec. 2. Fans can also follow all matches live on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.

This marks the USA’s last major tournament of the year as the focus will then turn toward preparation for the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship from Feb. 27-March 14 in Honduras.

The USA is in good spirits after a strong opener and hopes the momentum stays on its side against Australia on Sunday.

“Nike Friendlies are always excellent because you’re always going to get good competition – we always look forward to these games,” U.S. U-17 MNT head coach Richie Williams said. “It’s just another great experience and opportunity for our players to play tough, international teams from around the world. The expectations from winning it last year are that we want to come back and win it again. It’s only been one game so far, so we’ve got two more difficult games and we’ve got to make sure we show up with the same mentality that we did for England and get two more good results.”

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team vs. Australia U-17
2014 Nike International Friendlies
Premier Sports Campus; Lakewood Ranch, Florida
Nov. 30, 2014

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Kevin Silva (PDA), 12-William Pulisic (Richmond United)
DEFENDERS (8): 2- Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy), 3- John Nelson (Internationals), 4-Alexis Velela (San Diego Surf), 5-Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy), 13-Logan Panchot (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri), 14-Daniel Barbir (West Bromwich Albion), 15-Daniel Dieterich (Real Salt Lake AZ)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 6-Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal), 8-Luca de la Torre (Fulham), 9-Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas), 10-Christian Pulisic (Unattached), 16-Thomas McCabe (PDA), 20-Keegan Kelly (Baltimore Celtic)
FORWARDS (4): 7-Haji Wright (Unattached), 11-Josh Perez (Unattached), 17-McKinze Gaines (Lonestar SC), 18-Pierre Da Silva (New York Soccer Club)

USA ROSTER NOTES:

  • The USA opened up the 2014 Nike International Friendlies with a 3-1 victory over England on Nov. 28.
  • Midfielder Christian Pulisic led the way with two goals and Alejandro Zendejas tallied a goal and an assist for the USA.
  • Pulisic now has 16 goals on the year, upping his career U-17 MNT total to 17 over a span of 25 games.
  • Goalkeeper Kevin Silva recorded six saves against England and is now 8-1-2 on the year.
  • Forward Haji Wright played in his 20th game of 2014 for the USA. He is tied with McKinze Gaines for the most appearances on the roster.
  • Wright is the leading scorer for the U.S. in 2014 with 18 goals in 20 international matches and has added five assists. His career total with the U-17 National Team stands at 24 goals in 24 matches, racking up 20 of his 24 caps this year alone.
  • Wright has had three hat tricks this year, including a four-goal game against Montenegro. He has also featured for the U.S. U-18 MNT in 2014, winning a championship title at the 21st International Tournament of Vaclav Jezek in the Czech Republic in mid-August.
  • Wright, Pulisic, Matthew Olosunde and Eric Calvillo all made their 16th start against England to lead all players in starts in 2014.
  • The USA is the defending champion of this event, earning last year’s crown with a 4-1 victory against Brazil in the finale on Dec. 13, 2013.
  • The U-17 MNT is coming off a three-game tournament in Chile from Nov. 18-22, with draws against host Chile and Qatar and a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Brazil after rallying from a two-goal deficit.
  • U-17 head coach Richie Williams’ side has enjoyed a successful 2014. The team has compiled a 16-6-3 international record and a 17-6-7 mark overall.

ON USSOCCER.COM:

IN FOCUS: Australia
Football Federation Australia
Founded: 1961
FIFA affiliation: 1963
Head Coach: Tony Vidmar

AUSTRALIA U-17 ROSTER BY POSITION:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 12-Brandon Osipov (FFA Centre of Excellence), 18-James Delianov (FFA Centre of Excellence)
DEFENDERS (9): 2-Malcom Ward (FFA Centre of Excellence), 3-Henry Davis (FFA Centre of Excellence), 5-Zac Steph (FFA Centre of Excellence), 13-Christian Verbi (FFA Centre of Excellence), 14-Solomon Monahan-Vaiika (FFA Centre of Excellence), 15-Jackson Bandiera (FFA Centre of Excellence), 16-Danny Kim (FFA Centre of Excellence), 17-Nicholas Panetta (FFA Centre of Excellence), 20-Perry Fotakopoulos (FFA Centre of Excellence)
MIDFIELDERS (5): 6-Joe Caletti (FFA Centre of Excellence), 7-Daniel Maskin (FFA Centre of Excellence), 8-Daniel Arzani (FFA Centre of Excellence), 9-Panos Armenakas (Udinese Calcio S.p.A. (Italy), 10-Jamie Dimitroff (FFA Centre of Excellence)
FORWARDS (4): 11-Peter Kekeris (FFA Centre of Excellence), Cameron Joice (FFA Centre of Excellence), Kosta Petratos (FFA Centre of Excellence), Marc Tokich (FFA Centre of Excellence) 

AUSTRALIA U-17 ROSTER NOTES:

  • Australia is looking to rebound after falling to Brazil 4-0 in its opening match of the 2014 Nike International Friendlies.
  • During the match, Australia goalkeeper James Delianov made 12 saves, with eight coming in the second half.
  • Defender Henry Davies will be serving a one-game suspension and will be out against the USA. Davies was ejected from the Brazil game after accumulating two yellow cards during the match.
  • The Joeys have already qualified for next year’s FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Chile after downing Malaysia 2-1 in a quarterfinal at the AFC U-16 Championships in Thailand in September.
  • The two authors of the goals against Malaysia that booked the Australian’s ticket were forward Cameron Joice and midfielder Daniel Maskin, both members of the Australian side currently in Lakewood Ranch set to face the USA on Nov. 30.

Academy Select Game Catapulted Gaines’ Rise to U-17 MNT

The goal of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy to provide the education and support in an everyday environment to develop world-class players. From an international standpoint, one player who has made some significant strides over the past year is forward McKinze Gaines.

Gaines performed admirably at the 2013 Academy Select Game, and the 2014 version kicks off Monday, Dec. 1, at 5 p.m. ET. It is a primetime event on the third day of the Development Academy Winter Showcase at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.

The game serves as a platform for Academy players who have been hand-picked by U.S. Soccer Technical Advisors and Youth National Team staff to show their skills and get the opportunity to get noticed by a scouting network in a competitive environment with the chance to perhaps be called into the Youth National Team system.

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team member Gaines understands the magnitude and the huge opportunity that this game represents.

One year ago, Gaines was playing in the Academy Select Game himself. Barely a few months after, he was called into the U-17 National Team and is now tied with teammate Haji Wright for the most appearances for the team in 2014.

“It was amazing,” Gaines said of being back in Florida with the U-17 MNT. “It just can show how much things can change in one year. Last year I had a really good game, and to be here was amazing; it was a great feeling.”

Gaines’ transition to being a vital participant of the U-17 MNT has showed the value of belonging and going through the Academy system, and the huge impact it can make toward sporting the Red, White and Blue.

In addition to his team-leading 21 caps this year, Gaines has also scored five goals, the latest coming during a 2-1 win against Australia on Nov. 30 at the 2014 Nike International Friendlies on the same field where merely one year ago Gaines was gaining the attention of Youth National Team coaches and Technical Advisors.

Gaines’ performance has been a terrific addition to an already successful offensive attack by the U.S. U-17s that includes 60 goals in 31 matches. Also, the forward has earned several minutes of play up front alongside team-leading scorer Haji Wright, a fact that does not go unnoticed by him.

“There is a lot of competition for spots and it makes you be at your best at all times,” Gaines said of earning playing time. “It’s awesome to score goals be able to see results like that. Anytime you can come in and play a good role in a team victory, it’s really rewarding and nice.”

Gaines and the U.S. U-17 MNT will close out the 2014 Nike Friendlies on Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 6 p.m. against Brazil for the tournament title. The game will be a rematch of last year’s thrilling finale, which the USA claimed with a 4-1 victory.  

“Last year we beat them, but they’ve got the upper hand in the past two results,” Gaines said. “We just need to come out here in our house, beat them and win the tournament.”

McKinze Gaines and Matthew Real

U-17 MNT’s Freedom up Front Poses Versatile Threat

The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team has experienced a successful 2014, compiling a 17-6-7 overall record and establishing itself as a strong force heading into the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in February that would qualify the team for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile in September.

