Dull Start to MLS Playoffs
Dull Start to MLS Playoffs avatar

Major League Soccer kicked off its conference semifinal round Sunday night with a Cascadia snoozer as the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Seattle Sounders played to a 0-0 draw.

MLS kicked off it semifinal rounds on Sunday. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Featuring just a single shot on goal, the fewest ever in an MLS playoff game, this match gave the 27,837 fans little to cheer about, although it set the stage nicely for a winner take all showdown Wednesday in Seattle.

The game also inspired calls for a format change, eliminating the two-game aggregate for single elimination, or doing away with the away goals rule.

The former has been in the air in recent days while the latter is seemingly always up for review. Vancouver will be happy with the away goals rule this morning, knowing that if they manage to put one past Stefan Frei on Wednesday they can make life very difficult on the home team.

The league will be hoping for better in the three remaining Conference Semifinal first legs, starting tonight in Harrison, New Jersey with the New York Red Bulls hosting Toronto FC (7:00 pm), while Portland visits Houston in the nightcap. (9:30 pm)

Columbus is at home versus New York City FC on Tuesday night (8:00 pm) in the last of the quartet.

Here is a quick look at each series.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs Seattle Sounders:

Seattle is the defending MLS Cup Champion, having beaten Toronto in Toronto on penalty kicks last year. Clint Dempsey was missing last night due to a suspension, which surely contributed to the Sounders dull effort last night. Jordan Morris is out with an injury and that also slowed the Sounders attack.

Seattle missed Morris from their attack.  (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Still, headed home to play in front of their passionate fans I see the defending champions rising to the occasion and moving on at the Whitecaps expense.

Houston Dynamo vs Portland Timbers:

Home is where the heart is for the Houston Dynamo, the team with the most dramatic home/away splits in MLS this season. The Dynamo have compiled a fantastic record of 12 wins, 1 Loss, and 4 ties at the BBVA Compass Stadium against a dreadful 1-9-7 road mark.

Wilmer Cabrera has not been shy of changing his starting line-up. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

The Timbers topped the West with 53 points, beating Seattle on tiebreakers, with Houston third on 52 points. With so little between the sides look for the Dynamo to edge it tonight with the Timbers emerging after the two-game set.

New York Red Bulls vs Toronto FC:

Toronto responded to the disappointment of losing the MLS Cup on penalty kicks last year by putting together the best season in league history. Led by stars Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley, and Jozy Altidore, TFC knows that the Supporters Shield and the points record means nothing if they don’t raise the MLS Cup on Saturday, December 9th in front of their home crowd at BMO Field.

Jesse Marsch is prioritizing the playoffs. (ISI Photos/Howard C Smith)

The Red Bulls have been there, twice winning the Shield only to fall short in the playoffs. This season Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch admitted that he was prioritizing the playoffs over the regular season, resulting in a sixth-place finish for New York after a very uneven campaign.

What does it all mean? Well, the Red Bulls are not your average sixth-place side, they certainly won’t be confused with the San Jose Earthquakes. But Toronto is the cream of the crop. Clearly the best team in Major League Soccer, TFC should get past this hurdle and the next and I fully expect Greg Vanney’s team to become the first Canadian club to hoist the MLS Cup in early December.

New York City FC vs Columbus Crew:

Crew Fans(ISI Photos/Perry McIntyre)

Columbus owner Anthony Precourt’s threat to take MLS originals from Columbus to Austin, Texas has galvanized support for the Crew from fans from all around the league making Columbus every neutral’s favorite.

Having said that it will be fascinating to see how many Columbus fans turn out on Halloween night when the Crew host NYCFC in the first leg of the Conference Semifinals.

Are the fans too embittered to show up, or will fans come out in numbers to #SavetheCrew?

As for the games, these are two teams that like to get after it. Two good attacking units, two good goalkeepers but I think NYC’s defense has improved enough to see them into the next round.

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GotSoccer to Live Stream Candidates Forum for USSF Presidential Election
GotSoccer to Live Stream Candidates Forum for USSF Presidential Election avatar

When the shrill bleat of the referee’s final whistle blew on October 10th at Trinidad and Tobago’s Ato Boldon Stadium the U.S. was out of the World Cup for the first time since 1986. Coach Bruce Arena would soon be out too when he resigned and with Arena out of the way all eyes turned to U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, the man who hired both Arena and his highly paid predecessor Jurgen Klinsmann.

GotSoccer will be hosting a live candidates forum.(ISI Photos/Howard C Smith)

With his third term in charge of U.S. Soccer due to expire in February, challengers had already emerged to Gulati’s leadership. For the first time the Columbia University economics professor would face a contested election.

Even before that dismal night in Trinidad and Tobago both Steve Gans and Paul Lapointe had thrown their hats into the ring.

Former U.S. striker Eric Wynalda followed soon after and others are mulling challenges of their own.

So, what do these men, so far there are no announced women candidates, see as the problems facing U.S. Soccer and what would they do to fix those issues?

GotSoccer would like to know too, and so on Saturday, November 11th all the candidates who have indicated they intend to contest the presidency of the United States Soccer Federation have been invited to a two hour Candidates Forum to be held at the 10th annual GotSoccer/GotPro Winter Convention in Atlantic Beach, Florida.

