GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala (Feb. 24, 2023) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s Youth National Team defeated Canada 2-0 in the Concacaf U-17 Championship Semifinals to advance to the tournament final. Forward Micah Burton netted a gorgeous free kick goal to open the scoring in the 36th, while forward Keyrol Figueroa added an exclamation point with his seventh goal of the competition in the game’s final moments, tying him for the lead in the Golden Boot race.
The USA will face Mexico in the Concacaf U-17 Championship Final on Sunday, Feb. 26 (8 p.m. ET; FS2, TUDN, ViX+), seeking its first confederation title at this level since 2011. Mexico defeated Panama 5-0 in Friday’s other semifinal.
The U.S. was on the front foot from the opening whistle, firing off three close-range chances in the first minutes of play. Forward Paulo Rudisill’s initial attempt was too high from a few yards out, but it fell to forward Ezekiel Soto for another try and when Canada #5 finally cleared it from the goal mouth, it fell to midfielder Chris Aquino near the penalty spot, whose volley was deflected by Canada goalkeeper Alexander O’Brien. In the fifth minute, the U.S. threatened again as Aquino and defender Oscar Verhoeven arrived to a cross from Rudisill at the same time, hitting it over the crossbar.
Rudisill and Verhoeven combined well on the left wing all night. A cheeky combination with Aquino on the left side saw Rudisill fire a shot just wide in the 11th and after winning the ball on the press in the 19th, he had another opportunity snuffed out by Canada defender Alessandro Biello.
The U.S. kept the ball in Canadian territory for the majority of the evening, outshooting Canada 19-4 as the Reds failed to put a shot on goal. Despite the advantage, the U.S. wasn’t able to find its breakthrough until the 36th. After Burton was fouled 25 yards out, he lined up for the free kick and rocketed it to the top left corner for the game’s opening goal.
The U.S. pushed to build its lead after the break, boosted by a number of second-half subs. Forward Brian Romero made an instant impact after coming on, immediately putting in two good crosses for Rudisill, but neither of his bouncing headers found the back of the net. O’Brien leapt to make a save in the 60th and the other went over the crossbar in the 63rd.
Burton nearly bagged his brace in the 72nd. Midfielder Edwyn Mendoza sprung the Austin FC forward down the right wing on a long ball and he ripped a shot as he drove towards goal, but it rolled just wide of the left post. He fired off another dangerous free kick in the 76th from just outside the right side of the box, but it went just over the bar.
After searching all half for a second goal, the answer finally came in the game’s closing minutes from Figueroa, the USA’s leading scorer at the tournament. He put an exclamation point on the evening from inside the six, finishing off fellow substitute forward David Vazquez’s fourth assist of the competition.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:
USA – Micah Burton, 36th minute: Working down the left side into Canadian territory, a foul on Burton set the U.S. up for a free kick from 25 yards out on the left side of the box. The forward stepped up for the kick and drilled it to the top left corner to open the scoring. USA 1, CAN 0
USA – Keyrol Figueroa (David Vazquez), 90+4th minute: Winning the ball from Canada just outside the top right corner of the box, Vazquez dribbled towards the end line and started to cut in before whipping it in to Figueroa at the six. After the goalkeeper missed on his dive for the cross, he took a touch before hitting it with the outside of his right foot to cap off the U.S. win. USA 2, CAN 0
- The USA improves to 11-1-0 vs. Canada all-time at the Concacaf U-17 Championship and has won 11 straight since dropping the first meeting in 1988.
- Forward Keyrol Figueroa’s seven goals are tied for the tournament lead with Mexico’s Stephano Carrillo.
- They’re also the most goals scored by a U.S. player at the tournament since 1999. Forward Gio Reyna netted six during the 2019 tourney, the first with the current 20-team format.
- Nine players have scored for the U.S. at CU17C: Figueroa (seven goals), Micah Burton, Taha Habroune, Cruz Medina (three), Chris Aquino, Ezekiel Soto (two), Aiden Harangi, Brian Romero and Paulo Rudisill.
- Eight players have logged an assist: Paulo Rudisill and David Vazquez (four assists), Adrian Gill, Habroune, Romero (two), Figueroa, Sawyer Jura, Medina and Soto.
- Sunday’s USA-Mexico match-up is the third-straight meeting for 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. Canada
Date: Feb. 24, 2023
Competition: 2023 Concacaf U-17 Championship – Semifinal
Venue: Estadio Nacional Doroteo Guamuch Flores; Guatemala City, Guatemala
Kickoff: 7 p.m. local (8 p.m. ET)
Weather: 71 degrees, clear
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 1 2
CAN 0 0 0
USA – Micah Burton 36th minute
USA – Keyrol Figueroa (David Vazquez) 90+4
USA: 12-Adam Beaudry; 13-Adien Harangi, 4-Tyler Hall (Capt.), 5-Stuart Hawkins, 2-Oscar Verhoeven; 6-Edwyn Mendoza (8-Pedro Soma, 80), 16-Adrian Gil, 20-Chris Aquino (10-Cruz Medina, 70); 18-Ezekiel Soto (7-Brian Romero, 59), 9-Micah Burton (17-Keyrol Figueroa, 80), 19-Paulo Rudisill (11-David Vazquez, 70)
Substitutes not used:
Head coach: Gonzalo Segares
CAN: 18-Alexander O’Brien; 2-Theo Rigopoulos (12-Aidan Fong, 84), 3-Gael de Montigny, 4-Alessandro Biello, 5-Chimere Omeze, 6-Lazar Stefanovic (Capt.), 8-Jeevan Badwai, 13-Richard Chukwu, 17-Liam Mackenzie (10-Antoine N’Diaye, 59), 19-Kyler Vojvodic (9-Erik Pop, 59), 20-Andrei Dumitru (11-Lucas Ozimec, 72)
Substitutes not used:
Head coach: Andrew Olivieri
Stats Summary: USA / CAN
Shots: 19 / 4
Shots on Goal: 5 / 0
Saves: 0 / 3
Corner Kicks: 4 / 1
Fouls: 22 / 16
Offside: 4 / 0
CAN – Chimere Omeze (Caution) 41st minute
CAN – Richard Chukwu 50
USA – Edwyn Mendoza (Caution) 53
USA – Adrian Gill (Caution) 89
Officials:Referee: Christopher Mason (JAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Kemar Gayle (JAM)
Assistant Referee 2: William Chow (CRC)
Fourth Official: Okeito Nicholson (JAM)