US U17 WNT World Cup Run Comes to an End

US U17 WNT World Cup Run Comes to an End
by Travis Clark
October 21, 2022
Players featured in this article:
MF | Seattle Reign
Ella Emri |  2024
D | San Diego Surf
F | FC Barcelona
MF | NC Courage
MF | NC Courage
F | Charlotte SA
D | Angel City FC
F | Michigan Jaguars FC

The U.S. U17 WNT’s World Cup journey came to an end Friday morning, falling on penalty kicks against Nigeria.

The African side triumphed 4-3 in a shootout after a 1-1 draw over 90 minutes. A torrential downpour in Mumbai delayed kickoff for almost two hours, before the U.S. and Nigeria battled to the stalemate. Omamuzo Edafe converted a first-half penalty for Nigeria that was canceled out by a goal from Amalia Villarreal. Edafe also scored the decisive penalty kick in the shootout to knock out the United States

It was almost a dream start for the U.S. Ella Sanchez was able to get into a dangerous position before a minute had elapsed on the clock, though was unable to find the back of the net.

After the early U.S. forays forward, Nigeria took the lead. Ella Emri was harshly adjudged to have fouled a Nigerian attacker just inside the box after a lengthy VAR check. Omamuzo Edafe stepped up and converted the penalty in the 27th minute.

A quick answer was nearly in the grasp of the United States. Onyeka Gamero got down the right flank, and was able to get a cross into the penalty area. The ball fell to Lauren Martinho, but her shot was blocked out for a corner kick.

Down a goal, the U.S. ramped up the pressure. Martinho hit the post in the 35th minute from a scramble off a corner kick, as the U.S. dominated possession and territory.

That eventually paid off when Villarreal tied the game in the 40th minute. Gamero won the ball high up the field, and went on a run through the middle. The winger was able to attract defenders and slip in Villarreal, who made it 1-1 with a finish that deflected off a Nigerian defender.

Chances after the break were relatively limited for both sides. Villarreal nearly finished off a very impressive team move in the 61st minute, but couldn’t beat Nigerian goalkeeper Faith Omilana from a tight angle.

Tired legs and a soggy field hampered both teams attacking opportunities as the minutes ticked down. Nigeria clamped down defensively, offering scant opportunities while searching for a late winner. Gamero came extremely close with another dazzling run, but she couldn’t connect with a finish in the 84th minute. Charlotte Kohler was unable to get a free header on target in the 87th minute, while Gisele Thompson had a shot from range deflected just wide.

Nigeria’s defense held firm, setting the stage for penalty kicks. Edafe held her nerve in the fifth round of the shootout after Riley Jackson had her attempt saved by Chikamso Jiwuaku.

U.S. Lineup: Valentina Amaral; Savannah King (Emeri Adames), Ella Emri, Cameron Roller, Gisele Thompson; Riley Jackson, Lauren Martinho (Mia Bhuta), Ella Sanchez; Nicollette Kiorpes (Taylor Suarez), Amalia Villarreal (Melina Rebimbas), Onyeka Gamero

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