Steven Gans, Paul Lapointe, and Eric Wynalda have accepted the challenge. We are waiting to hear from other candidates.

To better inform the interested public the U.S. Soccer Presidential debate will be live-streamed.

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GotSoccer to Live Stream U.S. Soccer Presidential Candidates’ Forum
GotSoccer to Live Stream U.S. Soccer Presidential Candidates’ Forum avatar

When the shrill bleat of the referee’s final whistle blew on October 10th at Trinidad and Tobago’s Ato Boldon Stadium the U.S. was out of the World Cup for the first time since 1986. Coach Bruce Arena would soon be out too when he resigned and with Arena out of the way all eyes turned to U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, the man who hired both Arena and his highly paid predecessor Jurgen Klinsmann.

GotSoccer will be hosting a live candidates forum.(ISI Photos/Howard C Smith)

With his third term in charge of U.S. Soccer due to expire in February, challengers had already emerged to Gulati’s leadership. For the first time the Columbia University economics professor would face a contested election.

Even before that dismal night in Trinidad and Tobago both Steve Gans and Paul Lapointe had thrown their hats into the ring.

Former U.S. striker Eric Wynalda followed soon after and others are mulling challenges of their own.

So, what do these men, so far there are no announced women candidates, see as the problems facing U.S. Soccer and what would they do to fix those issues?

GotSoccer would like to know too, and so on Saturday, November 11th all the candidates who have indicated they intend to contest the presidency of the United States Soccer Federation have been invited to a two hour Candidates Forum to be held at the 10th annual GotSoccer/GotPro Winter Convention in Atlantic Beach, Florida.

Steven Gans, Paul Lapointe, and Eric Wynalda have accepted the challenge. We are waiting to hear from other candidates.

To better inform the interested public the U.S. Soccer Presidential debate will be live-streamed.

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USWNT Crush South Korea
USWNT Crush South Korea avatar

For the second time in four days, the U.S. Women’s National team dominated South Korea, following Thursday’s 3-1 victory in New Orleans by defeating the same opponent 6-0 in Cary, North Carolina on Sunday afternoon.

Once Sam Mewis opened the scoring in the third minute the game became the proverbial Sunday stroll for the home team, as the U.S. sprinted out to a 4-0 first-half lead.

Mewis scored a brace in the 6-0 win. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Mewis added the second goal in the 20th minute, Christen Press finished from an Alex Morgan assist in the 35th and Julie Ertz continued her spectacular goalscoring form when she made it four for the Yanks in first-half stoppage time.

Lynn Williams and Allie Long piled on second-half scores to set the final scoreline at 6-0 in a match that was as easy as the score implied.

The USWNT ups the ante in its final two games of 2017 when it faces Canada home and away. Matches against Canada often belie the “friendly neighbors to the north’ stereotypes and this two-game set figures to end the year on a much more competitive note for Jill Ellis and her side.

November 9, 2017 – 7 PM PT
WNT vs Canada BC Place; Vancouver, Canada

November 12, 2017 – 6 PM PT
WNT vs Canada Avaya Stadium; San Jose, Calif.

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 4 2 6
KOR 0 0 0

USA – Samantha Mewis (Abby Dahlkemper) 3rd minute
USA – Samantha Mewis 20
USA – Christen Press (Alex Morgan) 35
USA – Julie Ertz (Lindsey Horan) 45 +1
USA – Lynn Williams (Megan Rapinoe) 61
USA – Allie Long (Lindsey Horan) 83

USA: 24-Ashlyn Harris (18-Jane Campbell, 46); 11-Sofia Huerta, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (25-McCall Zerboni, 46), 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 14-Casey Short (10-Carli Lloyd, 64); 8-Julie Ertz, 9-Lindsey Horan, 3-Samantha Mewis (20-Allie Long, 46); 12-Lynn Williams, 13-Alex Morgan (19-Crystal Dunn, 46), 23-Christen Press (15-Megan Rapinoe, 46)
Subs not used: 5-Kelley O’Hara
Head coach: Jill Ellis

KOR: 1- KANG Gaae (21-KIM Minjung, 68); 8-CHO Sohyun (capt.), 19-KIM Hyeyeong (12-YOO Younga, 63), 6-PARK Chorong (2-LEE Eunmi, 46), 17-JANG Seulgi; 13-JI Sunmi, 22-HAN Chaerin (18-SON Hwayeon, 52), 9-JEON Gaeul (14-MOON Mira, 56), 7-LEE Mina, 23-JANG Chang (15-LEE Sodam, 46); 11-LEE Geummin
Subs not used: 20-KIM Hyeri, 3-SHIN Damyeong, 4-SEO Hyunsook; 10-JI Soyun, 16-CHOE Yuri
Head coach: YOON Dukyeo

Stats Summary: USA / KOR
Shots: 18 / 9
Shots on Goal: 10 / 3
Saves: 2 / 3
Corner Kicks: 10 / 2
Fouls: 14 / 16
Offside: 4 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Lynn Williams (caution) 68th minute

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England Knock Young Yanks out of U17 World Cup
England Knock Young Yanks out of U17 World Cup avatar

U.S. U17 World Cup hopes came to a disappointing end Saturday in Goa, India with a comprehensive 4-1 loss to England.

