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U-17 MNT Opens 2017 Nike Friendlies with Hard-Fought 1-0 Loss to England

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. (Nov. 29, 2017) – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team fell 1-0 to England in a hard-fought match to open the 2017 Men’s Nike International Friendlies at the Premier Sports Campus. The teams traded runs through the entire match, but the English broke through in the 79th minute of the 80-minute match, as Taylor Harwood-Bellis headed in a corner from Benjamin Knight for the game-winning goal.

The first half was a back-and-forth affair, as teams swapped opportunities on net. Both squads had trouble finding their way into the final third in the early going, patiently playing out of the back and feeling out their opponent. The USA found their first breakthrough in the seventh minute, when England misplayed a ball in the air and midfielder Gianluca Busio swooped in for a steal and a shot, but England goalkeeper Louie Moulden charged up to halt the attempt.

England’s first attempt came on a dangerous spell of possession in the 20th minute. With players posted around the box and making threatening runs, Fabio Carvalho took a shot only to have U.S. defender Axel Alejandre chip it away. Sam Greenwood skied the attempt off the rebound, and Cade Hagan finally cleared it out of danger.

Goalkeeper Damien Las turned in a star performance, making seven saves during the match. His first came on another dangerous attack, when Alexander Mighten took a few dribbles to the top of the box and launched a rocket to the left post. Las read it well and made a highlight-reel diving stop to thwart the shot.

He was called on again a few minutes later. After Busio received a caution, Benjamin Knight launched a free kick into the box, where a charging Harwood-Bellis nodded a well-placed header to the far bottom corner. Las again laid out and made a stellar save to keep the game scoreless going into the half, but the dangerous English free kick connection was a sign of things to come.

The teams continued to exchange runs into enemy territory after the break, with both sides penetrating more confidently. England gained the upper hand in possession, making a number of dangerous attempts on goal. After a few more stellar stops by Las and his back line, the Three Lions finally broke the tie with a well-placed header. Knight took a corner in the 79th minute, and Harwood-Bellis rose above the crowd in front of the goal to bounce the ball into the back of the net just before full time.

The U.S. will look to come back from the defeat when it faces Netherlands in its second match of the 2017 Men’s Nike International Friendlies on Friday, Dec. 1 at Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. The match kicks off at 7 p.m. ET and follows England taking on Brazil at 3:30 p.m. ET. Both games can be seen live on U.S. Soccer’s Facebook page, YouTube channel and ussoccer.com.

2017 Mens Nike International Friendlies Standings

Team

GP

W

L

D

Pts.

GF

GA

GD

Brazil

1

1

0

0

3

2

1

+1

England

1

1

0

0

3

1

0

+1

Netherlands

1

0

1

0

0

1

2

-1

USA

1

0

1

0

0

0

1

-1

Goal Scoring Rundown:

ENG – Taylor Harwood-Bellis (Benjamin Knight), 79th minute: After a stellar stop by Las and defender Mason Judge, England earned a corner kick. Knight took a few well-placed free kicks over the course of the match, and he again lined up for the crucial late attempt. He launched a ball into the collection of players at the six-yard box, where Harwood-Bellis rose up and headed it to the bottom corner. Las made a diving attempt, but found himself just out-of-place as the ball bounced under his outstretched arms into the back of the net. USA 0, ENG 1 FINAL

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:

ENG – Louie Moulden, 7th minute: Moulden faced his first real challenge of the evening in the seventh minute. The English were poised to intercept a goal kick from Las, but misplayed the ball in the air. Busio swooped in to steal the ball away, put on the pace, and attempted a shot, but Moulden came out to meet him, halting the USA’s early opportunity.

USA – Axel Alejandre and Cade Hagan, 20th minute: On England’s first initial foray into the U.S. final third, several players were lurking around the box, looking to draw first blood. Carvalho made a dangerous run towards the goal, but Alejandre poked the ball away. Greenwood was right there to pounce on the rebound, but skied his chance upwards before Hagan was able to head it out of the area. 

USA – Damian Las, 28th minute: With England’s possession taking root in the U.S. half, Carvalho played a ball to Alexander Mighten at the top of the box. He took a few dribbles to place the ball and launched a screamer to the left post. Las played the ball perfectly, diving to deny the opportunity and turn the ball around the left post for a corner kick.

