Published: December 1, 2011
It took a final-second goal you could call flukey, and a performance I would call top-heavy, but the U.S. U17 Men’s National Team pulled off a 2-2 tie with France on Wednesday at the Nike International Friendlies in Sarasota, Fla.
And you have to call that an accomplishment.
U17 MNT in France (Sean Baird)
Here are five observations from the match:
U.S. U17 MNT Lineup
- Flair for the dramatics: U17 coach Wilmer Cabrera made a point that he believes culturally the U.S. plays better with its back against the wall and isn’t as strong as a front-runner. He just might be onto something. There’s certainly enough evidence from the senior team to support his thinking, and this particular match played out like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Americans go up 1-0, their quality slips and they’re down 2-1, but they get a goal in the final seconds of extra time to steal the tie – Wesley Wade got a friendly bounce in the box off a throw-in and drilled the equalizer.
- The U.S. was great for the opening 30 minutes … but things kind of went downhill from there. Maybe the U17s were anxious to avenge their 3-0 beat down from France at last month’s Val-de-Marne Tournament in Paris because they brought some serious heat early. They pressured great, and were ambitious if not overaggressive at times. By the time DeAndre Robinson netted the opening goal in the 25th minute, things tapered off and by the second half the U.S. looked a little slow and unimaginative. France seized control of the majority of the match, if not the final result.
- A moment vs. a match: Tyler Turner and DeAndre Robinson served as the perfect example of how one critical play can inaccurately paint a picture of a player’s overall performance. Robinson made a thrilling opening score, but truthfully didn’t have a great match – he looked a little anxious, whiffing on an early cross and playing too quickly. Turner, on the other hand, was great in the backline. He saved at least one goal with a clear in the box and made great challenges all night. Unfortunately, most viewers will likely remember his own-goal in the 76th minute when he deflected a free kick past teammate goalkeeper Paul Christensen.
- Herber Mejia Flores was the man: The little central midfielder controlled the attack for his squad, consistently setting the table for teammates. He was quick to the ball and made great decisions. Although he might want a couple of his late chances back, he played an exceptional match overall.
- Not to be forgotten … Outside back Shaquell Moore played really well. He was quick to join the attack and played with some personality. Turner and Wade were not far behind with performances that helped sustain the unit.