The English had qualified for this quarterfinal showdown via penalty kicks versus Japan, in a less than stellar performance that had some predicting that this U.S. side would match the famous Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley led crew that reached the semifinals of the 1999 event, the best the Americans have finished at this tournament.

John Hackworth’s young team were beaten by a very clinical England. (ISI Photos/Craig Mitchelldyer)

But those hopes were dashed when England’s talented young striker Rhian Brewster put the Americans on the ropes with goals in the 11th and 14th minutes before knocking the Young Yanks to the canvas with a goal from the penalty spot in stoppage time.

Morgan Gibbs-White had added a third goal by then to put England up 3-0 in the 64th minute, apparently ending the match as a contest. But the U.S. would fight back with a period of dominant play, as they had after Brewster’s second tally.

The Americans had been unable to narrow England’s lead with that good first half spell, coming closest when Josh Sargent’s shot hit the crossbar. A goal there would have halved the score with plenty of time left but the woodwork intervened.

This second positive American stretch did yield a goal, with Sargent finishing a Sergino Dest cross from close range with an English defender down on the ground.

Sargent’s goal came in the 72nd minute and made the score 3-1 to England, so time was of the essence for the U.S. With no other choice the Americans pushed forward at every opportunity, leaving themselves vulnerable to the talented English attack. At one point the U.S. found itself pinned back by a series of corner kicks, desperate to get the ball out of its own goal area.

In the end, Dest conceded the late penalty to a rampaging Brewster, earning a red card and sealing his team’s fate.

But in this gloomy time for the United States men’s soccer program, there were some promising performances from U.S. players, with James Sands, Andrew Carleton, and Timothy Weah standing out at times.

Chris Durkin was probably the most consistent and best U.S. player, even while forced into playing central defense, rather than his preferred midfield.

And Josh Sargent had his moments, even if the soon to be Werder Bremen man never quite reached the heights he had when dominating earlier this year at the U20 World Cup.

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
ENG 2 2 4

ENG – Rhian Brewster 11th minute
ENG – Rhian Brewster (Philip Foden) 14
ENG – Morgan Gibbs-White (Rhian Brewster) 64
USA – Josh Sargent 72
ENG – Rhian Brewseter (penalty kick) 90+5

USA: 1-Justin Garces; 14-Akil Watts (17-Bryan Reynolds, 81), 6-Chris Durkin, 4-James Sands, 3-Chris Gloster; 11-Andrew Carleton, 8-Blaine Ferri (18-Indiana Vassilev, 73), 16-Taylor Booth (13-Sergino Dest, 55); 7-Ayo Akinola, 9-Josh Sargent (Capt.), 10-Tim Weah
Subs Not Used: 2-Jaylin Lindsey, 5-Tyler Shaver, 12-CJ Dos Santos, 15-George Acosta, 19-Jacobo Reyes, 21-Alex Budnik
Unavailable: 20-Chris Goslin
Head Coach: John Hackworth

ENG: 1-Curtis Anderson; 4-George McEachran, 5-Marc Guéhi, 6-Jonathan Panzo, 7-Philip Foden (12-Nya Kirby, 85), 8-Tashan Oakley-Boothe, 9-Rhian Brewster, 14-Callum Hudson-Odoi (16-Daniel Loader, 90+1), 15-Joel Latibeaudiere (Capt.), 18-Steve Sessegnon, 19-Morgan Gibbs-White (20-Conor Gallagher, 78)
Subs Not Used: 13-Josef Bursik, 21-William Crellin, 2-Tim Eyoma, 3-Lewis Gibson, 10-Angel Gomes, 17-Emile Smith-Rowe
Head Coach: Steve Cooper

Stats Summary: USA/ENG
Shots: 20/20
Shots on Goal: 4/12
Saves: 8/3
Corner Kicks: 8/10
Fouls: 19/7
Offside: 0/1

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Taylor Booth (caution) 35th minute
ENG – Conor Gallagher (caution) 78
USA – Sergino Dest (sent off) 90+5

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Ertz and Morgan Lead the Way as USWNT Top South Korea
Ertz and Morgan Lead the Way as USWNT Top South Korea avatar

The USWNT defeated South Korea Thursday night in New Orleans 3-1 after jumping out to a two goal lead on goals from the team’s two hottest players.

Julie Ertz celebrates scoring with there teammates. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Defensive midfielder Julie Ertz notched her fourth goal in five games when she launched herself headlong at Megan Rapinoe’s corner kick, nutmegging Korean keeper Kang Gaae with her diving header.

It was a brilliant goal from the effervescent Ertz, who took another step forward in her quest to nail down the d-mid spot. The goal came after South Korea had come close to opening the scoring only to be repelled by some good last ditch defending by Kelly O’Hara, among others.

The second U.S. goal came in the 40th minute and it extended Morgan’s consecutive scoring streak to four games.It was a fine finish from Morgan, who was well set up by O’Hara, Mal Pugh and Sam Mewis.

Morgan was once again on the scoresheet. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Pugh limped off not long after, helped off the pitch after grabbing her hamstring. The Yanks looked set to runaway with the match until debutante Han Chaerin blasted home a brilliant effort from just outside the 18 yard box five minutes into first half stoppage time.