USA – Damian Las, 37th minute: England earned a free kick in the U.S. half after a foul outside the area and Knight hit a ball beautifully into box, where defender Harwood-Bellis made a late run behind the scrum of leaping bodies. He hit a perfectly-placed header towards the far bottom corner, but Las once again dove to make an exceptional stop at the right post.

USA – Damian Las and Mason Judge, 69th minute: On the move into the U.S. half, Mighten played a dangerous ball into Greenwood in the box. He took a few dribbles, faked Las off-balance and launched a shot off of the right post. Cole Palmer was right there for the rebound, immediately sending in another attempt, but Judge was quick to nod the ball off the line at the right post.

- 2017 Mens Nike International Friendlies Match Report -

Match: U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. England
Date: Nov. 29, 2017
Competition: 2017 Men’s Nike International Friendlies
Venue: Premier Sports Campus Stadium Field
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Attendance: 1,126
Weather70 degrees

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

ENG – Taylor Harwood-Bellis (Yunus Musah)          79th minute

Lineups:
USA: 1-Damien Las; 2-Joseph Scally (13-Sebastian Anderson, 74), 4-Mason Judge, 5-Axel Alejandre, 3-George Bello (capt.); 8-Adam Saldana, 6-Peter Stroud 16-Joshua Atencio,74), 10-Gianluca Busio; 7-Gilbert Fuentes Perez (18-Ray Serrano, 63), 9-Alfonso Ocampo Chavez, 11-Cade Hagan (17-Dante Sealey, 51)
Substitutes not used: 12-Kashope Oladapo, , 14-Kenneth Nielsen 15-Maximillian Goeggel, 19-Diego Lopez, 20-Julian Gaines
Head coach: John Hackworth

ENG: 1-Louie Moulden; 3-Josh Brooking (6-Samson Robinson, 62), 5-Taylor Harwood-Bellis, 2-Dynel Simeu (capt.), 8-Matt Bondswell (4-Jeriel Dorsett, 78), 12-Teddy Hoare (11-Yunus Musah, 15), 14-Fabio Carvalho, 10-Joe Hodge; 15-Benjamin Knight, 20-Sam Greenwood (19-Benjamin Braithwaite, 74) , 17-Alexander Mighten
Substitutes not used: 13-Flynn Talley, 7-Valentino Livramento, 9-Oliver Pendlebury, 16-Cole Palmer, 18-Jeremy Sarmiento,
Head coach: Neil Dewsnip

Stats Summary: USA / ENG
Shots: 5 / 11
Shots on Goal: 3 / 9
Saves: 7 / 3
Corner Kicks: 2 / 9
Fouls: 13 / 11
Offside: 1 / 4

Misconduct Summary:
USA – George Bello (caution) 16th minute
USA – Gianluca Busio (caution)         36
ENG – Matt Bondswell (caution)        44
USA – Joseph Scally (caution)           49
USA - Axel Alejandre (caution 53

Officials
Referee: Resendo Mendoza (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Jeremy Kieso (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Thomas Felice (USA)
Fourth Official: Guido Gonzales, Jr. (USA)

Note: Match was played in two 40-minute halves

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U-17 MNT Nov 29, 2017

- 2017 Mens Nike International Friendlies Match Report -

Match: U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. England
Date: Nov. 29, 2017
Competition: 2017 Men’s Nike International Friendlies
Venue: Premier Sports Campus Stadium Field
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Attendance: 1,126
Weather70 degrees

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

ENG – Taylor Harwood-Bellis (Yunus Musah)          79th minute

Lineups:
USA: 1-Damien Las; 2-Joseph Scally (13-Sebastian Anderson, 74), 4-Mason Judge, 5-Axel Alejandre, 3-George Bello (capt.); 8-Adam Saldana, 6-Peter Stroud 16-Joshua Atencio,74), 10-Gianluca Busio; 7-Gilbert Fuentes Perez (18-Ray Serrano, 63), 9-Alfonso Ocampo Chavez, 11-Cade Hagan (17-Dante Sealey, 51)
Substitutes not used: 12-Kashope Oladapo, , 14-Kenneth Nielsen 15-Maximillian Goeggel, 19-Diego Lopez, 20-Julian Gaines 
Head coachJohn Hackworth

