Another day, another crushing disappointment for the United States men’s soccer program. Tonight in Chile it was the turn of the U17 side as a 1-0 U.S. lead became a 4-1 loss to the home nation eliminating the U.S. from the U17 World Cup in group play, sending the youngsters home with a record of two losses and one draw.
It is yet another failure for a program that appears to be in some sort of an intergenerational free fall, with this U17 team joining the the senior side and the U23 team in failing to meet expectations, expectations that may have to be adjusted going forward given this series of dreadful results.
The Young Yanks came into tonight’s match needing a win over the home team to keep hopes of advancing alive, and early on the visitors acquitted themselves well.
The Americans took the lead 10 minutes in with a tenacious Brandon Vasquez finishing well from a good Luca de la Torre set up after a sustained period of U.S. pressure.
But after blowing a 2-0 lead against Croatia and settling for a 2-2 tie, the U.S. were again unable to handle prosperity.
When it comes to evaluating youth teams it is always wise not to get too carried away with results, while remembering that development is the primary goal, but under Williams this age group failed to reach the 2013 World Cup and tonight has gone out without a win in the group stage.
This was a highly touted group of players led by Christian Pulisic, Haji Wright, Joe Gallardo and Danny Barbir. Williams mystified observers when he left the well regarded West Brom prospect Barbir on the bench in the opener versus defending World U17 Champions Nigeria in favor of late arrival Auston Trusty.
Trusty had a nightmare against the Super Eagles, ending his night early with a red card as Nigeria crushed the Yanks to a far greater degree than the scoreline would suggest.
The Americans caught a bad break on Chile’s equalizer when a deflection beat Will Pulisic in the 20th minute. The most disappointing thing about that goal though was that it had seemed inevitable, with Chile earning the lion’s share of chances after the U.S went ahead.
As in the Croatia match the Americans ceded possession after taking the lead, and once again the U.S. paid the price. In a rare misstep, Will Pulisic should have held onto the through ball that led to the 52nd minute goal, but the referee missed what looked like a clear hand ball from the goalscorer.
Trailing 2-1 Williams rolled the dice and paid the price conceding two late goals to end this U17 World Cup in dispiriting fashion.
Seen in isolation this tournament would go down as a disappointment, but given the totality of failure in the U.S. MNT program beginning with the Gold Cup this summer and continuing to this result, it will unfortunately be seen in a much harsher light.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
CHI 1 3 4
USA – Brandon Vazquez (Luca de la Torre) 10th minute
CHI – Marcelo Allende 20
CHI – Gabriel Mazuela ( Yerko Leiva) 52
CHI – Gonzalo Jara 86
CHI – Camillo Moya 93
USA: 1-Will Pulisic; 18-Tyler Adams, 15-Danny Barbir (9-Joe Gallardo, 61), 5-Hugo Arellano (capt.), 3-John Nelson (7-Haji Wright, 76); 6-Eric Calvillo, 8-Luca de la Torre (11-Josh Perez, 69), 14-Tanner Dieterich; 20-Alejandro Zendejas, 19-Brandon Vazquez, 10-Christian Pulisic
Subs Not Used : 2-Matthew Olosunde, 4-Auston Trusty, 12-Kevin Silva, 13-Alexis Velela, 16-Tommy McCabe, 17-Pierre da Silva, 21-Eric Lopez
Head Coach: Richie Williams
CHI: 21-Zacarias Lopez; 2-Simon Ramirez, 3-Fabian Monilla, 4-Manuel Reyes (14-Luciano Diaz, 46), 6-Ignacio Saavedra (5-Diego Gonzalez, 71), 8-Yerko Leiva, 9-Gabreil Mazuela, 10-Marcelo Allende (capt.), 13-Camilo Moya, 15-Rene Melendez, 16-Brian Leiva (7-Gonzalo Jara, 67)
Subs Not Used: 1-Lusi Ureta, 11-Mathisa Pinto, 12-Ignacio Azua, 17-Diego Soto, 18-Walter Ponce,19-Luis Salas, 20-Juan Jose Soriano
Head Coach: Miguel Ponce
Stats Summary: USA / CHI
Shots: 9 / 19
Shots on Goal: 5 / 8
Saves: 4 / 4
Corner Kicks: 9 / 4
Offside: 0 / 1
Fouls: 13 / 17
CHI – Fabian Monilla (caution) 33rd minute
CHI – Rene Melendez (caution) 34
USA – Brandon Vazquez (caution) 54
USA – Joe Gallardo (caution) 74