USA Advances to U17 Concacaf Championship

USA Advances to U17 Concacaf Championship
by Travis Clark
February 24, 2023
Players featured in this article:
GK | Colorado Rapids
MF | Austin FC
Adrian Gill |  2024
MF | FC Barcelona
Cruz Medina |  2024
F | San Jose
MF | San Jose
MF | Feyenoord
Pedro Soma |  2024
MF | U.E. Cornella
MF | Dynamo
MF | Phil. Union
D | San Jose

Even with a spot in the Under-17 World Cup already locked up, there was still plenty to play for between the United States and Canada on Friday.

Tussling in the semifinals of the Concacaf Championship, the matchup may not have carried with it the stakes of tournament qualification. But a spot in Sunday’s final against Mexico was the prize of the encounter in Guatemala City.

Goals from Micah Burton and Keyrol Figueroa secured a 2-0 win for the USA. Burton scored a beautiful free kick goal in the 36th minute that looked to provide the difference, while Figueroa added a second with the last kick of the game.

After facing host side Guatemala in a packed stadium on Tuesday, it was a much different feel for the U.S. with the stadium nearly empty. That offered a sharp contrast, and with Canada entering the match with a day less to rest and prepare, it was a tentative start to the match for both sides.

High pressure from the USA nearly led to goals in the first 20 minutes. Christopher Aquino lashed a shot wide after forcing a turnover high up the field, one of the best chances of the opening stretch.

The goal would come from a set piece. Burton lined up a free kick from just about 30 yards outside the Canadian net. It was just close enough to offer a shooting chance, and far enough away to potentially just serve the ball into the box. The Austin FC Academy attacker opted for the former, drilling a perfect shot into the upper corner to put the U.S. in front.

Towards the hour mark, the U.S. came close to doubling the lead. Both came from crosses on the right side that found the head of Paulo Rudisill. In both cases, he didn’t manage to direct either with the kind of venom and accuracy to find the back of the chance.

Burton nearly had a second goal in the 72nd minute. Played into space after a Canadian turnover, he fired a shot just wide of the far post. Keyrol Figueroa had a chance to put the game way in stoppage time, but his shot was blocked out for a corner.

Despite pressure from Canada the U.S. held on – and Figueroa would get his seventh goal of the tournament. It started with the Liverpool forward getting into space down the right side. His cross was popped into the air by David Vazquez away from the goal. But the Union midfielder chased down the Canadian defender, turning back into space. He found an onside Figueroa wide open in front of goal to seal the win.

U.S. Lineup: Adam Beaudry; Aiden Harangi, Tyler Hall, Sturt Hawkins, Oscar Verhoeven; Edwyn Mendoza (Pedro Soma), Adrian Gill, Paulo Rudisill (David Vazquez); Christopher Aquino (Cruz Medina), Micah Burton (Keyrol Figueroa), Ezekiel Soto (Brian Romero)

Related Topics: Youth National Teams
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