ENG: 1-Louie Moulden; 3-Josh Brooking (6-Samson Robinson, 62), 5-Taylor Harwood-Bellis, 2-Dynel Simeu (capt.), 8-MattBondswell (4-Jeriel Dorsett, 78), 12-Teddy Hoare (11-Yunus Musah, 15), 14-Fabio Carvalho, 10-Joe Hodge; 15-Benjamin Knight, 20-Sam Greenwood (19-Benjamin Braithwaite, 74) , 17-Alexander Mighten
Substitutes not used: 13-Flynn Talley, 7-Valentino Livramento, 9-Oliver Pendlebury, 16-Cole Palmer, 18-Jeremy Sarmiento,
Head coachNeil Dewsnip

Stats Summary: USA / ENG
Shots: 5 / 11
Shots on Goal: 3 / 9
Saves: 7 / 3
Corner Kicks: 2 / 9
Fouls: 13 / 11
Offside: 1 / 4

Misconduct Summary:
USA – George Bello (caution) 16th minute
USA – Gianluca Busio (caution)         36
ENG – Matt Bondswell (caution)        44
USA – Joseph Scally (caution)           49 
USA - Axel Alejandre (caution 53

Officials
Referee: Resendo Mendoza (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Jeremy Kieso (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Thomas Felice (USA)
Fourth Official: Guido Gonzales, Jr. (USA)

NoteMatch was played in two 40-minute halves

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Opportunities Abound for Rising Referees at Nike Friendlies and Academy Winter Showcase

It’s been a busy year for U.S. Soccer referee Jeremy Kieso.

As a part of MLS All-Star Game festivities, he officiated the MLS Homegrown game that saw some of the league’s top young prospects take on Chivas de Guadalajara’s U-20 squad. Two months ago, he crossed off a long-term goal in refereeing his first MLS game: a late-season showdown between LA Galaxy and Minnesota United FC. Now, he’s officiating his first full-international matches at the 2017 Men’s Nike International Friendlies.

“It’s one of those selections you are always hoping for.” Kieso said. “It’s humbling. The higher you go, the faster the game is the stronger the players are, the smarter the players are. You have to use all aspects of your referee abilities.

While the Friendlies highlight a week of action in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., the Premier Sports Campus’ other 22 fields are hosting 228 games of the Development Academy Winter Showcase, bringing together 76 clubs that make up the nation’s highest level of youth soccer. It’s also a hotbed for some of the nation’s top referees, and it’s the environment that brought Kieso to the level he’s reached today.

“Being part of the Development Academy Showcase events is huge for me,” Kieso said. “It gives you the experience to work with other officials and work higher-level matches with teams from around the country.”

Top U.S. Soccer referees from around the country are gathered in Lakewood Ranch to further their own development. At Academy Showcase events, they are assessed by some of the country’s highest-level referees. U.S. Soccer referee Guido Gonzales is officiating this year’s Nike Friendlies after rising through the referee ranks at Academy events.

“It’s the highest level of youth soccer,” Gonzales said. “These are big tests. These are players that are on the road to professional programs. We have to perform at that level as well. That’s the next step for them, and it’s the next step for us as referees.”

At a past Summer Showcase, Gonzales had the opportunity to get feedback on his game from U.S. Soccer referee Mark Geiger, the first-ever U.S. referee to officiate a knockout match at a World Cup. The lessons learned at Showcases are invaluable.

“When we’re not on the soccer field, we’re in our groups debriefing with national-level educators,” Gonzales said. “We’re taking in as much feedback as we can. These guys are the experienced people out here, breaking down our game in bits and pieces. Not many people see the kind of evaluation we go through. We spend as much time as we can in the classroom.”

While Kieso and Gonzales have used Academy events to rise to their current level, U.S. Soccer referee Alyssa Pennington is now earning her stripes in the Academy, rising through the ranks and soaking in every bit of the experience. This year’s Winter Showcase is her third Academy event, but each one is a special opportunity for her on-field development.

“To come to this event is a great opportunity, you feel like you’ve accomplished something really great when you’re accepted,” Pennington said. “I decided to apply to referee here to learn more, enhance my understanding of the game and get more experience at a higher level.”

In 2018, Pennington wants to earn her grade five referee certification, which would make her eligible for selection as a national referee. Kieso’s goal is to become regular in overseeing Major League Soccer matches and Gonzales strives to continue his improvement. The referee development pathway never truly ends, as officials continue to work to be the best they can be.

“You always want to get into a tougher game,” Gonzales said. “I have a lot of points where I need to improve. Next year’s goal is to hash out the wrinkles that I had this season. It is a competition. I’m up against the best referees in the country, trying to fight through the battles of performing.”

 

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