BRADENTON, Fla. (May 14, 2019) — The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team rode a dominant second-half performance to a 4-0 defeat of Canada in the semifinals of the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship. A brace from Ricardo Pepi, as well as goals from Bryang Kayo and Gio Reyna saw the USA book its place in Thursday’s final (7 p.m. ET; UDN, Concacaf Facebook), where it will face the winner of Tuesday’s other semifinal between Haiti or Mexico.
U.S. coach Raphael Wicky’s side dictated play in the first half, carrying 69 percent of possession and outshooting Canada 9-2, but wasn’t able to find the final ingredient against Canada’s defense. The U.S. back line fed Reyna a number of good balls over the top while the team also strung together a number of dangerous combinations through the midfield.
The U.S. nearly found the opener on a flurry of rebound attempts near the goal-line in the 12th minute. After Canada goalkeeper Benjamin Collins popped the ball up, a Canada defender cleared Ricardo Pepi’s follow-up header off the line, and Reyna misfired on his one-time attempt off the deflection. Reyna and Gianluca Busio continually threatened inside Canada’s 18-yard-box but weren’t able to find the back of the net in the opening frame.
That changed after the break, as Kayo opened the scoring for the USA in the 47th minute. Receiving the ball from Busio, the D.C. United midfielder drove past a number of defenders down the left wing before slotting a ball to the far post for his first international goal to break the deadlock.
After firing a number of shots in the first half, Reyna connected for his sixth goal of the tournament in the 64th minute. Winning the ball just beyond outside the 18-yard box, the U.S. captain was brought down by Simon Colyn and lined up for the free kick. On the take, Reyna hit a looping effort inside the left post for his third goal from a dead ball situation at the tournament, a tally that includes the game-winner in the USA’s 3-2 comeback victory against Canada in their group stage opener on May 2.
Busio sparked the USA’s third goal in the 76th minute as he pounced on a mishandled pass back in the Canadian defense. Charging forward, Busio drove the ball towards goal, where Pepi flew in from the right wing, made a move around the ‘keeper and slotted it home.
The two connected again four minutes later, as Busio won a ball at midfield before notching his third assist of the day by sening Pepi through the Canada back line where he slotted home his second of the day and third of the tournament.
In helping the USA to its fourth-straight clean sheet of the tournament, goalkeeper Chituru Odunze also earned his first shutout of 2019 for the U-17 MNT. The USA has also now held opponents scoreless for the last 396 minutes of play. With the victory, the USA secures a record 10th top-two finish at the Concacaf U-17 Championship and will go for its fourth confederation title on Thursday against the winner of the second semifinal between Haiti and Mexico.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Bryang Kayo (Gianluca Busio), 47th minute: Taking possession after a misplayed Canada pass, Tayvon Gray played to Busio near the center circle. Busio laid it off for Kayo on the right wing, and he beat one defender as he dribbled upfield to the top corner of the 18-yard-box, where he swung a shot past another defender and the goalkeeper to the far post for the game’s opening goal and first of his U-17 career. USA 1, CAN 0
USA – Gio Reyna, 64th minute: Seizing possession just beyond the 18-yard box, Reyna started to drive towards the center of the field when he was brought down by Simon Colyn. Lining up for a free kick from a similar distance as his game-winning free kick goal against Canada in the teams’ tournament opener, Reyna, swung a ball to the left-side netting past the ‘keeper to extend the U.S. lead. USA 2, CAN 0.
USA – Ricardo Pepi (Gianluca Busio), 78th minute: Tomas Giraldo couldn’t cleanly control a pass along the Canada back line, and Busio seized the opportunity. He pounced on the mis-possessed ball and hit it past the defense, where Ricardo Pepi dashed in from the right wing to collect it. Pepi beat the goalkeeper one-on-one and slotted it to the far post for his second goal of the tournament. USA 3, CAN 0
USA – Ricardo Pepi (Giancluca Busio), 82nd minute: The Busio-Pepi combination continued four minutes later. Busio forced a turnover at the center circle, took a touch and then sent Pepi through the Canada back line and in alone on goal. Pepi took a touch towards the top of the area and rifled his effort inside the lower left post for his second of the match, thus handing Busio his third assist. USA 4, CAN 0 FINAL
Key Defensive Stops:
CAN – Benjamin Collins and Maxime Bourgeois, 12th minute: Mauricio Cuevas drove to the end line and hit a rolling cross to the near post where Collins attempted to make a save, but collided with the on-rushing Busio, forcing the ball into the air. Ricardo Pepi put a header on-frame, but Bourgeois headed it off the line, before Reyna’s rebound attempt skied over the bar.
CAN – Benjamin Collins, 73rd minute: Taking a free kick from near the left sideline, Reyna swung a booming ball to the far post. Defender Tayvon Gray charged in to meet it with a well-struck header, but Collins got his arms up in time to deflect the chance away.
- U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. Canada
Date: May 14, 2019
Competition: 2019 U-17 Concacaf Championship; Semifinals
Venue: IMG Academy; Bradenton, Florida
Kickoff: 5:30 p.m. ET
Weather: 80 degrees; mostly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 4 4
CAN 0 0 0
USA – Bryang Kayo 47th minute
USA – Gio Reyna 63
USA – Ricardo Pepi 78
USA – Ricardo Pepi (Gianluca Busio) 82
USA: 12-Chituru Odunze; 5-Kobe Hernandez, 6-Daniel Leyva, 7-Gianluca Busio, 8-Bryang Kayo (16-Adam Saldana, 77), 9-Ricardo Pepi (19-Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez, 82), 10-Giovanni Reyna (capt.), 13-Mauricio Cuevas, 14-Tayvon Gray, 15-John Tolkin (3-Adam Armour, 62), 20-Gilbert Fuentes
Subs Not Used: 1-Damian Las, 2-Joseph Scally, 4-Axel Alejandre, 11-Griffin Yow, 17-Tyler Freeman, 18-Jack De Vries
Head Coach: Raphael Wicky
CAN: 18-Benjamin Collins; 2-Keesean Ferdinand, 6-Maxime Bourgeois, 7-Kamron Habibullah, 8-Tomas Giraldo, 9-Jacen Russell-Rowe (11-Jayden Nelson, 50), 10-Simon Colyn (capt.), 13-Matthew Catavolo, 14-David Amla (3-Rohan Goulbourne, 63), 15-Nathan Demian, 16-James Dunning (17-Jeremie Omeonga, 50)
Subs Not Used: 1-Marc Kouadio, 4-Damiano Pecile, 5-Gianfranco Facchineri, 12-Deylen Vellios, 19-Ralph Priso-Mbongue, 20-Julian Altobelli
Head Coach: Andrew Olivieri
Stats Summary: USA / CAN
Shots: 25 / 8
Shots on Goal: 10 / 5
Saves: 5 / 6
Corner Kicks: 8 / 2
Fouls: 15 / 12
Offside: 2 / 1
Referee: Ismael Cornejo (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: David Moran Santos (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: Caleb (TRI)
4th Official: Oshane Nation (JAM)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Gianluca Busio