It wasn’t easy, but the U.S. MNT is going to the U17 World Cup in Chile after beating Jamaica on penalty kicks Sunday night in Honduras. After 90 goalless minutes, it was on to overtime, where neither side was able to find the net, sending the game to penalty kicks with the final CONCACAF World Cup berth at stake.
The pressure was squarely on the shoulders of the Young Yanks, who seemed all set to cruise into a place in Chile after winning its first two games. But, as always seems to be the case for the U.S. in the male youth ranks, trouble was lurking.
Lurking in the form of a late goal against Honduras that forced the U.S. to settle for a 2-2 tie, preventing the team from claiming one of four CONCACAF spots in this autumn’s U17 Mundial.
Up next was Jamaica, but behind an inspirational performance from goalkeeper Jahmali Waite, the junior Reggae Boyz topped the Americans 1-0, setting up this knockout match with the World Cup in the balance.
The U.S. were unable to beat Waite again, but Will Pulisic kept a clean sheet for the U.S., and so it was on to overtime, and then penalty kicks.
After U.S. super prospect Christian Pulisic missed the first kick, the next four U.S. kickers hit the target. Jamaica matched the U.S., converting four of five pk’s, and it was it was on to sudden death.
Alex Velela cooly fired past Waite, before Jamaica’s Alex Marshall blasted his shot wide of the U.S., net sending the American players into rapturous celebrations.
Canada fell 3-0 as Costa Rica claimed CONCACAF’s third World Cup spot, with the U.S claiming the fourth and final berth. Mexico beat Honduras 3-0 to claim the CONCACAF title, although the two nations had already qualified for Chile as Group winners.
24 nations will travel to Chile to compete for the U17 World Cup title, running from October 17 through November 8.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
JAM 0 0 0
USA – Christian Pulisic (saved), Joe Gallardo (goal), Danny Barbir (goal), Alejandro Zendejas (goal), John Nelson (goal), Alexis Velela (goal)
JAM – Nicholas Nelson (goal), Jahwani Hinds (missed), Jahlanie Hammond (goal), Shandel Senior (goal), Ajeanie Talbott (goal), Alex Marshall (missed)
USA: 1-Will Pulisic, 2-Matthew Olosunde, 4-Alexis Velela, 15-Danny Barbir, 3-John Nelson; 18-Tyler Adams, Alejandro Zendejas (Capt.), 10-Christian Pulisic, 7-Haji Wright, 9-Joe Gallardo, 11-Josh Perez (8-Luca de la Torre, 81)
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Kevin Silva, 6-Eric Calvillo, 13-McKinze Gaines, 14-Tanner Dieterich, 16-Tommy McCabe, 17-Pierre Da Silva, 19-Brandon Vazquez
Head coach: Richie Williams
JAM: 13-Jahmali Waite, 2-Javian Brown, 4-Shandel Senior (Capt.), 5-Jahwani Hinds, 6-Fabian Grant, 7-Peter Vassell (3-Donovan Dawkins, 59), 8-Tajea Brown (16-Jahlanie Hammond, 88), 9-Nicholas Nelson, 11-Zaire Bartley (10-Alex Marshall, 46), 17-Ajeanie Talbott, 19-Nathaniel Adamolekun
Substitutions Not Used: 1-Akeem Chambers, 12-Antoniel Mullings, 14-Hakim Williams, 15-Deshane Beckford, 18-Chris-Andrew Dixon, 20-Demar James
Head coach: Andrew Edwards
Stats Summary: USA / JAM
Shots: 17 / 4
Shots on Goal: 8 / 1
Saves: 1 / 8
Corner Kicks: 9 / 1
Fouls: 10 / 9
Offside: 1 / 0
USA – Haji Wright (caution) 70th minute
USA – Alexis Velela (caution) 83
JAM – Tajea Brown (caution) 88