A large factor in the strength of the team lies in its offense. In a span of 30 games this year, the U-17s have racked up 58 goals, with 15 different players scoring at least once. Forward Haji Wright leads the team with 18 goals in 20 matches played, while midfielder Christian Pulisic sits closely behind with 16 goals in 19 appearances.

Wright and Pulisic get much of the spotlight; however the USA offensive attack is successful because of the diversity it plays around with when it comes to lineups and positioning, as well as the liberty that U.S. U17 MNT head coach Richie Williams allows his players to have when they step on the field.

“We let them have a little bit of freedom,” commented Williams on the players moving from one spot to another up front. “We just want to make sure that they all earn a certain position but they can interchange positions at any time.

“Sometimes you see Haji wide or up front as a nine, and sometimes Christian will come a little bit deep, or also sometimes running behind the back four. As long as there is a balance with the top four positions, that they are not all on the same side of the field or all in the middle of the field, that we have some width, we encourage them to interchange positions and to look where the open areas are and the open spaces and I think it adds to our attack.”

For Pulisic and his teammates, having the green light to go ahead and create their own offensive attacks has proved to be a positive move that has in turn helped them find the back of the net much more often.

Wright has recorded four hat tricks this year and more recently, Pulisic scored a brace against England on Nov.28 to lead the USA to a 3-1 victory during the opening game of the 2014 Nike International Friendlies.

“We definitely have our freedom more up in the front four,” said Pulisic. “We have freedom up there. Richie likes to tell us that we can switch around, switch positions, and we’re all good at all positions up front.”


Wright Stuff: U-17 Forward and Young AOTY Nominee Enjoying Strong Year

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team member Haji Wright has had what can only be described as a dominant year.

The U.S. forward is the leading scorer for the team in 2014, tallying 18 goals in 20 international matches and adding five assists. He has become a disruptive force for the USA up front, creating constant opportunities and attacking the net. For his entire U-17 MNT tenure, the former LA Galaxy Academy striker has accumulated a robust 24 goals in 24 matches, racking up 20 of his 24 caps this year alone.

Wright has had three hat tricks this year, including a four-goal game against Montenegro. He has also featured for the U.S. U-18 MNT in 2014, winning a championship title at the 21st International Tournament of Vaclav Jezek in the Czech Republic in mid-August.

With all of his accomplishments this year, the former member of the U-17 Residency Program is one of five nominees for this year’s prestigious U.S. Soccer Male Young Athlete of the Year award.

“This whole year has been kind of like a dream for me,” said Wright. “I feel like I’ve accomplished many of the things I wanted to accomplish, but of course there’s always room for getting better. I think I now can continue to help this team by not only scoring goals but creating danger for the opposition.”

Opposing defenses have dialed in on Wright as they try to shut the forward down, and this in part has opened chances for other U.S. teammates to find spaces and creating scoring chances.

“It’s become a definite for me,” Wright said of being aware that defensive game plans are singling him out. “I think when the opposition focuses on me, then it creates opportunities for my teammates, and that’s a good thing for us. It helps the team and every player on the field.”

Wright is back in action this weekend as the U.S. U-17 MNT is currently participating in the 2014 Nike International Friendlies in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.

The USA opened up the tournament on Friday, Nov. 28, with a 3-1 victory over England. A powerful American defense, guided by a strong outing from goalkeeper Kevin Silva provided a strong backbone for the win. However, Wright’s presence also demonstrated to be a factor as it allowed players such as Josh Perez, Alejandro Zendejas and Christian Pulisic to come up with crafty plays and find the back of the net for the offensive spell.

“It’s really important for us to win the first game of this tournament,” Wright said. “We want to win the whole thing again and I think we came out and just wanted this more than England did, so we went out and got it.”

The Nike International Friendlies is the last tournament the U.S. U-17 MNT will be participating in before the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship kicks off in February. That tournament will qualify the top four teams to the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile.

“It’s really important that we do well in this tournament so we can get some results,” Wright said. “This will prepare us for qualifiers, and then hopefully for the World Cup.”

Academy Coaches Soak in U-17 MNT Program’s Methodology

The Southeast region of the Development Academy has the advantage of being located close to the U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team’s Residency Program in Bradenton, Florida.

The connection from the Academy to the Youth National Team system and senior National Team is a continual point of emphasis, so for Academy coaches and scouts, it was an invaluable opportunity to spend a full day recently with the U-17 MNT and head coach Richie Williams. They had the chance to see firsthand how their program works.

U.S. Soccer Technical Advisor Juan Carlos Michia, who regularly scouts players and teams in the Academy’s Southeast Division, invited a group of coaches and scouts to take part in the event, and the response was strong. There were 42 coaches on hand from the Southeast, with nearly every Academy club represented.

The morning included a meeting with Michia, an introduction by Williams, and then the opportunity to watch a full training session, from the warm-up process to specific goalkeeping session work led by U-17 assistant coach Anthony Latronica.

The coaches had multiple meetings, including an afternoon presentation by Williams focusing on style of play, training sessions and scheduling.

Academy coaches and scouts also had an open conversation about systems and high-level training environments, as well as video analysis from previous U-17 MNT games.

“It was a very good experience, and I received some great response from many of the coaches who spent the day with the U-17 National Team,” Michia said. “Richie Williams and his staff did a tremendous job and were open with sharing the U-17 program’s system and methodology. It’s something that many of the coaches want to be a part of again in the future.”

Juan Carlos Michia

Current U-17 MNT Crop Reflects on Donovan’s Impact

While most people tend to focus on U.S. Men’s National Team forward Landon Donovan’s accolades on the senior team, it was his U-17 Men’s National Team impact that immediately put him on the map.

As Donovan prepares for his MNT swan song on Friday against Ecuador to cap off his illustrious 15-year career, ussoccer.com caught up with three players on the current U-17 MNT to get their perspective on Donovan: midfielder Christian Pulisic, forwards Haji Wright and defender Hugo Arellano.

The trio sat down with U.S. Soccer during its impressive three-game sweep to win the Panama U-17 International Tournament. Wright and Arellano both have ties to the Development Academy’s LA Galaxy, and Pulisic is a PA Classics product:

The Younger Yanks Are Coming

ussoccer.com: Having reviewed the win against the Czech Republic, what are your lasting impressions of the performance?
Jurgen Klinsmann: “There are a lot of positives we can take out of this game. We asked this younger generation - the group that here and there was not a big part of the World Cup in Brazil - to step it up and make statements. I think that young group made a very, very strong statement. We asked players such as Mix Diskerud, Joe Corona, Jozy Altidore and others to take the responsibilities into their hands and guide that young team in Prague, and that’s what they did. Winning in Prague against a Czech team that barely missed out on qualifying for the World Cup is a strong statement. So overall, it was a very positive trip. We learned a lot, and this group deserves to come along.”

ussoccer.com: There seemed to be an increased aggressiveness in the midfield. What were your instructions to those guys?
JK: “With every young group that comes through the system, you want them to step it up physically year by year. You want them to take over responsibilities, you want them to grow, to be louder on the field, but also to send out signals physically. It’s a physical sport, and in many cases it’s about one-on-one battles on the field and winning those battles. That’s what Mix, Michael Orozco, Joe Corona, John Brooks, Jozy Altidore, Ale Bedoya did. They stepped up and showed they can compete physically. That’s what we wanted to see, so for that reason they deserve a compliment.”

ussoccer.com: The team also seemed to show a commitment to playing out of the bac, particularly with the distribution by Brad Guzan. Did you ask them to stick with that plan and not be afraid to take risks? Is that something you plan to preach moving forward?
JK: “It’s definitely a huge step for us to play out of the back, to find defenders and open up the game right away and not to play long balls all the time. Pretty much every long ball is a turn over. In the first half with Brad Guzan delivering those balls into Diskerud, into the fullbacks, into the centerbacks, that looked really nice. Obviously for Nick Rimando, he’s used to doing that. He’s almost like a field player and he’s very comfortable playing out of the back. We told them not to worry about making mistakes. Here and there it might happen, but we want this game to be developed from the back into the midfield and then into the forwards and not to be forced always to play long balls. This is something we are going to encourage more and more going forward. We want to keep the ball. We want to build out of the back. We want them to have the confidence to do that and not worry about mistakes. I think it was a big step forward, and we will emphasize that going into the October games as well.”

ussoccer.com: While Jozy didn’t have many scoring chances, he seemed to show improved hold up play. What were your impressions?
JK: “It was huge for us to have Jozy Altidore back in our lineup. This was the biggest bummer for us in the World Cup, to lose Jozy in the first game. I think we could have made a huge step in the World Cup, especially facing a team like Belgium in the Round of 16, if Jozy had been on the field.  I asked him to guide this young group. He’s still a young guy himself - he’s 24 years old but he already has 70 caps. We made him the captain and told him to guide these guys and he enjoyed that. He battled the whole game. He won most of his one-on-one battles, he provided great assists. He connected with Joe Gyau to the right and Julian green to the left, and connected to the midfield. It was a very strong performance by Jozy, even if he didn’t score. This is what we want to see from him. Sooner or later, I told him you are going to score your goals in the Premier League and continue to score goals for the National Team.”

