USMNT Wins U17 World Cup Opener

USMNT Wins U17 World Cup Opener
by U.S. Soccer
November 12, 2023
Players featured in this article:
GK | Colorado Rapids
F | Charlotte FC
MF | Austin FC
GK | Colorado Rapids
MF | Legion FC
GK | San Diego FC
MF | Crew Academy
Tyler Hall |  2024
D | Inter Miami CF
D | Seattle Sounders
Cruz Medina |  2024
F | San Jose
D | New England
D | Orlando City
MF | Feyenoord
Pedro Soma |  2024
MF | U.E. Cornella
MF | Phil. Union
D | San Jose

Fifteen-year-old forward Nimfasha Berchimas bagged a brace and midfielder Cruz Medina added another to boost the U.S. Under-17 Men’s Youth National Team to a 2-1 victory against Korea Republic in its opening match of the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Berchimas, the USA’s youngest player, opened the scoring in the seventh minute, becoming the youngest U.S. player since Freddy Adu in 2003 to score at this tournament. While Korea pulled one back in the 35th, Medina finished off the rebound of another Berchimas shot to put the U.S. ahead for good in the 49th minute and Berchimas bagged his brace in the 73rd to secure three points for the U.S. to start the tournament.

The victory puts the USA in strong standing in Group E after the opening matchday. Next up, the U.S. will take on Burkina Faso on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 4 a.m. ET (FS1, Universo). Les Etalons fell 3-0 to France in the first Group E match of the day. The top two teams in each of the six groups, as well as the four best third-place teams, advance to the knockout stage of the competition.

From the opening whistle, the game featured back-and-forth action. On Korea’s first foray forward in the fifth minute, forward Myeongjun Kim took a hard-hit shot that ricocheted off the post before it was swallowed up by U.S. goalkeeper Adam Beaudry.

The USA struck first two minutes later with an impressive finish from Berchimas. Korea defender Minwoo Kang deflected a cross into the box that fell to the Charlotte FC youngster, who drove a soaring shot home just under the crossbar.

The youngest player on the U.S. World Cup squad at just 15 years old, the Charlotte FC forward became the youngest to score at this tournament for the red, white and blue since Freddy Adu netted a hat trickc against Korea Republic in the USA’s Finland 2003 opener. Berchimas ranks as the U-17 MYNT’s fourth-youngest scorer ever at this competition.

Korea Republic responded with urgency after conceding early and Beaudry was called into action several times. The Colorado Rapids goalkeeper did well to hold the U.S. advantage during a difficult stretch of pressure, making a close-range save in the 16th and another in the 24th.

One of the Taegeuk Warriors’ most menacing chances came in the 33rd, as midfielder Minhyeok Yang sliced through several U.S. defenders before firing a shot from the top of the box that rattled off the top of the post. It served as a warning shot as Korea equalized two minutes later after a number of close calls were defused by Beaudry and the U.S. defense. While the Reds’ initial shot from the top of the box was saved, Kim pounced on the rebound and sent it to the back of the net.

The U.S. could breach the Korean goal for the rest of the first half, as a 25th-minute strike from David Vazquez was deflected by Korea goalkeeper Seongmin Hong and another dangerous look from Keyrol Figueroa in the sixth minute of stoppage time was also batted away.

The USA got the second half off to a strong start with Medina’s 49th-minute goal. After Berchimas drove into the box and had his shot saved, the San Jose Earthquakes midfielder was there for the rebound and ripped a leaping shot to the right post.

Medina nearly had a brace just a few minutes later. Vazquez whipped a cross into the box in the 54th minute and Medina struck an on-target shot that was deflected by Hong. The rebound fell achingly close to Medina, but the Korea defense did well to muscle him out of the way. Moments later, a quick transition for the Taegeuk Warriors saw Beaudry make another impressive save, diving to swallow up a ball from Yang driving down the left wing.

Berchimas put the game out of reach in the 73rd. Slicing into the box from the right wing, Korea tried to dispossess him but a bad touch left the ball at the top of the arc. There, he sent a hard-rolling shot to the left post for his second goal of the day, becoming the second youngest player to record a multi-goal game at the U-17 World Cup and fifth-ever to do so.

USA – Nimfasha Berchimas, 7th minute: After sparking a bit of early danger on the wing, the 15-year-old Berchimas opened the scoring for the U.S. Right back Aiden Harangi sent a hard-rolling cross into the box and Korea defender Minwoo Kang got a foot on it, but it fell to Berchimas near the penalty spot. The Charlotte FC forward hit a driving shot just under the crossbar for the game’s opening goal. USA 1, KOR 0

KOR – Myeongjun Kim, 37th minute: While the U.S. defense and goalkeeper Adam Beaudry did well to handle several waves of pressure from the Taegeuk Warriors, they broke through in the 37th. Midfielder Minhyeok Yang drove the ball forward down the left side before ripping a shot from the top of the box. Beaudry dove to his right to make the stop, but Kim pounced on the rebound to level the score. USA 1, KOR 1

USA – Cruz Medina, 49th minute: Making some space in the box, Berchimas took a shot from seven yards out that Korea goalkeeper Seongmin Hong deflected with his leg. The rebound fell to Medina just beyond the penalty spot, where he took a touch before ripping a bouncing shot to the right post to retake the lead. USA 2, KOR 1

USA – Nimfasha Berchimas, 73rd minute: Midfielder Pedro Soma played Berchimas on the run down the right wing. The 15-year-old cut into the top right corner of the box and made some shifty moves around the defense before a Korean player attempted to poke the ball out. It fell to Berchimas at the arc and he fell as he sent a shot to the left post to put the game on ice. USA 3, KOR


Match: United States Men’s Under-17 Men’s Youth National Team vs. Korea Republic

Date: Nov. 12, 2023

Competition: 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup – Group E

Venue: Jakarta International Stadium; Jakarta, Indonesia

Attendance: 4,317
Kickoff: 7 a.m. ET (7 p.m. local)

Weather: 82 degrees, partly cloudy

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F

KOR 1 0 1
USA 1 2 3

USA – Nimfasha Berchimas 7th minute
KOR – Meyongjun Kim 35

USA – Cruz Medina 49
USA – Nimfasha Berchimas 73


USA: 1-Adam Beaudry; 18-Aiden Harangi, 15-Noahkai Banks, 4-Tyler Hall (Capt.) (5-Stuart Hawkins 86), 2-Oscar Verhoeven; 8-Pedro Soma, 14-Taha Habroune, 10-Cruz Medina (19-Paulo Rudisill, 69); 7-Nimfasha Berchimas (20-Bryce Jamison 78), 17-Keyrol Figueroa (9-Micah Burton, 78), 11-David Vazquez (13-Peyton Miller, 69)

Substitutes not used: 21-Zackory Campagnolo, 3-Tahir Reid-Brown, 6-Matthew Corcoran, 16-Santi Morales
Not eligible: 12-Duran Ferree

Head coach: Gonzalo Segares

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