A goal just before halftime would be enough for the U.S. Under-17 Men's National Team, which held on to defeat Turkey 1-0 on Friday at the Nike Friendlies.
FC Dallas Academy forward Ricardo Pepi scored the game's only goal. Finding a pocket of space at the top of the box during first half stoppage time, Pepi uncorked a low, curling shot that found the bottom corner and put the U.S. in front.
Prior to the goal, the U.S. defender Mason Judge cleared a Turkey shot off the line, preserving the 0-0 scoreline at the time.
With the lead in hand at halftime, the U.S. sought to take the initiative after the break. Spearheaded by the fleet footwork of midfielder Giovanni Reyna, who started as the No. 10, the U.S. looked for space but found little joy. An organized and tough Turkish defense proved to be difficult to break down, although the U.S. hit the post from a free kick routine that was sent in by Kobe Hernandez.
The introduction of Griffin Yow and Cameron Dunbar on each flank of Pepi shifted the second half in the favor of the United States. Each worked their way in behind the Turkey defense in different moments; a teasing cross from Yow in the 68th minute was spooned clear with Dunbar closing. In the 80th minute Dunbar nearly engineered the second but his cross was wide of the mark.
Pepi nearly sealed it in the 88th minute but his shot was cleared off the line. Turkey had one final chance in stoppage time from a 94th minute set piece, but the header was straight into the arm of U.S. goalkeeper Chituru Odunze.
The U.S. wraps up the 2018 Nike Friendlies on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. against Brazil, needing to win and for Portugal to lose or draw on Turkey in order to win the competition.
U.S. Lineup: Chituru Odunze; Joseph Scally, Mason Judge, Kobe Hernandez, Adam Armour; Peter Stroud, Tayvon Gray, Giovanni Reyna (Adam Saldana); Daniel Robles (Cameron Dunbar), Ricardo Pepi, Andre Luiz Costa (Griffin Yow)