Photo Gallery: Nike International Friendlies Over the Years

The Nike International Friendlies event has been a stomping ground for players who have featured for the U.S. Men’s National Team. From Jozy Altidore in 2004 to Rubio Rubin in multiple Nike Friendlies, here is a sampling of the players who have progressed to the senior team after playing for the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team at this prestigious tournament. The 2014 Nike International Friendlies will be held Nov. 28-Dec. 2 at Lakewood Ranch, Florida.

USA Draws Group A for 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Honduras

CHICAGO (Dec. 8, 2014) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team drew Group A for the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, which runs Feb. 27-March 15 in Honduras. The draw took place at the Chamber of Commerce and Industries in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

The USA is paired with Cuba, Honduras, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and an UNCAF qualifier – either El Salvador or Guatemala. The remaining UNCAF team will conduct its playoff January 17 and 24. All Group A games will be held at Francisco Morazan Stadium. The USA opens against Cuba on Friday, Feb. 27.

“I think the draw went well,” U-17 MNT head coach Richie Williams said. “We’re happy with the format of five group games and we feel confident that we’ll perform and do well. You never truly know until you get here. Obviously with Honduras in our group and playing at home, that will be difficult, but we’re ready to play against everyone and looking forward to it.”

The 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship will be played Feb. 27-March 15 in San Pedro Sula. The tournament will qualify four teams directly to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile.

2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship

  • Group A: Honduras, Jamaica, (UNCAF team), Trinidad & Tobago, USA, Cuba
  • Group B: Canada, Haiti, Panama, Mexico, St. Lucia, Costa Rica

USA’s Group A Schedule:

  • Friday, Feb. 27: Cuba, 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. local)
  • Monday, March 2: Trinidad & Tobago, 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. local)
  • Thursday, March 5: TBD (UNCAF team), 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. local)
  • Sunday, March 8: Honduras, 8:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. local)
  • Wednesday, March 11: Jamaica, 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. local)

The CONCACAF U-17 Championship format has changed for 2015 with two groups of six teams. Previous tournaments had featured four groups of three teams.

Under the new setup, the first-place teams in Group A and Group B will automatically qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup and advance to face each other in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship Final. The second- and third-place teams in each group (four teams) will be reseeded based on group-stage results. In this playoff stage, the top seed will play the No. 4 seed and the second seed will face the No. 3 seed. The two winners from these respective games will also qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

The playoff stage and final matches of qualifying will be held Saturday, March 14, at Olympic Stadium.

The U.S. U-17 MNT is coming off a second-place showing at the 2014 Nike International Friendlies. This age group has had a strong 2014 with 27 international matches and high-quality tournaments, posting a 17-7-3 international record (18-7-7 overall).

“It’s been our goal over the past year and a half to get as many international games as we can and play in different countries and against different teams,” Williams said. “The tournament in Mexico, the trip to Panama, competing against other CONCACAF opponents to get experience, all these games are excellent opportunities. We’ve given everyone the experience to have a strong 20-man roster come qualifying, and hopefully all of this will translate into a successful result in the tournament.”

2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship Draw

U-17 MNT Finishes Runner-Up to Brazil at Nike International Friendlies

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Florida (Dec. 2, 2014) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team fell to Brazil 4-1 in the final game of the 2014 Nike International Friendlies in front of packed house at the Premier Sports Campus.

Brazil (2-0-1) finished the tournament with seven points, earning the 2014 Nike Friendlies crown and was followed by the USA (2-1-0; 6 points), England (1-1-1; 4 points) and Australia (0-0-3; 0 points).

Forward Andrey and midfielder Evander each scored a brace for Brazil in the win. Evander also added an assist. Christian Pulisic had the USA’s lone goal off of a Haji Wright assist. Pulisic was the USA’s leading scorer in the tournament with three goals.

In addition to claiming the 2014 Nike International Friendlies title, Brazil swept the individual awards. Evander (Golden Boot), Matheus Pereira (MVP) and Bruno (Golden Glove) were all recognized for their performances throughout the three-day tournament.

A fast-paced offensive attack dictated much of the game, and from the start Brazil made sure to set the tone often. The verde amarela exploded out of the locker room with powerful shots from distance and pressured the U.S. defense.

Within the first four minutes of the game, forward Andrey and midfielders Matheus Pereira and Evander had all taken a shot toward U.S. goalkeeper Kevin Silva, but every attempt went awry as it was either wide, high or saved, thus keeping the USA very much in the game.

In the 10th minute, forward Leandro found himself running toward the goal with only U.S. defender Daniel Barbir by his side. He was able to outrun Barbir with a nice move to the right side but his attempt toward the near post ended up hitting the post instead and went out of bounds.

One of the USA’s strongest chances early in the first half came on the 11th minute when Pulisic outplayed three defenders on the left band and proceeded to send a pass to the middle for midfielder Luca de la Torre. De la Torre took the shot but sent it wide and was unable to make it happen for the USA.

Evander continued to push the USA backwards into its own side of the field as he ran through players and resumed shooting the ball. Finally, a nifty left-legged pass from Lincoln who came to the front after receiving the ball on the midfield found Evander who then took the ball into the box trough the right side and sent it to the far post for the 1-0 Brazilian lead. The goal was the third of the tournament for Evander, who was responsible for nine of Brazil’s 26 shots in the match.

Wasting no time and regrouping fast, the USA started to shift its attention from defense and was able to put together a couple of plays that culminated in a play that tied the score to one apiece.

Haji Wright drove through a few Brazilian defenders on the left band and with some creative footwork was able to get past them and send a perfect ball to the middle where Pulisic awaited to kick it in. Brazil’s goalkeeper Bruno had left his spot, which allowed Pulisic to send the ball right to the middle cleanly and even up the scoreboard.

With both teams on the board, the pace appeared more uniform as each played some strong defense and drove forward. Despite the 1-1 score at the 29th minute, however, the shot differential was visible, as Brazil has outshot the USA 12-3 up to that point.

Brazil’s attack never slowed down, but in the 37th minute the USA tried to take advantage of a sleepy defense and midfielder Alejandro Zendejas knocked a strong shot toward the goal. However, he was not able to curl it on time and it went just wide.

A foul called on Zendejas on the 41st minute set up a Brazil free kick, which led to the second score of the game. The U.S. set up a four-man wall on the left side right outside the box and had two Brazilian men right behind them, looking to clear the ball in case it went their way. Nonetheless, Evander’s free kick sailed over both barriers and straight toward the far post where it found the back of the net with an incredible shot to put Brazil up 2-1 with his second score of the match.

Coming out of the locker rooms for the second half, the teams turned down the fast pace a notch and calmly seemed to control the ball until about the 60th minute. Yet on the 62nd minute, Evander again created problems for the U.S. defense and this time sent a ball to Andrey on the right side. Andrey took the shot and was able to score on a deflection off of U.S.  defender Tyler Adams’ leg to give Brazil the 3-1 lead.

The U.S. quickly responded on the 63rd minute and a near perfect header by Wright down the middle went just wide, as the USA continue to trail Brazil by two goals. Despite a resilient fight, there was not much the USA could do to stop the Brazilian attack.

In the 70th minute, Andrey took a ball from 35 yards out into about 18 yards and sent a textbook shot onto the left corner of the goal. The goal was his second of the night and fourth for Brazil to give them the 4-1 victory.

