LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. (Dec. 11, 2013) – The U.S.Under-17 Men’s National Team fired five goals past a game England squad that had no answer for the USA’s potent attacking duo of Joe Gallardo and Haji Wright.
Gallardo fired the USA to an early 2-0 lead with goals in the 13th and 16th minutes before capping off his hat trick in style with five minutes remaining in regulation.
Wright added a brace of goals in the final 20 minutes and USA goalkeeper Will Pulisic was also on top of his game with numerous saves, including a penalty-kick save on England midfielder Foday Nabay early in the second half with the Young Lions threatening to tie the match.
After settling into the match during the first 10 minutes, the USA began to control play through a fluid possession-and-pressure game that put England on the defensive. It didn’t take long for the USA to capitalize as Pierre Da Silva skipped down the England right flank in the 13th minute and drilled a low centering feed that Gallardo was able to turn home with a sliding attempt at the back post.
Three minutes later, Gallardo struck again. Wright broke up an England build-up with a sliding tackle and the ball fell to Gallardo who put a nifty move on England center back Ro-Shaun Williams to create space for a shot that he laced past England goalkeeper Ryan Sandford for a 2-0 USA lead.
The U.S. continued to cause England problems with pressure high up the pitch after the second goal, which created a few chances off turnovers, the best of which fell to Alejandro Zendejas in the 21st minute, but the young midfielder put his shot right at Sandford.
As the 30-minute mark approached, USA goalkeeper William Pulisic was called into a spell of action. He made a solid stop on a powerful long-range effort before making an athletic double save to dispel a bit of England pressure. Pulisic did well to keep his defense organized as the USA saw out the half by holding England to speculative shots from distance while spurning a handful of counter attack chances.
The final 45 minutes did not start well for the USA as England’s Charlie Wakefield drew a free kick in a spot of some menace only two minutes after the break. Marcus Edwards stepped up to draw the Young Lions within one with a curling free kick that swung over the USA wall and left Pulisic no chance.
With the USA collecting itself after the break, England pressed for the equalizer through Wakefield, who caused trouble all night for the USA defense.
England got the break it was looking for in the 54th minute as striker Kaylen Hinds was brought down in the USA penalty area. Nabay stepped up to take the penalty kick, but saw his effort saved by Pulisic who got down well to his right to keep the USA ahead 2-1.
From there, Wright took over for the Americans. After a couple half chances went begging for the USA, a short corner was played into midfield sub Luca de la Torre who whipped in a low cross to Wright on the back post for a tap in to make it 3-1 in the 72nd minute.
Wright added his second goal minutes later, capping off a fast break from the USA by leaving an England defender in his wake and slotting the ball through Sandford’s legs and into the far side netting.
Buoyed by the 4-1 score line, Wright and his teammates ran to celebrate with their U-15 counterparts, who watched the game along with the 1,200 person-strong crowd on hand.
Gallardo capped off the rout in the 85th minute by completing his hat trick when the ball fell to him after a USA corner kick and he waltzed past two England defenders before depositing the ball in the back of the net.
The USA concludes play at the 2013 Nike International Friendlies with a match against Brazil on Friday at 5 p.m. ET, while England faces Portugal in its final game at 2 p.m. ET earlier that day.
-U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team Match Report-
U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. England U-17 Men’s National Team
Date: Dec. 11, 2013
Competition: 2013 Nike International Friendlies
Venue: Premier Sports Campus; Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET
Weather: 79 degrees, clear
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 3 5
ENG 0 1 1
USA – Joe Gallardo (Pierre Da Silva) 13th minute
USA – Joe Gallardo 16
ENG – Marcus Edwards 47
USA – Haji Wright (Luca de la Torre) 72
USA – Haji Wright (Christian Pulisic) 80
USA – Joe Gallardo (Josh Perez) 85
USA: 12-William Pulisic; 4-Daniel Barbir, 9-Haji Wright (14-Hugo Arellano, 86), 10-Alejandro Zendejas (7-Christian Pulisic, 66), 13-Edwin Lara (2-Matthew Olosunde, 66), 15-Alexis Velela, 16-Logan Panchot, 17-Brian Zelaya (capt.) (8-Luca de la Torre, 56), 18-Thomas McCabe, 19-Joe Gallardo (5-George Braima, 86), 20-Pierre Da Silva (11-Josh Perez, 56)
Subs not used: 1-Kevin Silva, 6-Eric Calvillo
Head Coach: Richie Williams
13-Ryan Sandford; 2-Trent Arnold, 4-Callum Gribbin (14-William Patching, 68), 5-Ro-Shaun Williams (6-Cameron Humphreys, 72), 7-Charlie Wakefield, 8-Foday
Nabay, 10-Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (9-Kevin Hinds, 46), 12-Daniel Collinge, 16-Adam Philips (capt.) (3-Jay DaSilva, 46), 18-Layton N’dukwu, 19-Marcus Edwards
(11-Christopher Willock, 68)
Subs not used: 1-Alfie Whiteman, 15-Reece Oxford, 17-Ben Sheaf, 21-Connor King
Head Coach: Kenny Swain
Stats Summary: USA / ENG
Shots: 21 / 17
Shots on Goal: 9 / 6
Saves: 5 / 4
Corner Kicks: 2 / 7
Fouls: 11 / 6
Offside: 2 / 1
ENG – Trent Arnold (caution) 83rd minute
USA – Thomas McCabe (caution) 89
Referee: Richonne Clark
Assistant Referee 1: Ramon Bermudez Jr.
Assistant Referee 2: Deleana Quan
Fourth Official: Bernhard Hosu