USA Earns Important Point With 0-0 Result Vs. Japan At 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup

U.S. Goalkeeper Chituru Odunze Makes Four Saves to Help Guide USA to First Point of the Tournament; USA Finishes Group D vs. Netherlands on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 6:50 p.m. ET on FS2, UNIVERSO

CARIACICA, Brazil (Oct. 27, 2019) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team earned an important point in Group D at the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup thanks to a hard-fought, 0-0 draw against Japan before 3,878 fans at Estádio Kléber Andrade.

The USA (0-1-1, 1pt) now sits third in Group D after two matchdays, trailing Japan (1-0-1, 4pts) in second and group leaders Senegal (2-0-0, 6pts), but ahead of its final group stage opponent, the Netherlands (0-2-0, 0pts).

2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup Group D Standings






















United States














The point earned against Japan was crucial because a win in its final Group D game would put the USA in good position to advance to the knockout round with four points. In 21 previous FIFA tournaments with this format, 101 teams finished the group stage with exactly four points, and 98 advanced (97 percent). Sixty-six teams finished with three points, and 31 advanced (47 percent).

The U.S. had its chances throughout the game when going forward, but not being able to find the back of the net put the spotlight on 6-8 goalkeeper Chituru Odunze, who came up huge for the USA with four saves, three of which came late in the second half.

After scoring the USA’s opening goal of the tournament in the first game against Senegal from a header, Gianluca Busio nearly did the same against Japan. However, the speedy forward put an early header over the bar in the 8th minute before later sending a free kick just over the bar as the USA and Japan entered the break scoreless.

Minutes into the second half, U.S. forward Ricardo Pepi broke through on goal and put home a rebound but was rightly whistled offside. In the 55th minute, he was withdrawn for Gio Reyna, who nearly caught Japan goalkeeper Zion Suzuki cheating off his line when he put a 30-yard free kick just over the bar.

Shortly thereafter, Japan introduced it most dangerous player, Jun Nishikawa, who proved a handful but couldn’t find his finishing touch. His partner in attack, Yamato Wakatsuki, was more precise with his shots but repeatedly found himself thwarted by the acrobatics of Odunze in the U.S. goal.

Reyna bulled his way to a final goal-scoring opportunity for the U.S. in the 85th minute with a full field run but saw his close-range effort saved by Suzuki as the USA was made to settle for what could be a precious point.

Up Next: The USA heads to Estádio da Serrinha in Goiania for the conclusion of Group D play against the Netherlands on Saturday, Nov. 2. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET and the match can be seen live on FS2 and UNIVERSO.

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USA – Chituru Odunze, 21st minute: A quick Japan foray forward was snuffed out by Odunze, who alertly got down to his left, getting his body behind a curling shot from outside the box.

USA – Chituru Odunze, 74th minute
: Japan attacked down the right touchline with Taiga Hata swinging a cross toward the near post for Yamato Wakatsuki, whose leaping header was acrobatically saved by Odunze as it flew toward the top, right corner.

JPN – Zion Suzuki, 85th minute:
Reyna stormed the length of the field down the left side and cut into the box past one defender while holding off another. However, he wasn’t able to slip his shot beneath the charging Suzuki.

USA – Chituru Odunze, 90+2: Japan worked the ball to the top of the USA box where Wakatsuki ripped a left-footed drive from just inside the box toward the top left corner. A flying, fingernail save from Odunze narrowly tipped the ball over the bar to preserve the result for the USA.


  • The USA is now 0-2-1 against Japan all-time at the U-17 World Cup.

  • The U.S. is now 6-7-2 all-time vs. Asian Football Confederation teams at the U-17 World Cup.

  • Head coach Raphael Wicky made five changes from the USA’s first match vs. Senegal: goalkeeper Chituru Odunze, defenders George Bello and Nicolas Carrera as well as forwards Ethan Dobbeleare and Andres Jasson.

  • Bello, Carrera and Odunze made their World Cup debuts.

  • Adam Saldana made his team-leading 27th appearance for the U-17 MNT this cycle.

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

 U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. Japan
Date: Oct. 30, 2019
Competition: 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup
Venue: Estádio Kléber Andrade; Cariacica, Brazil
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET (8 p.m. local)
Attendance: 3,878
Weather: 75 degrees; fair

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


USA:  12-Chituru Odunze; 2-Joe Scally, 4-Nicolás Carrera, 5-Kobe Hernandez-Foster, 3-George Bello; 16-Adam Saldana, 6-Daniel Leyva, 7-Gianluca Busio (capt.); 17-Ethan Dobbelaere, 9-Ricardo Pepi (10-Gio Reyna, 55), 20-Andres Jasson (11-Griffin Yow, 78)

Subs not used: 1-Damian Las, 21-Aaron Cervantes, 8-Bryang Kayo, 13-Adam Armour, 15-Sebastian Anderson, 18-Maximillian Dietz, 19-Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez

Head Coach: Raphael Wicky

1-Zion Suzuki; 5-Taiga Hata, 2-Kaito Suzuki, 3-Riku Handa (capt.), 4-Shina Nakano; 7-Shunsuke Mito (14-Keita Nakano, 74), 6-Joel Fujita, 8-Hikaru Naruoka, 19-Sohki Tamura (18-Kohshiro Sumi, 88); 9-Yamato Wakatsuki, 11-Shoji Toyama (10-Jun Nishikawa, 57)

Subs not used: 12-Taishi Brandon Nozawa, 21-Masato Sasaki, 13-Asahi Yokokawa, 15-Yosuke Murakami, 16-Kakeru Yamauchi, 17-Satoshi Tanaka, 20-Shuto Mitsuda

Head Coach: Yoshiro Moriyama

Stats Summary: USA / JPN

Shots:  7 / 10
Shots on Goal: 2 / 4
Saves:  4 / 2
Corner Kicks: 3 / 9
Fouls:  14 / 9
Offside: 1 / 0

Misconduct Summary:

USA – Nicolás Carrera (caution)             83rd minute


Referee: Guillermo Guerrero (ECU)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Carlos Macias (ECU)
Assistant Referee 2: Ricardo Baren (ECU)
Fourth Official: Ivo Mendez (BOL)