U.S. U17 MNT wins tourney in France

U.S. U17 MNT wins tourney in France
by J.R. Eskilson
March 28, 2016

The U.S. U17 Men’s National Team defeated France 3-2 on Monday in the final of the 44th International Tournament of Montaigu. This was the first championship for the U.S. at the tournament since 1992. 

With U17 MNT head coach John Hackworth assisting the U23 MNT during the Olympic Qualifying process, U16 Boys National Team head coach Shaun Tsakiris led the charge in France. Tsakiris led the group to the title of the eight-nation event. 

The USA earned draws against England 2-2 and Brazil 1-1 in group play, and then defeated Russia 4-0 in the final group game in order to qualify for the title game. In the championship tilt, the USA defeated France 3-2 after trailing 2-1 at half. 

Forward Tim Weah (PSG) scored the opening goal early in the game when he found himself with the ball inside of the 18-yard box after the goalkeeper had missed on punching away a service into the box. Yeah calmly tucked it away to give the USA the early lead. 

France responded with a pair of goals late in the first half. The France attack broke down the left side of the USA defense on the first goal with a quick combination that opened up the U.S. and led to an easy finish from six yards out. With only seconds left in the first half, France grabbed the lead when a winger sliced through the right side of the USA defense while no one stepped up to delay the dribbler. The shot from outside of the box skipped past Justin Garces and into the bottom of the net. 

Midfielder George Acosta stole the show in the second half and lifted the visitors to the title. Acosta punished the French goalkeeper for a pair of mistakes on the day. The goalkeeper misplayed two passes when the USA pressured the France side in the defensive third. Acosta’s first goal came in the opening moments of the first half as he picked off the clearance attempt and then calmly slotted his finish into the net. 

Acosta’s second goal was a brilliant chip from over 25 yards out that hit the upper corner of the net. Acosta finished the event with six goals from four games. Prior to Monday’s game, France had not conceded a goal at the tournament with wins over Norther Ireland (2-0), Peru (8-0), and Morocco (1-0) in group play.

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