The U.S. came out buzzing after the break with Rapinoe winning a penalty kick in the 52nd minute. Pinoe stepped up to the spot and put the ball in the back of the net to set the home team up for the win.

These same two sides meet again in Cary, North Carolina on Oct. 22 (2 p.m. ET; ESPN) at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park.

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 1 3
KOR 1 0 1

USA – Julie Ertz (Megan Rapinoe) 24th minute
USA – Alex Morgan (Kelley O’Hara) 40
KOR – HAN Chaerin 45 +5
USA – Megan Rapinoe (penalty kick) 52

USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 5-Kelley O’Hara, 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (capt.), 14-Casey Short (11-Sofia Huerta, 63); 8-Julie Ertz, 6-Andi Sullivan (9-Lindsey Horan, 46), 3-Samantha Mewis (10-Carli Lloyd, 77); 2-Mallory Pugh (12-Lynn Williams, 45 +1), 13-Alex Morgan (23-Christen Press, 63), 15-Megan Rapinoe (19-Crystal Dunn, 63)
Subs not used: 24-Ashlyn Harris
Head coach: Jill Ellis

KOR: 1- KANG Gaae; 3-SHIN Damyeong (13-JI Sunmi, 45 +3), 17-JANG Seulgi; 6-PARK Chorong (2-LEE Eunmi, 83), 7-LEE Mina (15-LEE Sodam, 46), 8-CHO Sohyun (capt.), 16-CHOE Yuri (9-JEON Gaeul, 46), 19-KIM Hyeyeong (23-JANG Chang, 52), 22-HAN Chaerin; 10-JI Soyun, 12-YOO Younga (18-SON Hwayeon, 63)
Subs not used: 21-KIM Minjung; 20-KIM Hyeri, 4-SEO Hyunsook; 14-MOON Mira, 14-MOON Mira; 11-LEE Geummin
Head coach: YOON Dukyeo

Stats Summary: USA / KOR
Shots: 21 / 5
Shots on Goal: 11 / 1
Saves: 0 / 8
Corner Kicks: 5 / 0
Fouls: 6 / 14
Offside: 1 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
KOR – HAN Chaerin (Caution) 61st minute
KOR – PARK Chorong (Caution) 74

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U.S. Women Back in Action
U.S. Women Back in Action avatar

With all of the U.S. Soccer world still reeling from the shock of the U.S Men’s National Team missing out on the World Cup for the first time since 1986, the World Champion women’s side return to the field Thursday night for the first of a pair of friendlies against South Korea.

Ellis will be looking for a convincing performance from her team.(ISI Photos/Brad Smoth)

The women’s squad has been going through something of a rough patch of its own, although obviously not on the scale of their male counterparts, as coach Jill Ellis uses a lull in the competitive schedule to retool her team.

Ellis will want to see continued progress after an impressive two-game sweep of New Zealand last month when the Americans played the role of rude hosts in beating the Football Ferns by an 8-1 aggregate score.

It was the best the USWNT has looked in some time and Ellis may have found some of the answers she has been looking for in 2017, although as always, we must always caution, it is a long way to France 2019.

Those answers? Julie Ertz in a central midfield role. I would call it a defensive midfield role but I would hate to discourage the former Julie Johnson from her goal-scoring habit.

And if the U.S. did have a meaningful match to play in the near future Ellis would be wise to team Ertz with Sam Mewis and Lindsey Horan in the midfield.

Ellis also seems to have determined her back four, with Becky Sauerbrunn and Abby Dahlkemper in the middle flanked by Kelley O’Hara on the right and with Casey Short leading the pack on the left flank.

Morgan has looked back to her old self. (ISI Photos/Jamie Schwaberow)

Alex Morgan also appears to be finally healthy and in form at the same time, but, hey, it’s early.

Back to the men for a second. If the next USMNT manager, short term or long, is in need of advice when it comes to coaching a team that has no meaningful games on the horizon, he – I’m willing to bet – should call Ellis. Or Pia Sundhage, or maybe Tom Sermanni.

These coaches have experience that could be of value to managers who seldom find themselves with such a barren run of fixtures in the men’s game.

October 19, 2017 – 7 PM CT
WNT vs Korea Republic
Mercedes-Benz Superdome; New Orleans, La.

October 22, 2017 – 2 PM ET
WNT vs Korea Republic
Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.

November 9, 2017 – 7 PM PT
WNT vs Canada
BC Place; Vancouver, Canada

November 12, 2017 – 6 PM PT
WNT vs Canada Avaya Stadium; San Jose, Calif.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 1/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 13/0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 20/0)

DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 9/0), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 53/11), Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars; 1/0), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC; 101/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City; 131/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 15/0)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 39/4), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash; 242/97), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC; 31/5), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 30/5), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 125/33), Andi Sullivan (Stanford; 4/0)

FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC; 55/22), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 130/77), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars; 92/43), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 28/6), Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 11/3)

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Hat Trick Hero Weah Helps Lead U.S. to U17 World Cup Quarters
Hat Trick Hero Weah Helps Lead U.S. to U17 World Cup Quarters avatar

While the immediate future is a barren wasteland for the United States Men’s National Soccer Team a group of 16 and 17-year-olds is offering hope that better times are not too far over the horizon.

