U.S. Soccer

U-17 MNT Falls 1-0 to Jamaica, Must Win Sunday Playoff Game to Qualify for FIFA U-17 World Cup

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (March 11, 2015) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team will need to go through a playoff match to earn a berth to the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup after Jamaica defeated the USA 1-0 at the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship.

Nicholas Nelson’s 57th-minute penalty kick was the difference maker in a tight match. Jamaica and the USA are level with 3-1-1 records and 10 points, but Jamaica takes the first-place lead based on the head-to-head tiebreaker. 

Honduras (2-0-2, 8 points) and Guatemala (1-2-1, 4 points) play later Wednesday night to cap off Group A play. Honduras would move ahead of both Jamaica and the USA if it defeats Guatemala. The Group A and Group B winners of the CONCACAF U-17 Championship earn automatic berths to the FIFA U-17 World Cup. 

Two other CONCACAF teams will advance to the World Cup by virtue of playoff wins. The USA will play either at 4 or 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 15, based on the seeding of the second- and third-place teams for each group. 

Earlier Wednesday, Cuba and Trinidad & Tobago played to a 2-2 draw in Group A action in a matchup of two teams that already had been eliminated from playoff contention. Cuba moved to 0-1-4 (4 points) and Trinidad & Tobago finished 1-4-0 (1 point). 

In Group B, the field includes first-place Mexico (3-0-1, 10 points), second-place Canada (3-0-1, 10 points) and third-place Costa Rica (3-1-0, 9 points). All three teams have advanced to at least the playoff stage of the tournament and resume group play Thursday. 

Goal Scoring Rundown:
JAM – Nicholas Nelson (penalty), 57th minute: Jamaica’s Donovan Dawkins crossed from the right side and USA center back Hugo Arellano was called for a handball in the box as the ball struck his left arm. Arellano, with his second yellow card in the tournament, is suspended for the USA’s final match. Donovan Dawkins took the subsequent penalty kick, slotting a right-footed, rolling shot toward the right of the frame. USA goalkeeper Will Pulisic had anticipated the shot going the opposite direction. USA 0, JAM 1 (FINAL) 

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
JAM – Jahmali White, 4th minute: Shortly after a Jamaica set piece chance, the USA went on the attack when Christian Pulisic provided an outlet pass to Josh Perez on the right. Perez crossed perfectly with his left foot to lead Alejandro Zendejas. White came off of his line to make a save with his legs. 

JAM – Jahmali White, 7th minute: Midfielder Eric Calvillo made a surprising run onto the ball from about 40 yards out and struck it well with a shot headed toward the left of the frame. White did enough to get a glove on the ball as the shot also ricocheted off of the left post. 

JAM – Ajeanie Talbott, 25th minute: Christian Pulisic’s through ball opened a strong scoring opportunity for Alejandro Zendejas behind the Jamaica defense. As Zendejas aggressively rushed toward the six-yard box with a shot from the right side, Talbott’s help defense bailed his team out as he deflected it away at the last second.

USA – Will Pulisic, 33rd minute: Shortly after Jamaica goalkeeper Jahmali White’s long boot toward the right side, Deshane Beckford ripped a shot from the far right of the box toward the far left post. Pulisic stretched to his right for a big save in the game’s best scoring chance to that point. 

JAM – Jahmali White, 42nd minute: The goalkeeping continued to be the focal point in the first half when Jamaica’s defense made an errant outlet pass. USA forward Josh Perez stepped up well for the interception and dribbled up the right side. He cut the corner to the end line, where he dished to Alejandro Zendejas. Zendejas shot left-footed, aiming for the left of the frame, and White parried the ball enough to send the shot wide left for a U.S. corner kick. 

JAM – Ajeanie Talbott, 52nd minute: For the second time in the match, Talbott’s recovery defense proved vital. The USA’s Haji Wright started an attack, dishing to Christian Pulisic in the middle who then led Alejandro Zendejas with a well-placed pass straight up the field. Zendejas headed in toward the left of the box and Talbott slid in to tackle the ball away for a USA throw-in. 

