The U.S. U17 Men’s National lost to England 4-1 on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the 2017 U17 World Cup. Two early goals from England spelled doom for USA, but a flurry of activity later in the first half offered some encouragement. England put the game away early in the second half. Josh Sargent grabbed a consolation goal in the 72nd minute.
England jumped on USA from the opening whistle. Forward Rhian Brewster scored twice in three minutes and England held a 2-0 advantage within the first 15 minutes of the game. U.S.’s poor start came down to the group sitting too deep and letting England pass between the lines without much pressure.
USA also had trouble adjusting to playing without Chris Goslin in the lineup. Goslin has been a key piece for the team in India, but was forced to sit out this game after picking up his second yellow card of the event in the Round of 16 victory over Paraguay.
Without Goslin, the USA midfield did not have the same shape or bite on the tackle. The midfield also lacked a player who could cover ground and win the ball back quickly. England ran rampant in the opening minutes and Brewster had a couple of other chances he couldn’t covert in the opening 20 minutes.
USA took control of the game for the final 25 minutes of the first half. Andrew Carleton, Ayo Akinola, Tim Weah, and Blaine Ferri all tried to pepper England’s net from distance, but goalkeeper Curtis Anderson saved all of the shots on frame. The approach must’ve been in the scouting report for England, as USA had not relied on the shot from distance in previous games.
The best chance of the first half came from Josh Sargent. The forward was in the right spot to finish a corner kick delivered from Carleton, but his shot hit the crossbar. Taylor Booth also had a good chance later in the half when he made a long run forward that was picked out by James Sands. Anderson saved Booth’s shot, which was ripped at the near post.
USA finished the first half with the lead in possession and shots, but only managed to put two shots on frame from the 13 attempted.
England, without their best player Jadon Sancho who returned to his club Borussia Dortmund after the group stage games, dominated the start of the second half in the same manner as the first half. USA’s midfield could not gain possession of the ball and the English pressure kept the ball in the U.S. half for the first 20 minutes of the half. U.S. head coach John Hackworth elected to pull a defender in the 55th minute and try to get back into the game.
USA still struggled to get hold of the game with an extra body in the midfield, and England was rewarded for the pressure with another goal in the 64th minute. Morgan Gibbs White hit it home with a first touch finish to give the Three Lions a 3-0 lead.
USA finally got on the board in the 72nd minute when Sargent finished a rebound off a save from Anderson after Sergino Dest hit a low, hard shot that was parried into Sargent’s path. It was the seventh goal of the year for Sargent in Youth World Cups, which ties him with Freddy Adu for the U.S. record.
England added another goal in the final seconds of the game. Brewster was behind the U.S. defense before Dest tripped him in his attempt to recover. Brewster converted the shot from the spot to give England a 4-1 win on the final kick of the game.
USA did not generate many chances after Sargent’s goal, and exited the World Cup in the same round as the U20s early this year. England moves on to face the winner of Germany/Brazil in the semifinal on Wednesday.
With the Residency Program closing and head coach John Hackworth rumored as frontrunner for a position with MLS franchises, the future of the U.S. U17 Men’s National Team is bit unclear for the coming cycle, which will be players born in 2002. The first event for that team is traditionally scheduled for Dec. in Florida with the annual Nike International Friendlies.
U.S. U17 Men’s National Team XI: Justin Garces; Chris Gloster, James Sands, Chris Durkin, Akil Watts (Bryan Reynolds 81’); Taylor Booth (Sergino Dest 55’), Blaine Ferri (Indiana Vassilev 75’), Andrew Carleton; Ayo Akinola, Josh Sargent, Tim Weah