Tim Weah scored a hattrick for the young American side.

Led by a hat-trick from Tim Weah and a virtuoso display by Andrew “Carleton the Creator” Carleton, the Americans crushed a highly regarded Paraguay side that had been a perfect 3-0-0 by a 5-0 score to advance to the quarterfinal of the U17 World Cup in India.

With so much discussion of developing talent in the wake of the USMNT failure to qualify for the World Cup coach John Hackworth rightly told his young charges that more eyes than usual would be focused on their efforts.

Having won their first two group stage matches to advance to the Round of 16, when the Young Yanks lost 3-1 to Colombia on Thursday, it was it was easy to presume that the team felt some extra pressure.

That loss cost the U.S. a chance at winning its group, with the Americans slipping to third place after beginning the day in first. It turned out not to matter a whole lot once Weah began filling the net but the final scoreline is a little deceiving, given that Paraguay had the U.S on its heels for much of the first half.

The U.S. broke the deadlock with a wonderful team goal in the 19th minute when Weah, the son of former FIFA World Player of the Year George Weah, put a first time effort past Diego Huesca on a three touch sequence initiated with a defense-splitting pass from Carlton to Ayo Akinola, who teed up Weah with a one-touch pass.

Strong defensive play led by Chris Durkin and James Sands, and some good goalkeeping by Justin Garces allowed a relieved U.S. team escape the half with a 1-0 lead but the game would change on a thunderstrike from Weah in the 53rd minute.

Weah took an innocuous-looking pass from substitute Indiana Vassilev at the top of the box and unleashed a powerful shot to beat Huesca all ends up.

That goal inspired the Americans and seemed to plant some doubt in the Paraguayan players. With Carleton freed from the isolation on the wing that had limited him in the group games the Atlanta United prospect was clearly relishing pulling the strings of the U.S. attack.

Carleton added a third U.S. goal and then turned creator when he set up Josh Sargent and then Weah for the final scores of the game.

There was some bad news for the Americans as Ayo Akinola and Blaine Ferri both went off the field injured and with Durkin picking up a yellow card suspension for Saturday’s quarterfinal match.

The U.S. will play the winner of Tuesday’s match between England and Japan at Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 21 in Goa (10:30 a.m. ET; FS2, Telemundo).

Match: U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. Paraguay
Date: Oct. 16, 2017
Competition: FIFA U-17 World Cup – Round of 16
Venue: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium; New Dehli, India
Kickoff: 10:30 a.m. ET (8 p.m. local)
Attendance: 34,895
Weather: 83 degrees; haze

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 4 5
PAR 0 0 0

USA – Tim Weah (Ayo Akinola) 19th minute
USA – Tim Weah (Indiana Vassilev) 53
USA – Andrew Carleton (Josh Sargent) 63
USA – Josh Sargent (Andrew Carleton) 75
USA – Tim Weah (Andrew Carleton) 77

USA: 1-Justin Garces, 4-James Sands, 6-Chris Durkin, 7-Ayo Akinola (16-Taylor Booth, 79), 8-Blaine Ferri (18-Indiana Vassilev, 34), 9-Josh Sargent (Capt.), 10-Tim Weah, 11-Andrew Carleton, 13-Sergino Dest (3-Chris Gloster, 46), 14-Akil Watts, 20-Chris Goslin
Subs Not Used: 2-Jaylin Lindsey, 5-Tyler Shaver, 12-CJ Dos Santos, 15-George Acosta, 17-Bryan Reynolds, 19-Jacobo Reyes, 21-Alex Budnik
Head Coach: John Hackworth

PAR: 1-Diego Huesca, 2-Jesus Rolon, 3-Roberto Fernandez, 5-Alexis Duarte (Capt.), 6-Braian Ojeda, 7-Antonio Galeano (9-Fernando Romero, 30), 10-Julio Baez (20-Giovanni Bogado, 78), 11-Leonardo Sanchez, 13-Marcelo Rolon, 17-Fernando Cardozo (18-Blas Armoa, 55), 21-Alan Rodriguez
Subs Not Used: 4-Pedro Alvarez, 8-Stevens Gomez, 12-Angel Roa, 14-Victor Villasanti, 15-Luis Zarate, 16-Anibal Vega, 19-Jonathan Martinez
Head Coach: Gustavo Morinigo

Stats Summary: USA/PAR
Shots: 9/11
Shots on Goal: 6/1
Saves: 1/1
Corner Kicks: 0/4
Fouls: 12/14
Offside: 0/0

Misconduct Summary:
USA – James Sands (Caution) 14th minute
USA – Chris Goslin (Caution) 27
USA – Josh Sargent (Caution) 65

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Arena Out- Gulati Stays
Arena Out- Gulati Stays avatar

The first shoe dropped today when Bruce Arena stepped down as coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team in the wake of Tuesday’s shocking World Cup elimination.

With news of Arena’s resignation still swirling, U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati addressed the U.S. Soccer media via phone press conference call and quickly made it known that he would not be following his hand-picked coach out the door, despite taking responsibility for the team’s failure.