Next on the Schedule:
The U-17 MNT will prepare for a playoff match at either 4 or 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 15, at Estadio Francisco Morazán in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
Broadcast information: FOX Sports 2, FOX Sports GO, Univision Deportes
Social: Twitter (@ussoccer_ynt; @ussoccer_esp

Additional Notes:

  • The U-17 MNT is 6-2-1 in international play this year.
  • The USA moved to 3-2-1 all-time against Jamaica in this tournament’s history.
  • Head coach Richie Williams’ starting lineup included a 4-3-3 formation, anchored by goalkeeper Will Pulisic and a defensive line of Matthew Olosunde at right back, Tyler Adams at left back and center backs Hugo Arellano and Alexis Velela. Pulisic and Olosunde have started in every qualifying match, while Arellano earned his fourth tournament start and Adams his second. Arellano wore the captain’s armband.
  • The midfield trio featured Luca de la Torre, Eric Calvillo and the return of Christian Pulisic in an attacking role. Pulisic was injured during the USA’s win against Guatemala on March 5 and was an available bench option against Honduras but did not see the pitch.
  • Up front, Alejandro Zendejas played in the middle, Haji Wright on the left and Josh Perez on the right. All three players earned their fourth starts in five qualifying games.
  • In a three-minute span, the USA made its first two subs midway through the second half, both focused on the attack when the team was down a goal. In the 69th minute, the USA made its first sub as Joe Gallardo replaced Wright. Then in the 72nd minute, McKinze Gaines entered for Perez.
  • The U.S. made its final sub in the 76th minute with Brandon Vazquez joining the attack to replace Velela.
  • Arellano, who was called for the handball in the box that led to Jamaica’s lone goal, picked up his second yellow card in the tournament and is suspended for Sunday’s playoff match.
  • The USA was shut out for the second time this year and the first time at the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship. The only other occasion was a 2-0 loss to Panama on Feb. 4 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. 

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

Match: U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. Jamaica U-17 Men’s National Team
Date: March 11, 2015
Competition: 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship; Group A
Venue: Estadio Francisco Morazan
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET (5 p.m. Local)
Attendance: 1,288
Weather: 84 degrees, clear 

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

JAM – Nicholas Nelson (Penalty kick)           57th minute 

Lineups:
USA: 1-Will Pulisic, 2-Matthew Olosunde , 4-Alexis Velela (19-Brandon Vazquez, 76), 5-Hugo Arellano (capt.), 18-Tyler Adams; 6-Eric Calvillo, 10-Christian Pulisic, 8-Luca de la Torre; (13-McKinze Gaines, 72), 20-Alejandro Zendejas, 11-Josh Perez 7-Haji Wright (9-Joe Gallardo, 69)
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Kevin Silva, 3-John Nelson, 14-Tanner Dieterich, 15- Danny Barbir, 16-Tommy McCabe, 17-Pierre Da Silva
Head coach: Richie Williams 

JAM: 13-Jahmali Waite, 2-Javian Brown, 5-Jahwani Hinds (capt.), 17-Ajeanie Talbott , 6-Fabian Grant, 11-Zaire Bartley, 15-Deshane Beckford (19-Nathaniel Adamolekun, 46), 16-Jahlanie Hammond (14-Hakim Williams, 76), 9-Nicholas Nelson, 8-Tajea Brown (4-Shandel Senior, 83), 3-Donovan Dawkins
Substitutions Not Used: 1-Akeem Chambers, 7-Peter Vassell, 10-Alex Marshall, 12-Antoniel Mullings, 18-Chris-Andrew Dixon, 20-Demar James
Head coach: Andrew Edwards 

Stats Summary: USA / JAM
Shots: 13 / 10
Shots on Goal: 3 / 3
Saves: 2 / 3
Corner Kicks: 7 / 4
Fouls: 7 / 14
Offside: 3 / 0 

Misconduct Summary:
JAM – Fabian Grant (caution)            44th minute
USA – Hugo Arellano (caution)          56th
JAM – Nicholas Nelson (caution)       86th 

Officials:
Referee: Ricardo Montero (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Mora (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Miguel Paredes (MEX)
Fourth Official: Cesar Ramos (MEX) 

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: TBA

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U-17 MNT Mar 11, 2015

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

Match: U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. Jamaica U-17 Men’s National Team
Date: March 11, 2015
Competition: 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship; Group A
Venue: Estadio Francisco Morazan
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET (5 p.m. Local)
Attendance: 1,288
Weather: 84 degrees, clear

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

JAM – Nicholas Nelson (Penalty kick)      57th minute

Lineups:
USA: 1-Will Pulisic, 2-Matthew Olosunde , 4-Alexis Velela (19-Brandon Vazquez, 76), 5-Hugo Arellano (capt.), 18-Tyler Adams; 6-Eric Calvillo, 10-Christian Pulisic, 8-Luca de la Torre; (13-McKinze Gaines, 72), 20-Alejandro Zendejas, 11-Josh Perez 7-Haji Wright (9-Joe Gallardo, 69)
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Kevin Silva, 3-John Nelson, 14-Tanner Dieterich, 15- Danny Barbir, 16-Tommy McCabe, 17-Pierre Da Silva
Head coach: Richie Williams

