GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala (Feb. 26, 2023) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s Youth National Team fell to Mexico 3-1 in the Concacaf U-17 Championship Final despite a strong, resilient performance. A goal from Pedro Soma and several dangerous chances down the stretch were not enough to match two converted penalty kicks from Mexico. After clinching its berth to the FIFA U-17 World Cup with a win against Guatemala in the tournament quarterfinals, the USA now shifts its focus to preparations for November’s FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru.
The game got off to a fiery start as Mexico brought immediate some pressure in the attack, but midfielder Isaac Martinez’s first shot went well over the crossbar in the first minute. In the eighth, the USA strung together a good run of play near the top of the box which ended with an attempt from forward Keyrol Figueroa that was blocked. In the ensuing counter from Mexico, midfielder Brandon Lomelí was brought down inside the USA box as goalkeeper Duran Ferree attempted to snuff out the dangerous attack, resulting in a penalty kick converted by forward Stephano Carrillo to open the scoring in the 10th.
The USA would regain control of the match as the half wore on, especially toward the later stages of the opening frame as the team’s best chance for an equalizer came off a strike from midfielder Cruz Medina at the top of the box that forced a stretched out save from goalkeeper Norberto Bedolla in the 41st.
The U.S. endured more pressing play at the start of the second, avoiding trouble early as Mexico skied a chance from close range in the half’s opening minutes. Ferree came up with a massive save in the 51st minute to deny a breakaway from José Urías as he received a ball over the top, but the following corner kick resulted in Mexico’s second goal of the night when defender Luis Navarrete finished it with a header off the quick start.
Despite the deficit, the young Americans displayed incredible resilience, maintaining composure as the U.S. continued to apply pressure in the attacking third. Reinvigorated by three substitutions in the 63rd minute, the USA continued to test El Tri’s defense with a refreshed attacking corps.
On the back of three consecutive promising chances, the USA narrowed the deficit in the 69th after Soma buried a header off a corner kick from substitute midfielder Chris Aquino to score his first goal of the tournament. Inspired by the goal, the USA continued to threaten with numerous dangerous chances, but despite putting six shots on target in the second half, it was not meant the Americans’ night.
The U.S. went down to 10 men in the 89th minute after Ferree was shown a second yellow card following a foul inside the box. With the USA having already made all five of its allowed substitutions, defender Stuart Hawkins put on the goalkeeper gloves and stepped into goal for the remainder of the match, but Martínez buried the resulting penalty kick to secure the win for Mexico.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:
MEX – Stephano Carrillo (Penalty Kick), 10th minute – Mexico’s Brandon Lomelí was brought down inside the USA box following a breakaway, resulting in a penalty kick for El Tri. Carrillo converted with a low shot down the middle to open the scoring. USA 0, MEX 1
MEX – Luis Navarrete (Yerar Azcárate), 51st minute – Mexico played a short corner kick and Azcárate whipped a quick cross into the box, which Navarrete flicked back toward the far post with a header and snuck just inside to double the lead. USA 0, MEX 2
USA – Pedro Soma (Chris Aquino), 69th minute – Aquino sent a corner kick from the right side straight for the heart of the box, where Soma rose above his defender to place a strong header toward the back post, beating Mexico goalkeeper Norberto Bedolla. USA 1, MEX 2
MEX – Isaac Martínez (Penalty Kick), 90+2 minute – This time, Joaquin Moxica was fouled inside the box, and Martinez went to the spot as U.S. goalkeeper Duran Ferree was sent off and defender Stuart Hawkins stepped into goal. He sent it to the right side of the net to ice the game for Mexico. USA 1, MEX 3
- Pedro Soma scored his first goal of the tournament, becoming the tenth different goal scorer for the USA during the competition. The ten players were Keyrol Figueroa (seven goals), Micah Burton, Taha Habroune, Cruz Medina (three), Chris Aquino, Ezekiel Soto (two), Aiden Harangi, Brian Romero, Soma and Paulo Rudisill.
- Christopher Aquino recorded his first assist of the tournament, becoming the ninth USA player to log an assist. The nine players were Rudisill and David Vazquez (four assists), Adrian Gill, Habroune, Romero (two), Aquino, Figueroa, Sawyer Jura, Medina and Soto.
- The match was the third consecutive meeting between the two nations in the Concacaf U-17 Championship Final. Mexico topped the USA in penalties, 5-4, in 2017 and 2-1 in added extra time in 2019.
-U.S. UNDER-17 MEN’S YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT-
Match: United States Under-17 Men’s Youth National Team vs. Mexico
Date: Feb. 26, 2023
Competition: 2023 Concacaf U-17 Championship – Final
Venue: Estadio Nacional Doroteo Guamuch Flores; Guatemala City, Guatemala
Kickoff: 7 p.m. local (8 p.m. ET)
Weather: 69 degrees, clear
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 1 2
MEX 0 0 0
MEX – Stephano Carrillo (Penalty Kick) 10th minute
MEX – Luis Navarrete (Yerar Azcárate) 51
USA – Pedro Soma (Chris Aquino) 69
MEX – Isaac Martínez (Penalty Kick) 90+2
USA: 1-Duran Ferree; 2-Oscar Verhoeven (16-Adrian Gill, 80), 4-Tyler Hall (Capt.), 5-Stuart Hawkins, 3-Sawyer Jura (13-Aiden Harangi, 46); 8-Pedro Soma, 14-Taha Habroune (20-Chris Aquino, 63), 10-Cruz Medina; 7-Bran Romero (9-Micah Burton, 63), 17-Keyrol Figueroa, 11-David Vazquez (19-Paulo Rudisill, 63)
Substitutes not used: 12-Adam Beaudry, 6-Edwyn Mendoza, 15-Christitan Diaz, 18-Ezekiel Soto
Head coach: Gonzalo Segares
MEX: 1-Norberto Bedolla; 2-José Suárez, 3-Kevin García, 4-Luis Navarrete, 5-Javen Romero, 6-Isaac Martinez (Capt.), 7-Brandon Lomelí (15-Jonathan Flores, 82), 8-José Urías (18-Cristian Inda, 90+4), 9-Stephano Carrillo (19-Joaquín Moxica, 74), 10-Gael Álvarez (20-Yerar Azcárate, 46), 11-Fidel Barajas (14-José Arroyo, 74)
Substitutes not used: 12-Fernando Dalgado, 13-José Muro, 16-Álex Valencia, 17-Israel Robles
Head coach: Raul Chabrand
Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 15 / 14
Shots on Goal: 7 / 8
Saves: 4 / 6
Corner Kicks: 5 / 5
Fouls: 14 / 12
Offside: 1 / 2
USA – Duran Ferree (Caution) 8th minute
USA – Duran Ferree (Sent Off) 89
Referee: Filberto Martinez (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: Carlos Vargas (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: Cristian Alvarado (GUA)
Fourth Official: Jose Ignacio Fuentes (GUA)