Next, the U.S. U-17 MNT will shift its focus toward preparation for the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship taking place from Feb. 27-March 14 in Honduras as the team hopes to qualify for the 2015 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Chile.

- Nike Internationals Friendlies Match Report -

Match: U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. Brazil U-17 Men’s National Team
Date: Dec. 2, 2014
Competition: 2014 Nike International Friendlies
Venue: Premier Sports Campus; Lakewood Ranch, Florida
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET
Attendance: 1,500
Weather: 68 degrees, partly cloudy

Scoring Summary:    1 2 F
USA                            1 0 1
BRA                            2 2 4

BRA – Evander (Lincoln)                              14th minute
USA – Christian Pulisic (Haji Wright)           22
BRA – Evander                                              42
BRA – Andrey (Evander)                              62
BRA – Andrey                                               70

Lineups:
USA: 1-Kevin Silva; 19-Tyler Adams, 4-Alexis Velela (15-Tanner Dieterich, 81), 14-Daniel Barbir, 3-John Nelson; 6-Eric Calvillo (capt.) (17-McKinze Gaines, 64), 8-Luca de la Torre, 10-Christian Pulisic, 11-Josh Perez (2-Matthew Olosunde, 52); 7-Haji Wright (18-Pierre Da Silva, 81), 9-Alejandro Zendejas
Subs Not Used: 5-Hugo Arellano, 12-William Pulisic, 13-Logan Panchot, 16-Thomas McCabe, 20-Keegan Kelly
Head coach: Richie Williams

BRA: 1-Bruno (capt.) (12-Carlinhos, 90); 2-Kleber, 14-Thiago, 4-Leo, 6-Caique (13-Alan, 84); 7-Andrey (18-Jean, 90), 15-Renan, 17-Lincoln, 8-Matheus Pereira (5-Matheus Fernandes, 85), 19-Evander, 10-Leandro (11-Ramon, 60)
Subs Not Used: 3-Ronaldo, 9-Eronildo, 16-Mauro Junior, 20-Loran   
Head coach: Caio Zanardi

Stats Summary: USA / BRA
Shots: 9 / 26
Shots on Goal: 1 / 6
Saves: 2 / 0
Corner Kicks: 2 / 5
Fouls: 7 / 14
Offside: 0 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
None

Officials:
Referee: Caleb Mendez (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Kathryn Nesbitt (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: TJ Zablocki (USA)
Fourth Official: Chipalo Street (USA)

U-17 MNT Looks to Defend title against Brazil in Nike Friendlies Finale

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Florida (Dec.  2, 2014) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team will close out the 2014 Nike International Friendlies against Brazil on Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 6 p.m. ET at the Premier Sports Campus. The game will be a rematch of last year’s finale, which the USA convincingly claimed with a 4-1 victory. The game will be live on ussoccer.com.

The USA (2-0-0; 6 points) will be entering the match with an unblemished record after taking down England (0-1-1; 1 point) 3-1 on Friday, Nov. 28, and downing Australia (0-0-2; 0 points) 2-1 on Sunday, Nov. 30. Brazil (1-0-1; 4 points) will also bring a clean record as it convincingly won against Australia 4-0 on Friday and got a 2-2 draw in a dramatic match against England, scoring its two goals in a span of three minutes on Sunday, only to see England equalize late in stoppage time.

A win or a draw will give the USA back-to-back tournament titles.

The USA-Brazil match is preceded by a 3 p.m. game featuring Australia and England. That game will also be live ussoccer.com. Fans can also follow all matches live on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.

This marks the USA’s last major tournament of the year as the focus will then turn toward preparation for the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship from Feb. 27-March 14 in Honduras.

2014 U.S. U-17 MNT Statistics

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team vs. Brazil U-17

2014 Nike International Friendlies
Premier Sports Campus; Lakewood Ranch, Florida
Dec. 2, 2014

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Kevin Silva (PDA), 12-William Pulisic (Richmond United)
DEFENDERS (8): 2- Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy), 3- John Nelson (Internationals), 4-Alexis Velela (San Diego Surf), 5-Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy), 13-Logan Panchot (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri), 14-Daniel Barbir (West Bromwich Albion), 15-Daniel Dieterich (Real Salt Lake AZ)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 6-Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal), 8-Luca de la Torre (Fulham), 9-Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas), 10-Christian Pulisic (Unattached), 16-Thomas McCabe (PDA), 20-Keegan Kelly (Baltimore Celtic)
FORWARDS (4): 7-Haji Wright (Unattached), 11-Josh Perez (Unattached), 17-McKinze Gaines (Lonestar SC), 18-Pierre Da Silva (New York Soccer Club)

USA ROSTER NOTES:

  • The USA opened up the 2014 Nike International Friendlies with a 3-1 victory over England on Nov. 28, and added another three points on Sunday, Nov. 30, when it took down Australia 2-1.
  • Nine different players were in the starting lineup that took the field against Australia, with only midfielder Eric Calvillo and forward Josh Perez having started in both the England and Australia game.
  • The six points put the USA atop of the 2014 Nike International Friendly standings, followed by Brazil’s four points.
  • With a win or a draw, the USA will claim the title and win the Nike International Friendlies for the second year in a row.
  • After falling down 1-0 early in the game against Australia, forward McKinze Gaines tipped one in for the 1-1 score, tallying his fifth goal of 2014, and third-most on the team.
  • Gaines’ goal came from an assist by midfielder Pierre Da Silva.
  • Da Silva’s assist was his team-leading ninth of the year.
  • Gaines and Haji Wright made their 21st appearance of the year for the U-17 MNT against Australia, a leading mark on the USA roster.
  •  Midfielder Luca de la Torre scored the game-winning goal against Australia in the 69th minute. It was de la Torres’ first goal of his U-17 MNT tenure.
  • Midfielder Christian Pulisic led the way with two goals and Alejandro Zendejas tallied a goal and an assist for the USA win against England.
  • Pulisic now has 16 goals on the year, upping his career U-17 MNT total to 17 over a span of 25 games.
  • Goalkeeper Kevin Silva recorded six saves against England and is now 8-1-2 on the year.
  • Wright is the leading scorer for the U.S. in 2014 with 18 goals in 21 international matches and has added six assists. His career total with the U-17 National Team stands at 24 goals in 25 matches, racking up 21 of his 25 caps this year alone.
  • Wright has had three hat tricks this year, including a four-goal game against Montenegro. He has also featured for the U.S. U-18 MNT in 2014, winning a championship title at the 21st International Tournament of Vaclav Jezek in the Czech Republic in mid-August.
  • Calvillo and Hugo Arellano made their 17th start against Australia to lead all players in starts in 2014.
  • The USA is the defending champion of this event, earning last year’s crown with a 4-1 victory against Brazil in the finale on Dec. 13, 2013.
  • The U-17 MNT is coming off a three-game tournament in Chile from Nov. 18-22, with draws against host Chile and Qatar and a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Brazil after rallying from a two-goal deficit.
  • U-17 head coach Richie Williams’ side has enjoyed a successful 2014. The team has compiled a 17-6-3 international record and a 18-6-7 mark overall.

USA VS. BRAZIL

  • The U.S. U-17 MNT and Brazil last met Nov. 20 at the 2014 Copa Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins in Chile. The U.S. rallied from a two-goal deficit but ultimately fell 4-3. Brazil went on to win the tournament.
  • The two teams also met earlier in the year during Copa Mexico in Mexico City on Aug. 10 with the game going the Brazilian’s way again in a 2-0 defeat.
  • In addition, the USA and Brazil met on the final game of the 2013 Nike International Friendlies with the USA earning a commanding 4-1 victory to claim the tournament title. 

