Another brace from Josh Sargent led the dominant Americans to a 3-0 win over Honduras today bring the U.S. one big step closer to qualifying for the U17 World Cup this October in India.
Up next for the unbeaten and untied Americans (4-0-0) is Cuba, beaten 7-1 by Honduras on Monday. Needing just a win, tie or a loss by four or fewer goals versus Cuba on Friday the Young Yanks have all but punched their ticket to the 2017 U17 World Cup this October in India.
Honduras elected to sit back and try and frustrate John Hackworth’s U.S. side Wednesday evening and it worked to an extent, limiting the Americans to a 1-0 halftime lead. The lead should have been more but the U.S. struggled to find a way through the thicket of Honduran defenders packed into the 18-yard box, finally capitalizing when the Los Catrachos defense somehow lost sight of Sargent five yards from goal on a free kick leading to the lone score of the opening stanza.
Trailing by a goal Honduras opened things up just a bit in an attempt to equalize but paid the price when first Ayo Akinola and then Sargent found space behind its defense to wrap up the game.
The two second half goals were strikingly similar with Blaine Ferri’s lob finding Sargent while George Acosta’s delicate chip was tracked down by Akinola. The goal scores did the rest and for those keeping track at home Sargent now leads Akinola 5 goals to four for the team lead.
Locked in a battle for midfield playing time with the more robust Chris Goslin, Acosta began the match on the sideline as Hackworth elected to go with Goslin versus the physical Hondurans and Acosta was only on the pitch a short time before connecting with Akinola.
Given that the top two teams in each of the two Classification groups advance to the World Cup things appear to be all but settled in favor of the U.S. and Honduras in Classification Group D but remain a bit tighter in Group E where Costa Rica topped hosts Panama 2-1 in Monday’s opener.
Panama needed a win over Mexico in Wednesday’s late game to have any chance of seeing India this autumn with the group wrapping up play Friday when Mexico and Costa Rica square off.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 2 3
HON 0 0 0
USA – Josh Sargent (Andrew Carleton) 26th minute
USA – Ayo Akinola (Blaine Ferri) 69
USA – Josh Sargent (George Acosta) 82
USA: 1-Justin Garces; 2-Jaylin Lindsey, 4-James Sands, 5-A.J. Vasquez, 3-Chris Gloster; 6-Chris Durkin (16-Taylor Booth, 87), 14-Chris Goslin (10-George Acosta, 69), 8-Blaine Ferri; 7-Ayo Akinola, 9-Josh Sargent (Capt.), 11-Andrew Carleton (19-Tim Weah, 83)
Subs not used: 12-C.J. Dos Santos, 13-Akil Watts, 15-Zyen Jones, 17-Bryan Reynolds, 18-Indiana Vassilev, 20-Adrian Villegas
Head coach: John Hackworth
HON: 1-Carlos Banegas; 3-Axel Gomez, 4-Cristian Moreira (Capt.), 5-Alexander Bahr, 15-Emilio Campos; 6-David Cardona, 7-Gerson Chavez, 11-Luis Palma, 20-Cristian Madrid; 9-Patrick Palacios (19-Kenneth Martinez, 90), 14-Carlos Mejia
Subs not used: 12-Jordy Castro, 2-Osbed Perez, 8-Everson Lopez, 10-Joshua Canales, 13-Gustavo Vallecillo, 16-Bayron Varela, 17-Cristian Contreras, 18-Santiago Cabrera
Head coach: Jose Francisco Valladares
Stats Summary: USA / HON
Shots: 18 / 6
Shots on Goal: 7 / 4
Saves: 4 / 3
Corner Kicks: 3 / 0
Fouls: 13 / 10
Offside: 6 / 0
USA – Chris Goslin (caution) 6th minute
HON – Carlos Banegas (caution) 24
HON – Patrick Palacios (caution) 84