The U.S. kicked off play in the U17 World Cup today with a 3-0 victory over India at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.
The Americans were on top from the beginning, although the Young Yanks struggled to find a way through the tightly packed Indian defense until Josh Sargent drew a penalty in the 32nd minute.
Sargent, who recently committed to signing with Bundesliga side Werder Bremen when he turns 18 in February, shimmed past an Indian defender who reached out and grabbed him to give the U.S. a pk. Sargent coolly placed his shot in the bottom corner to break the deadlock.
India was happy to make it to the halftime break just down by one but the Americans came out strong to start the second half with Andrew Carleton particularly lively for the favorites.
The U.S. badly needed a second goal and it came off the left boot of Chris Durkin in the 51st minute off of a corner kick, helped by a deflection. Durkin, a midfielder for DC United, had a couple of rough moments playing in an unfamiliar center back role but the goal had to feel good.
The home team began coming into the match after Durkin’s goal and very nearly got on the board following a careless turnover by I.S. midfielder Blaine Ferri that eventually led to an India corner kick.
The corner was blasted off of the crossbar, a break the U.S. quickly turned into a blistering counter-attack. Sub George Acosta delivered a fine ball over the top for Carleton to run onto and the Atlanta United youngster finished in style to punish the hosts.
Ghana defeated Colombia 1-0 in the day’s other Group A match. The U.S. plays Ghana on Monday, with Colombia facing India. With goal difference an important tiebreaker, the expected top three teams in the group will be looking to beat up on the home team. Will the U.S. 3-0 win be enough?
GOALKEEPERS (3): Alex Budnik (Sockers FC; Arlington Heights, Ill.), Carlos Joaquim Dos Santos (S.L. Benfica; Philadelphia, Penn.), Justin Garces (Atlanta United FC; Miami, Fla.)
DEFENDERS (6): Sergiño Dest (Ajax; Almere-stad, Netherlands), Christopher Gloster (New York Red Bulls; Montclair, N.J.), Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting Kansas City; Charlotte, N.C.), James Sands (New York City FC; Rye, N.Y.), Tyler Shaver (New York City FC; Greenwich, Conn.), Akil Watts (Portland Timbers, Fort Wayne, Ind.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): George Acosta (North Carolina FC; Hollywood, Fla.), Taylor Booth (Real Salt Lake; Eden, Utah), Christopher Durkin (D.C. United; Glen Allen, Va.), Blaine Ferri (Solar Soccer Club; Southlake, Texas), Chris Goslin (Atlanta United FC; Locust Grove, Ga.), Indiana Vassilev (Unattached; Savannah, Ga.)
FORWARDS (6): Ayo Akinola (Toronto FC; Brampton Ont.), Andrew Carleton (Atlanta United FC; Powder Springs, Ga.), Jacobo Reyes (C.F. Monterrey; Houston, Texas), Bryan Reynolds (FC Dallas; Little Elm, Texas), Joshua Sargent (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri; O’Fallon, Mo.), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain F.C., Rosedale, N.Y.)