JAM: 13-Jahmali Waite, 2-Javian Brown, 5-Jahwani Hinds (capt.), 17-Ajeanie Talbott , 6-Fabian Grant, 11-Zaire Bartley, 15-Deshane Beckford (19-Nathaniel Adamolekun, 46), 16-Jahlanie Hammond (14-Hakim Williams, 76), 9-Nicholas Nelson, 8-Tajea Brown (4-Shandel Senior, 83), 3-Donovan Dawkins
Substitutions Not Used: 1-Akeem Chambers, 7-Peter Vassell, 10-Alex Marshall, 12-Antoniel Mullings, 18-Chris-Andrew Dixon, 20-Demar James
Head coach: Andrew Edwards

Stats Summary: USA / JAM
Shots: 13 / 10
Shots on Goal: 3 / 3
Saves: 2 / 3
Corner Kicks: 7 / 4
Fouls: 7 / 14
Offside: 3 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
JAM – Fabian Grant (caution)                     44th minute
USA – Hugo Arellano (caution)                  56th
JAM – Nicholas Nelson (caution)               86th 

Officials:
Referee: Ricardo Montero (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Mora (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Miguel Paredes (MEX)
Fourth Official: Cesar Ramos (MEX)

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: TBA

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Richie Williams Names 20-Player Roster for 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship

CHICAGO (Feb. 24, 2015) – U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Richie Williams has named the 20-player roster that will represent the USA at the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship. The U.S. opens Group A play against Cuba on Friday, Feb. 27, at Estadio Francisco Morazan in San Pedro Sula, Honduras (FOX Sports 2, Univision Deportes).

“We’re very happy with the 20-man roster that we named, and we think it’s a strong and deep roster,” Williams said. “Obviously there were difficult decisions that needed to be made because we have a very good group, and we have a lot of players that have been here for a year and a half to two years that have really worked hard and developed. That made it difficult in terms of choosing that 20-man roster. It’s not easy when you have to tell players that they haven’t made it. But again, we feel this is a strong roster and it’s a group that’s ready to go and compete and win a championship.”

The USA is paired with Cuba, Guatemala, host side Honduras, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago in Group A at the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship. After the USA’s game against Cuba on Feb. 27, the U-17 MNT faces Trinidad & Tobago on March 2, followed by Guatemala (March 5), Honduras (March 8) and Jamaica (March 11).

U.S. U-17 MNT Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): William Pulisic (Richmond United), Kevin Silva (Players Development Academy)
DEFENDERS (7): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls Academy), Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy Academy), Daniel Barbir (West Bromwich Albion), Tanner Dieterich (Real Salt Lake AZ), John Nelson (Internationals), Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy), Alexis Velela (San Diego Surf)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal), Luca de la Torre (Fulham), Thomas McCabe (Players Development Academy), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Alejandro Zendejas (FC Dallas)
FORWARDS (6): Pierre da Silva (Orlando City Academy), McKinze Gaines (Lonestar SC), Joe Gallardo (Monterrey), Josh Perez (Unattached), Brandon Vazquez (Club Tijuana), Haji Wright (Unattached)

Four countries from the CONCACAF region will directly qualify from this tournament for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile. The Group A and B winners will clinch a berth for the World Cup and earn a spot in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship title match on March 15. The group’s second- and third-place teams will advance to a playoff stage. Those four teams will be seeded, with the No. 2 and 3 seeds playing in one playoff and the No. 1 and 4 seeds in the other playoff game, both taking place on March 15. The two playoff victors will earn the other two berths for the U-17 World Cup.

Additional Roster Notes:

  • Nineteen of the 20 players also have ties to the Development Academy.
  • Much of this U-17 MNT roster played a big role in the USA’s 17-7-3 international campaign in 2014.
  • The roster includes forward Haji Wright, the leading goal scorer last year with 18 goals in 22 matches. Midfielder Christian Pulisic, who officially joined German Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund earlier this month, is coming off a strong 2014 with the U-17s that included 17 goals and seven assists in international play. Both Wright and Pulisic were nominees for 2014 U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year.
  • The U-17s have had a successful cycle in international competition, including four tournament titles.
  • Most of this group was part of the 2013 Nike International Friendlies championship side and earned a runner-up finish in the 2014 Nike Friendlies.
  • Also in 2014, the USA defeated host Turkey to win the Aegean Cup title, followed by a championship crown at the Josip Katalinski International Tournament in Bosnia-Herzegovina and a title run at the Panama U-17 International Tournament in early October.
  • In preparation for qualifying, the U-17s have had four international matches this month. The U.S. split a two-game set against Panama on Feb. 2 and 4, then showcased a strong offensive display this past weekend with a 5-2 victory against Bermuda on Friday, Feb. 20, followed by a 4-0 win in the rematch two days later.
  • The USA has qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup on 14 occasions, more than any other CONCACAF team. The U-17 MNT’s absence from the 2013 World Cup was the only occurrence that the USA did not qualify for that stage.
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U-17 MNT Feb 24, 2015

