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
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
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
AUS – Danny Kim (caution) 39th minute
Referee: Chipalo Street (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Chris Hutchison (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Kathryn Nesbitt (USA)
Fourth Official: Caleb Mendez (USA)