Gulati was less forthcoming regarding his plans to run, or not, for another term as President of U.S. Soccer, although in citing the “totality” of his tenure and the three-way U.S. Mexico, and Canada bid for the 2026 World Cup, the Columbia economics professor sounded like a man with unfinished business.

Galati after the Trinidad defeat. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

“I can understand the frustration with people, sure,” Gulati answered when GotSoccer asked if, given that Gulati had hired both Jurgen Klinsmann and his replacement Bruce Arena, the two men who led U.S. Soccer to its lowest moment, why many would prefer that someone else be charged with selecting the next USMNT coach?

Gulati told the press that he and his colleagues would be evaluating all aspects of the U.S. soccer system, mentioning perennial hot topics, pay for play, and involving inner-city youth and Hispanic players, saying that “we need to go deeper” and “find the right solutions.”

Gulati said that the USMNT will play two scheduled friendlies in November and that a “short-term” coach will be appointed in seven to 10 days,” with a full-time hire tabled for the moment.

Rumors had circulated that Tab Ramos would take the role on an interim basis but Gulati said that “I don’t think there is a definite profile” for Arena’s successor.

Many believe that Gulati should take responsibility for the U.S. failure to qualify. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Finally a statement from Bruce Arena, the first – best American soccer coach.

It is the greatest privilege for any coach to manage their country’s National Team, and as I leave that role today, I am honored and grateful to have had that opportunity twice in my career.

When I took the job last November, I knew there was a great challenge ahead, probably more than most people could appreciate. Everyone involved in the program gave everything they had for the last 11 months and, in the end, we came up short. No excuses. We didn’t get the job done, and I accept responsibility.

This certainly is a major setback for the senior Men’s National Team program, and questions rightly should be asked about how we can improve. No doubt this process already has started and will continue so that U.S. Soccer can progress. Having said that, it also is important to recognize the tremendous growth and accomplishments we have achieved over the past two decades in all areas, including player development, coaching education and a stable domestic professional league. This work is ongoing and despite the result in Trinidad, the sport is on the right path. By working together, I am confident soccer in this country will continue to grow in the years and decades ahead.

Obviously the biggest disappointment is for our fans. As a person involved in the sport for more than 40 years, to see how support for soccer in the United States has grown is incredibly gratifying. I believe I speak for everyone involved in the game in thanking all of you for your passion and commitment, and I hope you maintain your steadfast support of U.S. Soccer.

Arena departure was inevitable. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

While this is a difficult time, I maintain a fierce belief that we are heading in the right direction. I believe in the American player and the American coach, and with our combined efforts the future remains bright. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I can say this from the bottom of my heart: from the high of reaching the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup to the low of a few days ago; I have appreciated every minute of being a part of this program.

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U17’s Stumble but Still Advance
U17’s Stumble but Still Advance avatar

With the realization that the USMNT will miss out on next summers World Cup in Russia sinking in American soccer fans desperate for some hope to hang onto tuned in this morning to watch their youngsters compete in the U17 World Cup from India only to see the Young Yanks fall to a 3-1 defeat to Colombia.

Of course, it is unfair to blame the prospects for the sins of their elders and this morning’s match from India was not of the do or die variety. No, the Americans had already secured a place in the knockout rounds thanks to victories over India, 3-0, and Ghana, 1-0, in the first two matches of group play.

George Acosta scored for the U.S. (ISI Photos/Craig Mitchelldyer)

Those results combined with Ghana’s 4-0 victory over the host nation landed the Americans in a third-place qualifier position when winning the group had seemed a far likelier option when the day’s action kicked off.

Still, the American soccer world remains reeling after the colossal failure of the senior squad to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986 and a good performance by the 17’s today would have been a welcome tonic for the beleaguered masses that care about the fate of the beautiful game in the United States.

That hoped-for release was not to be found with ominous signs appearing early for the U.S. when a simple long throw froze U.S goalkeeper Justin Garces and most of the U.S. defense, allowing Juan Vidal to capitalize and give Colombia a quick lead just minutes in.

The Americans responded well to that shock, equalizing through George Acosta in the 24th minute. The stylish midfielder latched onto a seeing-eye pass through the Colombian defense from Andrew Carleton to level the game at 1-1, a score that would hold to the halftime whistle.

Then the second half began and the Americans promptly retreated into a shell. Playing to secure a place in the knockout rounds Colombia came out aggressively with the Young Yanks unable to match that intensity.

Colombia’s goal in the 67th minute from a tightly angled free-kick off the boot of Juan Penaloza had a whiff of inevitability to it, although it did seem to wake the Americans up.

Colombia would add goal number three in the 87th minute and despite about eight minutes of stoppage time, the U.S. could not get the goal it needed to stay out of third place.

The Americans will have to wait for other results to see where they head next in the U17 World Cup.