Quote Sheet: Richie Williams Discusses Roster for U-17 Qualifying

2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship
Roster Quote Sheet
Feb. 24, 2015

U-17 MNT head coach RICHIE WILLIAMS
On the 20-man roster that was chosen for the CONCACAF U-17 Championship:
“We’re very happy with the 20-man roster that we named, and we think it’s a strong and deep roster. Obviously there were difficult decisions that needed to be made because we have a very good group, and we have a lot of players that have been here for a year and a half to two years that have really worked hard and developed. That made it difficult in terms of choosing that 20-man roster. It’s not easy when you have to tell players that they haven’t made it. But again, we feel this is a strong roster and it’s a group that’s ready to go and compete and win a championship.”

On the strengths of the team:
“We think we’re a solid team from the defense to the midfield to the attack. I think a lot of the headlines that we’ve gotten is for our ability to score goals and get forward. We have some talented players in the attack. But you’re not able to be successful and win and compete if you don’t have a good defense also. We have guys that have the ability to create opportunities and to score goals, but we also have a very good midfield that we feel is a good passing midfield and is active, aggressive. We feel we have a good defense and goalkeepers. Overall, I think it’s a well-rounded squad, and a squad that’s ready to go.”

On the current cycle in the lead-up to this tournament:
“The great thing that we have here with our cycle is that we have a Residency Program, so we’re able to bring in players on a full-time basis where we can train them every day, with matches on the weekend. And on top of that, we still have our trips that we go to domestically and internationally. Most of the players that are on this 20-man roster – other than two or three – have been here at Residency full-time. We feel that we’ve been able to develop them and train them at a high level.”

On how the team prepared for such a big tournament:
“Throughout the year and a half, two years, we were able to travel around the world to go to different competitions and play in different tournaments, even our own tournament here with the Nike Friendlies over the last couple years. So we feel that they’re prepared. They’ve had opportunities to play teams from all over the world in some very good international games. They’ve gained valuable experience. We’ve been in games where we’ve been up, winning games, where we’ve been losing, where it’s been a draw and they’ve had to find a way to get results. The part that I like about this team is that we’re able to play a good brand of soccer, be proactive, attack, defense also, and get results playing soccer the right way. It’s a competitive group, and again, they care about playing well but also winning.”

On the format of this year’s tournament compared to the previous one:
“I think it’s a better format. The last format was basically playing two games and having a third game that you just had a one-off game – and whoever won that, went. We obviously weren’t successful against Honduras (in 2013). Our goal is to take a one-game-at-a-time approach and play every game like it’s our last game and hopefully get positive results in group play. Our goal is to win the group and then compete in the final game to play for the CONCACAF Championship.”

On if the U-17s can take anything from the U-20 team’s experience in qualifying:
“I think so, yes. You look at the U-20s, the first game they played against Guatemala and it was a game where they pretty much dominated, had the opportunities, [but] were only able to get one goal. And then Guatemala scores that amazing goal in the 90th-plus minute. So it’s a good learning experience that if you have the opportunity to score a couple more goals, even if the other team does get a goal like that, you still can come away with the three points. And the game against Panama, a very good opponent, I thought the U.S. also played well in that game. It kind of went either way, and it was a one-goal difference, and that makes all the difference in the world in terms of winning the group then having to play in the one-off game in the sixth game. Our guys watched the games and they saw that, again, with qualifying it’s very competitive. And when you have opportunities, you have to take your opportunities; you have to be solid defensively; and you can’t take any team for granted. Again, you approach it one game at a time. I think it was a great experience for them to be able to watch the U-20s.”

On the team’s expectations and goals:
“It’s always for us to go out, play well. When you’re with a young age group like this throughout this two-year cycle, it’s not always just about winning – it’s about development also. But as they get toward the end of the cycle, competition is part of development. And now the results matter, where you have to get good results in order to qualify for the World Cup. Our goal is to go out and play well, compete and get good results, win our group and play for the championship of CONCACAF and then move on to the World Cup.”

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U-17 MNT Feb 24, 2015
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