The U.S. U17 MNT wrapped up group play on Monday at the 2019 U17 Concacaf Championship with a perfect record. Three wins from three games means the U.S. tops Group F heading into the business end of World Cup qualifying.
After a poor start in the opening game against Canada – the U.S. fell behind 2-0 on two goals conceded in two minutes facing a team that rested some of its best players – head coach Raphael Wicky’s side have gone the next two and a half games outscoring the opposition by a 12-1 mark.
That’s a bit flattering perhaps, as the U.S. has looked slow with possession, relying on set piece creativity to earn an advantage. It’s worth noting that the opposition hasn’t been stellar, though the U17s can only play what’s in front of them.
Now, Wicky and his charges know what lies ahead. On Thursday, May 9, they’ll take on Guadeloupe in the Round of 16. Win that, and the winner of Panama-Guatemala awaits with a spot in the World Cup on the line. Given the format of the tournament, improving is crucial, as any tie games in the knockout stages head straight to penalty kicks.
Here’s a few things learned from the first three group games.