SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (March 5, 2015) – Forward Josh Perez scored three goals in the opening half and the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team defeated Guatemala 4-1 in Group A action at the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship at Estadio Francisco Morazán.
Perez became the second player to record a hat trick in the tournament, following in the footsteps of Joe Gallardo who posted three goals in the USA’s opening 5-0 victory against Cuba.
With the win, the U.S. is now one victory away from clinching first place in the group and, most importantly, a berth to the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup. The USA next faces Honduras at 10 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 8, at Estadio Francisco Morazán (FOX Soccer Plus, FOX Sports GO, Univision Deportes).
Earlier Thursday in Group A play, Jamaica and Cuba drew 1-1. Jamaica moved to 1-1-1 (4 points) in the tournament and Cuba to 0-1-2 (2 points). Host side Honduras faces Trinidad & Tobago in Thursday night’s last Group A game. Prior to the start of that game, the USA (3-0-0, 9 points) holds a five-point lead over second-place Honduras (1-0-1, 4 points).
In addition to Perez’s performance, Pierre Da Silva scored his first goal of the tournament and goalkeeper Will Pulisic improved to 5-0-0 in 2015 and 3-0-0 in qualifying.
Guatemala’s Erick Soto eventually got his team on the score sheet in the 65th minute. That broke an impressive 245-minute shutout streak by the USA defense in the tournament.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Josh Perez, 10th minute: The USA gained a free kick chance from the right side. Christian Pulisic initially looked to take the free kick, but instead Perez whipped in a left-footed shot. David Ramos leaped up to try and head the ball away but was unsuccessful. Gilder Lemus was caught off guard at the near post and the shot whizzed past the Guatemala goalkeeper’s knee and into the net for an early U.S. lead. USA 1, GUA 0
USA – Josh Perez (Christian Pulisic), 19th minute: The USA wasted little time to pad its lead. Pulisic’s cheeky flick pass over a Guatemala defender on the right side set up the sequence and Perez once again was on the attack. Perez drew Fernando Fuentes and Mario Rodas on his run toward the middle and before sneaking a left-footed shot inside the right post. The assist was Pulisic’s fourth of the tournament. USA 2, GUA 0
USA – Josh Perez (penalty), 45th minute: Christian Pulisic drew a penalty kick when he split Guatemala’s Victor Valedez and Mario Rodas, with Rodas committing the foul in the box. Pulisic limped off of the field to receive medical attention, and Perez took the subsequent penalty kick. Perez drilled a low shot into the lower left side of the frame as Guatemala goalkeeper Gilder Lemus guessed the opposite way. Perez is now tied with Joe Gallardo with five international goals this year. USA 3, GUA 0
USA – Pierre da Silva (Luca de la Torre), 48th minute: De la Torre did the brunt of the work with a dribble straight up the middle of the field. The Guatemala defense was sucked into the center, and that is when he dished to Da Silva on the left side. Da Silva one-timed his shot inside the left post past Gilder Lemus for a four-goal cushion. It was Da Silva’s first goal of the tournament and 2015 and the third in his U-17 MNT career. De la Torre has three assists in qualifying. USA 4, GUA 0
GUA – Erick Soto, 65th minute: Victor Valdez sent a free kick into the box from the left side and the USA defense was unable to clear the ball out of harm’s way. Soto had an opening with a right-footed shot that bent to the right and into the inside of the post as a diving Will Pulisic had little chance to stop the shot. It was the first goal the U.S. allowed in the tournament, breaking a shutout streak of 245 minutes. USA 4, GUA 1 (FINAL)
Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Will Pulisic, 16th minute: Guatemala had a promising set piece chance with John Mendez taking the corner kick from the left side. Pulisic stepped up well to punch the ball out of the box. Guatemala did stay active in the attack, but the USA blocked an additional attempt and maintained its early one-goal lead.
USA – Will Pulisic, 27th minute: The USA goalkeeper came up big when he batted away an Abel Lemus shot. Guatemala drove a corner kick in from the right side that skied over everyone. Lemus gathered the ball in the left side of the box. He quickly fired toward the left of the frame and Pulisic stretched up to bat the ball over the crossbar.
GUA – Gilder Lemus, 80th and 81st minutes: With the result well in hand for the U.S., Guatemala’s goalkeeper stayed poised to limit the damage. Second-half sub McKinze Gaines shot from the left side in the 80th minute and Lemus saved at the near left post. Shortly after, Brandon Vazquez attempted a bending shot from outside the box and Lemus dove to his left for another stop.