ON USSOCCER.COM:

IN FOCUS: BRAZIL
Confederacao Brasileira de Futebol
Founded: 1914
FIFA affiliation: 1923
Head Coach: Caio Zanardi

BRAZIL U-17 ROSTER BY POSITION:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Bruno (Coritiba), 12-Carlinhos (Portuguesa)
DEFENDERS (6): 2-Kleber (Flamengo), 3-Ronaldo (Cruzeiro), 4-Leo, 6-Caique (Sao Paulo), 13-Alan (Vasco da Gama), 14-Thiago (Palmeiras)
MIDFIELDERS (8): 5-Matheus Fernandes (Botafogo), 7-Andrey (Vasco da Gama), 8-Matheus Pereira (SC Corinthians), 15-Renan (SC Corinthians), 16-Mauro Junior (Desportivo Brasil) , 17-Lincoln (Gremio), 18-Jean (Gremio), 19-Evander (Vasco da Gama)
FORWARDS (4): 9-Eronildo (Vitoria), 10-Leandro (Ponte Preta), 11-Ramon (Fluminense), 20-Loran (Fluminense)

BRAZIL U-17 ROSTER NOTES:

  • Brazil began the 2014 Nike International Friendlies in dominating fashion taking down Australia 4-0 on Nov. 28 with four different players recording a goal.
  • The Brazilians outshot the Australians 27-5 and largely controlled the game, which saw Andrey, Evander, Leandro and Lincoln all score for the verde amarela.
  • The opening score against Australia on the fifth minute of the match was Andrey’s first goal as part of the Brazilian U-17 MNT.
  • The draw against England however came in dramatic fashion as Brazil scored its two goals in a three-minute span beginning in the 84th minute.
  • Lincoln and Evander were the authors of the two goals against the English side. It was the second goal at the 2014 Nike International Friendlies for each player, tying them with USA forward Christian Pulisic (2) atop the scoring list.
  • Goalkeeper Bruno sported the captain’s armband for the third straight game against England, after head coach Caio Zanardi first gave him the honor against Chile on Nov. 22.
  • Brazil leads all tournament teams with a plus-four goal differential but sits behind the USA with four points to the U.S. U-17 MNT’s six.
  • Brazil fell 4-1 to the USA at the 2013 Nike Friendlies and will have a chance to redeem itself on Tuesday. Only a win will allow the Brazilians to claim this year’s tournament crown.
  • Brazil recently won the 2014 Copa Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins in Chile on Nov. 18-22, where it defeated Chile 1-0, the U.S. 4-3 and Qatar 6-0.
  • The Nike Friendlies are the last main tournament for Brazil this year as the focused will shift toward the 2015 South American Under-17 Football Championship in Paraguay, which will qualify four teams for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile.

U-17 MNT Rallies Past Australia, Moves into First Place at Nike Friendlies

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Florida (Nov. 30, 2014) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team defeated the Australia Under-17 Men’s National Team 2-1 in the nightcap of the second day of the  2014 Nike International Friendlies at the Premier Sports Campus.

Goals by forward McKinze Gaines in the 15th minute and midfielder Luca de la Torre in the 69th minute lifted the USA past the Joeys after an early goal from Australian captain Joe Caletti had given Australia the 1-0 lead.

It was Gaines’ fifth goal of the year and his U-17 tenure, and de la Torre scored his first U-17 goal.

With the victory, the USA is in a strong position to repeat as Nike International Friendlies champion. The U.S. is 2-0-0 (6 points) and needs a win or a draw against Brazil (1-0-1, 4 points) on Tuesday, Dec. 2, to clinch the tournament title. Tuesday’s game kicks off at 6 p.m. ET and will be live on ussoccer.com.

The U.S. U17 MNT began Sunday’s game slightly off balance as Australia went on the attack early with a shot in the second minute that was just tipped by U.S. goalkeeper William Pulisic. On the following play, Australia’s corner kick was batted away by Pulisic, but Caletti ran onto the deflected ball just outside the box and slotted it into the right side of the net for the 1-0 lead.

After a couple of missed shots to the far post by both teams, the USA regrouped and began creating some opportunities. The best one came on the 15th minute when forward Pierre Da Silva played the ball into the penalty box area through the left side and sent a cross to a perfectly placed Gaines, who kicked it right into the middle back of the net, tying the score at one apiece.

“I didn’t need to do much,” Gaines said of converting the goal. “Pierre did a lot of the work; it was a great cross. He just found me right in front of the goal and I just had to tap it in.”

In the second half, the USA threatened early after making three subs to open the second half. In the 50th minute, a free kick by Da Silva hit forward Haji Wright in the knee on what would have otherwise been an open lane toward the goal.

Australia responded with a couple of good opportunities, especially a free kick shot on the 60th minute, but the USA was the one that converted when it mattered.

In the 69th minute, Australia turned the ball over in its half and the USA took advantage. Wright dropped the ball off for de la Torre, who fired right-footed from nearly 25 yards out and into the upper left corner for the 2-1 lead and ultimately the game-winner.

The USA had one more big opportunity in the closing minutes of the game to add to its tally. During an 86th-minute free kick from midfielder Christian Pulisic, de la Torre received the ball and tried to kick it into the net, however Australia’s goalkeeper Brandon Osipov punched it out. U.S. defender Daniel Barbir got the rebound and tried to head it home, but the shot hit the crossbar. After hitting the woodwork, Osipov jumped up and grabbed it before allowing any potential rebound.

The 2014 Nike International Friendlies conclude on Tuesday, Dec. 2, with Australia taking on England at 3 p.m. ET and the USA facing Brazil for the tournament title at 6 p.m. ET. Both games will be streamed live on ussoccer.com.

- Nike International Friendlies Match Report -

 

Match: U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. Australia U-17 Men’s National Team
Date: Nov. 30, 2014
Competition: 2014 Nike International Friendlies
Venue: Premier Sports Campus; Lakewood Ranch, Florida
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET
Attendance: 1,400
Weather: 68 degrees, clear

Scoring Summary:    1 2 F
USA                            1 1 2
AUS                            1 0 1

AUS – Joe Caletti                                           3rd minute

USA – McKinze Gaines (Pierre Da Silva)      15th

USA – Luca de la Torre (Haji Wright)           69th

Lineups:
USA: 12-William Pulisic; 5-Hugo Arellano (14-Daniel Barbir, 46), 6-Eric Calvillo (capt.) (9-Alejandro Zendejas, 46), 11-Josh Perez (7-Haji Wright, 46), 13-Logan Panchot, 15-Tanner Dieterich, 16-Thomas McCabe, 17-McKinze Gaines (8-Luca de la Torre, 60), 18-Pierre Da Silva, 19-Tyler Adams, 20-Keegan Kelly (10-Christian Pulisic, 59)

Subs Not Used: 1-Kevin Silva; 2-Matthew Olosunde, 3-John Nelson, 4-Alexis Velela

Head Coach: Richie Williams

AUS: 12-Brandon Osipov; 2-Malcolm Ward, 5-Zac Speth, 6-Joe Caletti (capt.) (17-Nicholas Panetta, 50), 7-Daniel Maskin (22-Cameron Joice, 50), 8-Daniel Arzani (10-Jamie Dimitroff, 76), 9-Panos Armenakas (24-Marc Tokich, 70), 11-Peter Kekeris (15-Jackson Bandiera, 76), 16-Danny Kim (14-Solomon Monahan-Vaiika, 70), 20-Perry Fotakopoulos, 23-Kosta Petratos

Subs Not Used: 13-Christian Verbi, 18-James Delianov

Head Coach: Tony Vidmar

Stats Summary: USA / AUS
Shots: 10 / 8
Shots on Goal: 5 / 4
Saves: 3 / 3
Corner Kicks: 4 / 0
Fouls: 16 / 16
Offside: 2 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
AUS – Danny Kim (caution)                          39th minute

Officials:
Referee: Chipalo Street (USA)

Assistant Referee 1: Chris Hutchison (USA)

Assistant Referee 2: Kathryn Nesbitt (USA)

Fourth Official: Caleb Mendez (USA)

 

 

U-17 MNT Resumes Nike International Friendlies against Australia

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. (Nov. 29, 2014) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team is back in action at the 2014 Nike International Friendlies when it faces Australia at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 30, at the Premier Sports Campus. The game kicks off at 6 p.m. ET and will be live on ussoccer.com. The USA (1-0-0) is coming off a 3-1 victory against England on Friday, Nov. 28.

The USA-Australia match is preceded by a 3 p.m. game featuring Brazil (1-0-0) and England (0-1-0). Brazil holds first place in the tournament based on goal differential.

All four remaining games at the Nike Friendlies are live on ussoccer.com, with the USA game serving as the night cap on every day of competition. The U.S. U-17 MNT will close out the tournament against Brazil on Tuesday, Dec. 2. Fans can also follow all matches live on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.

This marks the USA’s last major tournament of the year as the focus will then turn toward preparation for the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship from Feb. 27-March 14 in Honduras.