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
COL 1 2 3

COL – Juan Vidal 3rd minute
USA – George Acosta (Andrew Carleton) 24
COL – Juan Penaloza (free kick) 67
COL – Deiber Caicedo (Juan Penaloza) 87

USA: 1-Justin Garces, 2-Jaylin Lindsey, 3-Chris Gloster, 4-James Sands, 6-Chris Durkin, 7-Ayo Akinola, 9-Josh Sargent (Capt.), 11-Andrew Carleton (19-Jacobo Reyes, 69), 13-Sergino Dest, 15-George Acosta (8-Blaine Ferri, 78), 20-Chris Goslin (10-Tim Weah, 87)
Subs Not Used: 5-Tyler Shaver, 12-CJ Dos Santos, 14-Akil Watts, 16-Taylor Booth, 17-Bryan Reynolds, 18-Indiana Vassilev, 21-Alex Budnik
Head Coach: John Hackworth

COL: 2-Andres Cifuentes, 3-Guillermo Tegue, 5-Thomas Gutierrez (Capt.), 6-Andres Perea, 7-Leandro Campaz (13-Robert Mejia, 46), 10-Brayan Gomez (14-Yadir Meneses, 56), 11-Juan Penaloza, 12-Kevin Mier, 17-Deiber Caicedo, 19-Juan Vidal, 20-Etilso Martinez
Subs Not Used: 1-Nicolas Gomez, 4-Christian Andrade, 8-Luis Lopez, 9-Santiago Barrero, 15-Gustavo Carvajal, 16-Fabian Angel, 18-Deyman Cortes, 21-Daniel Melo
Head Coach: Orlando Restrepo

Stats Summary: USA/COL
Shots: 8/10
Shots on Goal: 3/6
Saves: 3/2
Corner Kicks: 5/5
Fouls: 8/16
Offside: 2/1

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U.S. Miss World Cup in Stunning Loss to T&T
U.S. Miss World Cup in Stunning Loss to T&T avatar

When the soccer or, if you prefer football, world gathers for the World Cup next year in Russia the United States will not be a participant for the first time since 1986.

The U.S. went into this game knowing what the had to do. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

The USMNT knew that a draw versus Trinidad and Tobago would more than likely be enough to punch a ticket to Russia, instead the Americans dropped a stunning 2-1 decision to T&T, the last place team in the six-team group fighting for its place in the Mundial.

With Panama beating Costa Rica 2-1 to finish third in the Hex and Mexico falling to Honduras by a 3-2 score the Americans landed in fifth place, missing out on even the fourth place playoff against Australia that went to Honduras.

In contrast to a fast start Friday night in Orlando versus Panama the U.S. was sluggish when the whistle blew Tuesday night at T&T’s Ato Bolden Stadium.

The Soca Warriors came into this match with one win and eight losses in nine games in the Hex, the final round of World Cup Qualifiers, with nothing to play for but also nothing to lose.

For their part, the Americans began the match as if mired in the muck of the heavy pitch, much in the news since U.S. tweeted pictures of the “moat” ringing the pitch at yesterday’s practice session.

Gonzalez scored a very costly own goal. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Disaster struck for the favorites in the 17th minute when Omar Gonzalez mishit his attempted clearance on a T&T cross, with the ball spinning off of his leg, over Tim Howard’s head, and into the U.S. goal.

It was a stunning blow for the Americans and it nearly got worse less than a minute later, although the U.S. got a break when Gonzalez got away with a trip that could well have resulted in a penalty for the home team.

With Geoff Cameron sitting on the bench, Arena’s loyalty to Gonzalez, his former player with the L.A. Galaxy, will be a major talking point in the World Cup postmortems, given the Pachuca man’s desultory performances coming into this final match of the Hex.

Trinidad and Tobago’s second goal was perhaps a bigger shock than the first, coming as it did on a blast from fullback Alvin Jones, younger brother of Seattle Sounders star Joevin.

With no pressure coming from Jorge Villafana, or Darlington Nagbe, Jones unleashed a blast from close to 40 yards and well out on the wing. His knuckling effort headed for the top corner of Tim Howard’s net and the U.S. netminder was unable to get to it.

Jones’ effort was something of a wonder strike but the Colorado keeper may endure some sleepless nights wondering how he could be beaten from such a distance.

It was a dour group of U.S players that trooped off of the field at the half but whatever Bruce Arena said at the break seemed to resonate, with the Americans coming out strong and halving the deficit less than two minutes after play resumed.

Pulisic has been a real star for the U.S. but will have to wait at least another 4 years for his World Cup debut. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Darlington Nagbe made a determined run before shuttling the ball to Christian Pulisic and the young U.S. star did the rest, hammering his shot to the net and raising hopes of a U.S. comeback.

The Americans pressed T&T for most of the second stanza with halftime substitute Clint Dempsey coming agonizing close to the equalizer when his skipping shot from distance eluded the keeper only clatter off of the upright.

The U.S. grew desperate as the clock ticked down but unlike in 1989 there would be no Paul Caligiuri “Shot Heard Round the World.” All those years ago the American defender ended a 40 year World Cup drought for the Yanks when he fired the U.S. into Italia ‘90, crushing this same opponent in the process.

Tonight the heartbreak is on the other foot and even if the Soca Warriors won’t be competing in Russia they will be enjoying a measure of revenge served cold, very cold.

Several USMNT careers likely ended tonight in Trinidad and Tobago with coach Bruce Arena surely leading the parade out the door. Players who have defined this team for years will surely follow. Stalwarts Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey will lead the exodus, although Deuce may hang around long enough to score the one goal he needs to eclipse Landon Donovan as the top U.S. goal scorer.

This disaster and disaster is the word for it, couldn’t have come at a worse time for U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, who was already facing challenges in his re-election bid.