Next on the Schedule:
The U-17 MNT prepares for its fourth Group A match against Honduras at 10 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 8, at Estadio Francisco Morazán in San Pedro Sula.
Broadcast information: FOX Soccer Plus, FOX Sports GO, Univision Deportes
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- The U-17 MNT is now 6-1-0 in international play this year.
- The USA moved to 5-0-0 all-time against Guatemala in this tournament’s history.
- Head coach Richie Williams’ starting lineup featured seven changes from the USA’s 2-0 victory against Trinidad & Tobago.
- Will Pulisic returned for his third straight start in the tournament at goalkeeper.
- The defensive line featured three changes, while Matthew Olosunde started at right back for a third consecutive game. The rest of the back line featured Tyler Adams on the left and a center back duo of Daniel Barbir and Alexis Velela. Barbir made his first appearance in qualifying. Velela started for the second time and Adams earned his first start after coming off the bench in the first two games.
- The midfield in the USA’s 4-3-3 formation included the third consecutive start for Christian Pulisic in an attacking role. Luca de la Torre started for a second straight game and Eric Calvillo returned to the starting lineup. Calvillo, who also started in the opening victory against Cuba, wore the captain’s armband.
- The USA went with an entirely different starting front line, with Brandon Vazquez at center for Joe Gallardo, Josh Perez on the right wing for Haji Wright and Pierre Da Silva on the left for Alejandro Zendejas. It was Perez’s second start of the tournament and the first starts for Vazquez and Da Silva.
- The USA has started 18 different players in the three games. The only two who have not earned starts are forward McKinze Gaines and goalkeeper Kevin Silva.
- Christian Pulisic leads the U-17 MNT with 32 international caps in this cycle dating back to 2013.
- Defender John Nelson entered the game to open the second half, replacing Christian Pulisic, who took a knock to set up the USA’s penalty kick late in the first half. Adams pushed up into the midfield.
- In the 51st minute, Tommy McCabe entered for Olosunde.
- Gaines was the final sub, replacing Perez in the 77th minute. Gaines has appeared in all seven U-17 MNT matches this year, and he has come off the bench in all three qualifying games.
- U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team Match Report –
Match: U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. Guatemala U-17 Men’s National Team
Date: March 5, 2015
Competition: 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship
Venue: Estadio Francisco Morazán; San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. local)
Weather: 88 degrees; Clear, humid
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 3 1 4
GUA 0 1 1
USA – Josh Perez 10th minute
USA – Josh Perez (Christian Pulisic) 19
USA – Josh Perez (penalty) 45
USA – Pierre Da Silva (Luca de la Torre) 48
GUA – Erick Soto 65
USA: 1-Will Pulisic; 2-Matthew Olosunde (16-Thomas McCabe, 51), 4-Alexis Velela, 15-Danny Barbir, 18-Tyler Adams; 6-Eric Calvillo (capt.), 8-Luca de la Torre, 10-Christian Pulisic (3-John Nelson, 46); 11-Josh Perez (13-McKinze Gaines, 77), 19-Brandon Vazquez, 17-Pierre Da Silva
Subs Not Used: 5-Hugo Arellano, 7-Haji Wright, 9-Joe Gallardo, 12-Kevin Silva, 14-Tanner Dieterich, 20-Alejandro Zendejas
Head Coach: Richie Williams
GUA: 12-Gilder Lemus; 2-David Ramos, 4-Fernando Fuentes (capt.), 5-Mario Rodas, 17-Abel Lemus (19-Oliver Diaz, 53); 6-Stefan Behrens, 10-John Mendez, 11-Diego Raymundo (14-Erick Soto, 51), 13-Victor Valdez; 7-Esteban Garcia, 20-Richard Rodriguez (16-Moises Orellana, 58)
Subs Not Used: 1-Angel Castro; 3-Ganzalo Deras, 8-Alvaro Velasquez, 9-Francisco Spross, 15-Armando Aroche, 18-Juan Diego Riley
Head Coach: Juan Manuel Funes
Stats Summary: USA / GUA
Shots: 15 / 8
Shots on Goal: 7 / 4
Saves: 3 / 3
Corner Kicks: 2 / 4
Fouls: 11 / 15
Offside: 0 / 1
GUA –Diego Raymundo (caution) 23rd minute
GUA – Mario Rodas (caution) 69
GUA – Estaban Garcia (caution) 73
Referee: Ricardo Montero (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Mora (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Miguel Paredes (MEX)
Fourth Official: Cesar Ramos (MEX)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Josh Perez