The USA is in good spirits after a strong opener and hopes the momentum stays on its side against Australia on Sunday.

“Nike Friendlies are always excellent because you’re always going to get good competition – we always look forward to these games,” U.S. U-17 MNT head coach Richie Williams said. “It’s just another great experience and opportunity for our players to play tough, international teams from around the world. The expectations from winning it last year are that we want to come back and win it again. It’s only been one game so far, so we’ve got two more difficult games and we’ve got to make sure we show up with the same mentality that we did for England and get two more good results.”

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team vs. Australia U-17
2014 Nike International Friendlies
Premier Sports Campus; Lakewood Ranch, Florida
Nov. 30, 2014

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Kevin Silva (PDA), 12-William Pulisic (Richmond United)
DEFENDERS (8): 2- Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy), 3- John Nelson (Internationals), 4-Alexis Velela (San Diego Surf), 5-Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy), 13-Logan Panchot (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri), 14-Daniel Barbir (West Bromwich Albion), 15-Daniel Dieterich (Real Salt Lake AZ)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 6-Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal), 8-Luca de la Torre (Fulham), 9-Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas), 10-Christian Pulisic (Unattached), 16-Thomas McCabe (PDA), 20-Keegan Kelly (Baltimore Celtic)
FORWARDS (4): 7-Haji Wright (Unattached), 11-Josh Perez (Unattached), 17-McKinze Gaines (Lonestar SC), 18-Pierre Da Silva (New York Soccer Club)

USA ROSTER NOTES:

  • The USA opened up the 2014 Nike International Friendlies with a 3-1 victory over England on Nov. 28.
  • Midfielder Christian Pulisic led the way with two goals and Alejandro Zendejas tallied a goal and an assist for the USA.
  • Pulisic now has 16 goals on the year, upping his career U-17 MNT total to 17 over a span of 25 games.
  • Goalkeeper Kevin Silva recorded six saves against England and is now 8-1-2 on the year.
  • Forward Haji Wright played in his 20th game of 2014 for the USA. He is tied with McKinze Gaines for the most appearances on the roster.
  • Wright is the leading scorer for the U.S. in 2014 with 18 goals in 20 international matches and has added five assists. His career total with the U-17 National Team stands at 24 goals in 24 matches, racking up 20 of his 24 caps this year alone.
  • Wright has had three hat tricks this year, including a four-goal game against Montenegro. He has also featured for the U.S. U-18 MNT in 2014, winning a championship title at the 21st International Tournament of Vaclav Jezek in the Czech Republic in mid-August.
  • Wright, Pulisic, Matthew Olosunde and Eric Calvillo all made their 16th start against England to lead all players in starts in 2014.
  • The USA is the defending champion of this event, earning last year’s crown with a 4-1 victory against Brazil in the finale on Dec. 13, 2013.
  • The U-17 MNT is coming off a three-game tournament in Chile from Nov. 18-22, with draws against host Chile and Qatar and a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Brazil after rallying from a two-goal deficit.
  • U-17 head coach Richie Williams’ side has enjoyed a successful 2014. The team has compiled a 16-6-3 international record and a 17-6-7 mark overall.

ON USSOCCER.COM:

IN FOCUS: Australia
Football Federation Australia
Founded: 1961
FIFA affiliation: 1963
Head Coach: Tony Vidmar

AUSTRALIA U-17 ROSTER BY POSITION:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 12-Brandon Osipov (FFA Centre of Excellence), 18-James Delianov (FFA Centre of Excellence)
DEFENDERS (9): 2-Malcom Ward (FFA Centre of Excellence), 3-Henry Davis (FFA Centre of Excellence), 5-Zac Steph (FFA Centre of Excellence), 13-Christian Verbi (FFA Centre of Excellence), 14-Solomon Monahan-Vaiika (FFA Centre of Excellence), 15-Jackson Bandiera (FFA Centre of Excellence), 16-Danny Kim (FFA Centre of Excellence), 17-Nicholas Panetta (FFA Centre of Excellence), 20-Perry Fotakopoulos (FFA Centre of Excellence)
MIDFIELDERS (5): 6-Joe Caletti (FFA Centre of Excellence), 7-Daniel Maskin (FFA Centre of Excellence), 8-Daniel Arzani (FFA Centre of Excellence), 9-Panos Armenakas (Udinese Calcio S.p.A. (Italy), 10-Jamie Dimitroff (FFA Centre of Excellence)
FORWARDS (4): 11-Peter Kekeris (FFA Centre of Excellence), Cameron Joice (FFA Centre of Excellence), Kosta Petratos (FFA Centre of Excellence), Marc Tokich (FFA Centre of Excellence) 

AUSTRALIA U-17 ROSTER NOTES:

  • Australia is looking to rebound after falling to Brazil 4-0 in its opening match of the 2014 Nike International Friendlies.
  • During the match, Australia goalkeeper James Delianov made 12 saves, with eight coming in the second half.
  • Defender Henry Davies will be serving a one-game suspension and will be out against the USA. Davies was ejected from the Brazil game after accumulating two yellow cards during the match.
  • The Joeys have already qualified for next year’s FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Chile after downing Malaysia 2-1 in a quarterfinal at the AFC U-16 Championships in Thailand in September.
  • The two authors of the goals against Malaysia that booked the Australian’s ticket were forward Cameron Joice and midfielder Daniel Maskin, both members of the Australian side currently in Lakewood Ranch set to face the USA on Nov. 30.

U.S. U-17 MNT Soars Past England on First Day of Nike Friendlies

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. (Nov.  28, 2014) – Guided by a balanced attack and a strong defense, the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team took down England 3-1 on its opening match of the 2014 Nike International Friendlieson Friday night at the Premier Sports Campus.

U.S. midfielder Christian Pulisic led the USA with a brace. Pulisic’s goals were No. 15 and 16 on his international tally this year. Additionally, U.S. goalkeeper Kevin Silva had an incredible outing, finishing with six saves and improving to 8-1-2 on the year.

The contested matchup had back-and-forth moments, but it was the USA that quickly gained the upper hand. U.S. midfielder Josh Perez had an active game and created some strong scoring chances in the opening minutes. In the 11th minute, Perez sent in a beauty of a wide left cross to Alejandro Zendejas who kicked the ball into the back of the net with his left foot for a 1-0 USA lead.

The USA continued to threaten offensively while maintaining a strong presence in the back to keep England off of the score sheet.

A corner in the 18th minute was a dangerous one from England, but Silva kept his cool and punched it out to avoid the equalizer.

The USA had another strong opportunity in the 21st minute when a crafty play from Perez on the left side sent a ball straight to the middle for Haji Wright who could not control it.

England had a strong attack over the following minutes, including a dangerous opportunity from William Patchings’ free kick that sailed just wide. But the combination of England’s missed chances and Silva’s ability to come up with several key saves maintained a steady presence in the back while allowing the USA to work the ball back into the offensive third.

The U.S. added to its lead shortly after defender Matthew Olosunde’s shot struck Adetayo Edun, who was called for a hand ball in the box. In the 40th minute, Pulisic stepped up to the penalty spot and nailed his kick into the right corner for a 2-0 lead.

The intensity continued in the second half as the USA threatened and attacked early. Perez’s shot went just wide in the 48th minute, but in the following offensive attack, Zendejas nudged the ball to Pulisic who sank it on the near right post of the net and open up the game wide for the USA, giving the Red, White and Blue a commanding 3-0 lead.

England continued to fight for the remainder of the game and had a couple of missed opportunities. On the first minute of stoppage time, however, Layton N’dukwu passed the ball in from the left side of the box and connected with Daniel Wright, who slotted the ball into the net and prevent a U.S. shutout.

The U.S. and Brazil opened the tournament with wins, but Brazil currently holds first place based on goal differential.

Next, the USA will face Brazil and England will play Australia on Sunday, Nov. 30, with the first game scheduled for 3 p.m. ET and the latter at 6 p.m. ET. All games at the 2014 Nike International Friendlies are shown live on ussoccer.com.


