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USA rolls into final of 2017 CONCACAF Champ

Article Written by J.R. Eskilson
Published: August 17, 2017

The U.S. U15 Boys National Team rolled to a 3-0 win over Panama in the 2017 CONCACAF U15 Championship semifinal on Thursday. New York City FC’s Giovanni Reyna got the party started in the fifth minute with a blast to the upper corner of the net. Julian Gaines and Gianluca Busio added a goal each to lead the USA to the victory. 

USA will face Mexico in the championship game on Sunday from Bradenton, Florida. The game is scheduled to kick off at 7 a.m. (PT), and will be shown live on Univision Deportes. 

The semifinal result was hardly in doubt from the opening whistle, as USA gained control of the game early and Panama did not have the organization or individual brilliance to threaten the U.S. defense. 

Reyna’s opening goal was the best pure strike of the day. The attacker battled through a few challenges from Panamanian defenders, but he did well to keep his balance and tried to his luck from just outside the 18-yard box. The shot screamed past the goalkeeper and into the upper corner of the net for the opening tally of the game. 

Reyna was a marked man after the goal with Panama’s left back fouling him whenever he touched the ball. The strategy worked for most of the first half as the U.S. failed to convert on a few set pieces in dangerous situations. However, Panama’s game plan hit a road bump when Reyna’s right side cohort Joseph Scally was taken down the referee awarded a yellow card for persistent infringement. 

With a hesitant defender in his eye sight, Reyna took full advantage of the left side of the Panama defense. He combined with Gilbert Fuentes to get behind the back line and serve in a cross that Julian Gaines tapped home to extend the lead to 2-0 right before half time. 

Reyna added another assist seconds into the second half when he combined with Scally down the right side and then delivered a cross that Gianluca Busio kicked over his head for the third goal of the game. Busio, the Sporting Kansas City standout, leads the team with five goals in four games during the tournament in Florida.

Panama blew a chance in the later stages of the second half on a scramble in the box, but the final shot was pushed wide. Damian Las record his third shutout in four games. 

USA will face their biggest challenge yet in the final, as Mexico rolled to a 3-0 win over Canada in the other semifinal on Thursday. 

Check out the TDS standouts from the U.S.’s 3-0 win in the CONCACAF Championship semifinal. 

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