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

Match: U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. England
Date: Nov. 28, 2014
Competition: 2014 Nike International Friendlies
Venue: Premier Sports Campus; Lakewood Ranch, Florida
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET
Attendance: --
Weather: 53 degrees, clear

Scoring Summary:    1 2 F
USA                            2 1 3
ENG                            0 1 1

USA – Alejandro Zendejas (Josh Perez)                    11th minute
USA – Christian Pulisic (penalty)                               40
USA – Christian Pulisic (Alejandro Zendejas)           48
ENG – Daniel Wright (Layton N’dukwu)                 90+1

Lineups:
USA: 1-Kevin Silva; 2-Matthew Olosunde (19-Tyler Adams, 46), 3-John Nelson, 4-Alexis Velela, 6-Eric Calvillo (capt.), 7-Haji Wright, 8-Luca de la Torre (16-Thomas McCabe, 84), 9-Alejandro Zendejas (17-McKinze Gaines, 83), 10-Christian Pulisic (20-Keegan Kelly, 84), 11-Josh Perez (18-Pierre Da Silva, 66), 14-Daniel Barbir
Subs Not Used: 5-Hugo Arellano, 12-William Pulisic, 13-Logan Panchot, 15-Tanner Dieterich, 
Head Coach: Richie Williams

ENG: 13-Alfie Whiteman; 2-James Yates (12-Kyron Stabana, 80), 3-Adetayo Edun, 4-Tom Davies (capt.) (20-Daniel Wright, 80), 6-Cameron Humphreys-Grant, 7-Nathan Holland (17-Ike Ugbo, 70), 9-Lukas Nmecha (8-Adam Phillips, 61), 11-Layton N’dukwu, 15-Danny Collinge (5-Reece Oxford, 70), 18-William Patching, 19-Jahmal Hector-Ingram
Subs Not Used: 1-Paul Woolston, 10-Marcus Edwards, 14-Trent Arnold, 16-Easah Suliman
Head Coach: John Peacock

Stats Summary: USA / ENG
Shots: 10 / 11
Shots on Goal: 5 / 7
Saves: 6 / 1
Corner Kicks: 5 / 4
Fouls: 10 / 9
Offside: 0 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Daniel Barbir (caution)           30th minute
USA – Luca de la Torre (caution)      60

Officials:
Referee: Mark Allatin (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Kathryn Nesbitt (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Jose J. Da Silva (USA)
Fourth Official: Chipalo Street (USA)


Brazil Earns Convincing 4-0 Win against Australia in Nike Friendlies Opener

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Florida (Nov. 28, 2014) – The Australia and Brazil U-17 Men’s National Teams kicked off the 2014 Nike International Friendlies as Brazil secured its first victory of the tournament shutting down Australia with dominant 4-0 victory.

Brazil (1-0-0) controlled the ball for much of the first half and quickly jumped to an early lead in the fifth minute when midfielder Andrey received a perfectly placed left cross pass from defenseman Caique who sent the ball right into Andrey’s boot.

Four different players scored for the verde amarela with Leandro, Lincoln and Evander joining Andrey on the score sheet.

With the pressure mounting, Brazil knocked the second goal in on the 32nd minute after Andrey sent a left band pass to Evander to put the South Americans up 2-0.

After struggling to get past midfield for much of the first half, Australia (0-1-0) came out of the locker room and had a couple of opportunities to convert a score in the second half but it was unable to knock one in past the Brazilian defense.

In turn, Brazil forward Leandro found himself in the perfect spot after a shot ricocheted off the post and from the hands of the Australia goalkeeper onto Leandro’s right leg, sending the ball into the net and expanding the Brazilian advantage to 3-0.

With Brazil in total control of the game, Lincoln added a fourth score and the exclamation point in the 63rd minute after an assist from Renan to lift its team to a big 4-0 win.

Australia goalkeeper James Delianov made 12 saves, with eight coming in the second half.

Australia’s Henry Davies received his second yellow card of the match in the 75th minute and was ejected from the game. He will miss the team’s next game and serve a one-game suspension.

Up next, Australia will face the United States and Brazil will take on England on Sunday, Nov. 30. All games at the Nike International Friendlies are live on ussoccer.com.

- 2014 Nike International Friendlies Match Report -

Match: Australia U-17 Men’s National Team vs. Brazil U-17 Men’s National Team
Date: Nov. 28, 2014
Competition: 2014 Nike International Friendlies
Venue: Premier Sports Campus; Lakewood Ranch, Florida
Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET
Attendance: --
Weather: 60 degrees, sunny

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
AUS 0 0 0
BRA 2 2 4 

BRA – Andrey (Caique) 5th minute
BRA – Evander (Andrey) 32
BRA – Leandro 48
BRA – Lincoln (Renan) 63

Lineups:
AUS: 18-James Delianov (capt.); 16-Danny Kim, 3-Henry Davies, 15-Jackson Bandiera (5-Zac Speth, 56), 9-Panos Armenakas; 13-Christian Verbi (20-Perry Fotakopoulos, 46), 8-Daniel Arzani, 6-Joe Caletti (capt.), 17-Nicholas Panetta (11-Peter Kekeris, 56); 10-Jamie Dimitroff (23-Kosta Petratos, 46), 22-Cameron Joice (2-Malcolm Ward, 76)
Subs Not Used: 7-Daniel Maskin, 12-Brandon Osipov, 14-Solomon Monahan-Vaiika, 24-Marc Tokich
Head Coach: Tony Vidmar

BRA: 1-Bruno; 14-Thiago, 8-Matheus Pereira (13-Alan, 66), 4-Leo, 6-Caique; 2-Kleber (5-Matheus Fernandes, 69), 15-Renan, 7-Andrey (18-Jean, 62); 10-Leandro (16-Mauro Junior, 66), 17-Lincoln (9-Eronildo, 69), 19-Evander (11-Ramon, 62)
Subs Not Used: 3-Ronaldo, 12-Carlinhos, 20-Loran 
Head Coach: Caio Zanardi

Stats Summary: AUS / BRA
Shots: 5 / 27
Shots on Goal: 2 / 16
Saves: 12 / 2
Corner Kicks: 6 / 4
Fouls: 11 / 15
Offside: 0 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
AUS – Henry Davies (caution) 44th minute
AUS – Perry Fotakopoulos (caution) 50
AUS – Henry Davies (caution) 75
AUS – Henry Davies (ejection) 75

Officials:
Referee: Caleb Mendez (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: TJ Zablocki (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Chris Hutchinson (USA)
Fourth Official: Randall Kelley (USA)

2014 Nike International Friendlies

Australia and Brazil meet in the first match of the 2014 tournament at Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.

U.S. U-17 MNT Roster Named for 2014 Nike International Friendlies

CHICAGO (Nov. 28, 2014) – U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Richie Williams has named a 20-player roster for the 2014 Nike International Friendlies. The USA kicks off the tournament against England at 6 p.m. ET on Friday, Nov. 28, at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.

All six games at the Nike International Friendlies are live on ussoccer.com. The tournament opens with Brazil vs. Australia at 3 p.m. ET on Friday.

The USA’s roster features 16 of the 20 players who were members of the 2013 U-17 squad that won this tournament, with 11 players featuring in the 4-1 victory against Brazil to cap off the event.

Among the returning USA players are midfielder Christian Pulisic, who was last year’s tournament MVP, 2013 Golden Boot winner Haji Wright and Golden Glove winner Kevin Silva. Pulisic has 14 goals and seven assists in 18 international games this year. Wright is the leading goal scorer with 18 goals in 19 matches. Silva is 7-1-2 this year with four shutouts and a 1.19 GAA.

U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Kevin Silva (Players Development Academy), 12-William Pulisic
DEFENDERS (8): 2-Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy), 3-John Nelson (Internationals), 4-Alexis Velela (San Diego Surf), 5-Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy), 13-Logan Panchot (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri), 14-Daniel Barbir (West Bromwich Albion), 15-Tanner Dieterich (Real Salt Lake AZ), 19-Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls Academy)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 6-Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal), 8-Luca De La Torre (Fulham), 9-Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas), 10-Christian Pulisic (Unattached), 16-Thomas McCabe (Players Development Academy), 20-Keegan Kelly (Baltimore Celtic)
FORWARDS (4): 7-Haji Wright (Unattached), 11-Josh Perez (Unattached), 17-McKinze Gaines (Lonestar SC), 18-Pierre Da Silva (New York Soccer Club)

Defending Champion U-17 MNT Kicks off Nike International Friendlies against England

The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team opens the 2014 Nike International Friendlies against England’s U-17s on Friday, Nov. 28, at Lakewood Ranch, Florida. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. ET and will be live on ussoccer.com. That match is preceded by a 3 p.m. game featuring Australia and Brazil.

All six games at the Nike Friendlies will be live on ussoccer.com, with the USA game serving as the night cap on all three days. The U.S. U-17 MNT faces Australia on Sunday, Nov. 30, and Brazil on Tuesday, Dec. 2. Fans can also follow all matches live on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.

The tournament takes place at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch and runs in conjunction with the 2014 Development Academy Winter Showcase, which starts Saturday, Nov. 29, with the U-18 age group.

This marks the USA’s last major tournament of the year as the focus will then turn toward preparation for the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship from Feb. 27-March 14 in Honduras.

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team vs. England U-17
2014 Nike International Friendlies
Premier Sports Campus; Lakewood Ranch, Florida
Nov. 28, 2014

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team By Position:
The USA roster will be announced shortly.

USA ROSTER NOTES:

  • The USA is the defending champion of this event, earning last year’s crown with a 4-1 victory against Brazil in the finale on Dec. 13, 2013.
  • The U-17 MNT is coming off a three-game tournament in Chile from Nov. 18-22, with draws against host Chile and Qatar and a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Brazil after rallying from a two-goal deficit.
  • U-17 head coach Richie Williams’ side has enjoyed a successful 2014. The team has compiled a 15-6-3 international record and a 16-6-7 mark overall. Haji Wright is the USA’s leading goal scorer with 18 tallies in 19 international matches. Midfielder Christian Pulisic has 14 goals and seven assists in 18 matches. Forward Pierre Da Silva is the leading assists man with eight through 848 minutes of play and 15 appearances.

USA VS. ENGLAND:

  • The U.S. U-17 MNT and England last met at the 2013 Nike International Friendlies, with the USA earning a commanding 5-1 victory on Dec. 11, 2013.
  • Joe Gallardo led the way with a hat trick and Haji Wright tallied twice for the USA. Marcus Edwards had England’s lone goal.

ON USSOCCER.COM:

England U-17's Reece Oxford

IN FOCUS: ENGLAND
The Football Association
Founded: 1863
FIFA affiliation: 1905
Head Coach: John Peacock
Best U-17 World Cup Finish:

ENGLAND U-17 ROSTER BY POSITION:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Paul Woolston (Newcastle), 13-Alfie Whiteman (Tottenham Hotspur)
DEFENDERS (8): 2-James Yates (Everton), 3-Adetayo Edun (Fulham), 5-Reece Oxford (West Ham), 6-Cameron Humphreys-Grant (Manchester City), 12-Kyron Stabana (Derby County), 14-Trent Arnold (Liverpool), 15-Danny Collinge (VFB Stuttgart), 16-Easah Suliman (Aston Villa)
MIDFIELDERS (7): 4-Tom Davies (Everton), 7-Nathan Holland (Everton), 8-Adam Phillips (Liverpool), 9-Lukas Nmecha (Manchester City), 10-Marcus Edwards (Tottenham), 18-William Patching (Manchester City), 20-Daniel Wright (Sunderland)
FORWARDS (3): 11-Layton N’dukwu (Leicester City), 17-Ike Ugbo (Chelsea), 19-Jahmal Hector-Ingram (West Ham)

ENGLAND U-17 ROSTER NOTES:

  • The England roster features nine players who were part of the squad at the 2013 Nike International Friendlies: goalkeeper Alfie Whiteman, defenders Trent Arnold, Danny Collinge, Cameron Humphreys-Grant and Reece Oxford, midfielders Marcus Edwards, William Patching and Adam Phillips and forward Layton N’dukwu.
  • Phillips wore the captain’s armband and Edwards scored a goal during England’s 5-1 loss to the USA at last year’s tournament match.
  • In other matches at last year’s tournament, England defeated Portugal 4-3 on Dec. 13, and dropped a 2-1 decision against Brazil on Dec. 9 despite scoring the game’s opening goal in the 18th minute.
  • England won the 2014 UEFA European U-17 Championship in Malta, marking England’s second UEFA U-17 crown. In the final, England defeated the Netherlands 4-1 in penalties on May 21. The two teams were even 1-1 through regulation. Head coach John Peacock’s roster did not include players from the group taking part in the 2014 Nike International Friendlies.
  • Ten players on England’s 2014 Nike Friendlies roster took part in the Montaigu Tournament in France with England’s U-16s. England took third place.
  • The 2015 UEFA European U-17 Championship from May 6-22 will serve as England’s qualifying tournament for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

U-17 MNT Draws Qatar 1-1 in Chile

TALCA, Chile (Nov. 22, 2014) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team drew Qatar 1-1 at Estadio Fiscal de Talca to wrap up the 2014 Copa Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins.

U.S. U-17 MNT goal scoring leader Haji Wright notched a 61st-minute equalizer for his 18th goal of the year in international competition.

The USA went 0-1-2 at the event, with a 2-2 draw against host Chile on Nov. 18 and a 4-3 loss to Brazil on Nov. 20. The U-17s are 15-7-2 in international play and 16-7-6 overall in 2014.

The U.S. U-17 MNT had the brunt of scoring chances throughout the match against Qatar. Both teams came up empty in the first half, but Qatar broke the stalemate early in the second half. Khalid Mazeed had a strong individual effort to work the ball into the middle and blast a right-footed shot just inside the left post for a 1-0 lead in the 57th minute.

Wright and the USA responded four minutes later with a right-footed shot from about 10 yards out that sneaked past Qatar’s goalkeeper at the near right post.

The U.S. U-17s will now put their focus toward the 2014 Nike International Friendlies, at Lakewood Ranch, Florida. The defending champion USA will face England (Nov. 28), Australia (Nov. 30) and Brazil (Dec. 2), with all games kicking off at 6 p.m. ET and available live on ussoccer.com. The preceding 3 p.m. ET matches also will be live on ussoccer.com, featuring Australia vs. Brazil (Nov. 28), Brazil vs. England (Nov. 30) and England vs. Australia (Dec. 2).

More information from the USA-Chile match will be available on ussoccer.com.

U-17 MNT Plays 2014 Nike International Friendlies

ussoccer.com takes a look back at the U-17 MNT's run through the 2014 Nike International Friendlies, culminated by a chance to win the title in the pivotal final game against Brazil.

U-17 MNT vs. Australia: Reaction – Nov. 30, 2014

Richie Williams recaps the USA’s win against Australia at the Nike International Friendlies in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

U-17 MNT vs. Australia: Highlights – Nov. 30, 2014

The U.S. U-17 MNT overcame an early Australian goal with a goal in each half to post a 2-1 win on match day 2 of the 2014 Nike International Friendlies.

U-17 MNT vs. England: Reaction - Nov. 28, 2014

U-17 MNT Head Coach Richie Williams, midfielder Christian Pulisic, and goalkeeper Kevin Silva talk about the USA's opening win of the 2014 Nike International Friendlies.

U-17 MNT vs. England: Highlights - Nov. 28, 2014

Guided by a balanced attack and a strong defense, the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team took down England 3-1 in its opening match of the 2014 Nike International Friendlies.

Christian Pulisic, U-17 MNT Riding Yearlong Wave of Success

Christian Pulisic reflects on the U-17 MNT's improvement and growth after a year of residency, his start at PA Classics, and the healthy pressure the team feels after tasting international success.

U-17 MNT vs. Ecuador: Highlights - Aug. 8, 2014

The U.S. U-17 MNT fell to Ecuador 2-1 in the semifinals of the 2014 Copa Mexico de Naciones.

U-17 MNT vs. Colombia: Highlights - Aug. 6, 2014

The U.S. U-17 MNT advanced to the semifinals of the 2014 Copa Mexico de Naciones after outlasting Colombia in a penalty kick shootout.

U-17 MNT vs. Paraguay: Highlights - August 4, 2014

The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team scored two first-half goals and beat Paraguay 2-1 in a match to decide Group C at the 2014 Copa Mexico de Naciones.

U-17 MNT vs. Mexico: Highlights - August 3, 2014

The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team clinched a spot in the quarterfinals with its second win at the Copa Mexico de Naciones in Mexico City, beating Mexico’s second squad 2-0.
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