Pulisic gave all he could but it just wasn’t enough.

But all of that is for another day. Tonight the U.S. Soccer community will be licking its wounds, asking hard questions and suffering from U.S. soccer’s biggest disappointment.

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
TRI 2 0 2

TRI – Own Goal (Omar Gonzalez) 17th minute
TRI – Alvin Jones (Nathan Lewis) 37
USA – Christian Pulisic 47

USA: 1-Tim Howard, 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 5-Matt Besler, 15-Jorge Villafaña (23-Kellyn Acosta, 72), 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 21-Paul Arriola (8-Clint Dempsey, 46), 10-Christian Pulisic, 6-Darlington Nagbe (16-Benny Feilhaber, 84), 9-Bobby Wood, 17-Jozy Altidore
Subs not used: 12-Brad Guzan, 22-Nick Rimando, 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 11-Alejandro Bedoya, 13-Dax McCarty, 14-Tim Ream, 18-Chris Wondolowski, 19-Graham Zusi, 20-Geoff Cameron
Head coach: Bruce Arena

TRI: 22-Adrian Foncette, 5-Daneil Cyrus, 7-Nathan Lewis, 8-Khaleem Hyland (capt.), 9-Shahdon Winchester (20-Trevin Caesar, 78), 13-Curtis Gonzales, 16-Levi Garcia (3-Joevin Jones, 72), 17-Alvin Jones, 18-Triston Hodge (4-Kevon Villaroel, 81), 19-Kevan George, 23-Leston Paul
Subs not used: 1-Glenroy Samuel, 21-Gregory Ranjitsingh, 2-Kareem Moses, 6-Josiah Trimmingham, 10-Karl Duane Muckette, 11-Neil Benjamin, 12-Kathon St. Hillaire, 14-Akeem Roach, 15-Jared London
Head coach: Dennis Lawrence

Stats Summary: USA / TRI
Shots: 15 / 11
Shots on Goal: 6 / 5
Saves: 3 / 5
Corner Kicks: 5 / 2
Fouls: 18 / 11
Offside: 3 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
TRI – Triston Hodge (caution) 68th minute
USA – Omar Gonzalez (caution) 90+1
TRI – Joevin Jones (caution) 90+3
USA – Matt Besler (caution) 90+5

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Akinola Goal Beats Ghana in U17 World Cup
Akinola Goal Beats Ghana in U17 World Cup avatar

Despite nearly being run off the pitch at times by a relentless Ghana side the U.S. maintained its grip on first place in Group A at the U17 World Cup today thanks to substitute Ayo Akinola’s 75th-minute goal.

Ayo Akinola scored the only goal of the match. (ISI Photos/Casey Brooke Lawson)

Played in blistering 94-degree heat U.S. boss John Hackworth replaced just one player from his team’s opening game 3-0 victory over India but that change necessitated a defensive reshuffle that moved Chris Durkin from center back up to midfield and Jaylin Lindsey from fullback into Durkin’s spot alongside James Sands.

All to accommodate Sergino Dest, an Ajax player, born in the Netherlands, who has recently come into the U.S. setup. Dest was very good on the day, using his speed, strength, and positioning to thwart several attacks by the Black Stars, making his removal in favor of Akil Watts in the 63 minute something of a mystery. Hopefully, Dest did not pick up an injury.

The teams took turn dominating in the first half, with Ghana threatening Justin Garces’ goal often without finding a way onto the scoreboard. Key to the U.S survival was some good work by the back four that also included Chris Gloster and most tellingly, superb two-way play from DC United prospect, Durkin.

Durkin saved a certain goal when he got a piece of a Ghana shot while sprawled on the ground with Garces beaten, just the most dramatic of his defensive interventions. Equally important was Durkin’s ability to control the ball and find teammates with intelligent passes in the face of intense pressure from a Black Stars side loaded with exciting prospects linked with the likes of Manchester City.

Ghana came flying out of the blocks on the restart and would have scored early when Ghana captain Eric Ayiah rounded Garces only to slip, allowing Sands to clear.

The Americans struggled throughout the half to maintain possession, leaving exciting front men, Josh Sargent, Andrew Carleton, and Tim Weah starved for service and defending more than attacking.

Chris Goslin set up the game winner.  (ISI Photos/Casey Brooke Lawson)

Weah would be pulled for Akinola in the 63rd minute and the young forward soon made Hackworth look like a genius. Full of energy on a field full of spent players, Akinola provided the breakthrough when he took a pass from Chris Goslin and blasted to the net. The goal had been set up by, you guessed it, Durkin, who first stole the ball and then delivered a perfectly weighted lead pass to Goslin.

The Americans hung on against 10 man Ghana, who lost Abdul Yusif in the 85th minute and could not replace him because Ghana had used up their allotment of substitutes. Yusif was stretchered off in the 85th minute following a frightening clash of heads with Sargent, who remained in the game after concussion protocols were implemented.

Next up for the Americans is a showdown with Colombia on Thursday when Hackworth might be tempted to employ some squad rotation.

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
GHA 0 0 0

USA – Ayo Akinola (Chris Goslin) 75th minute

USA: 1-Justin Garces; 2-Jaylin Lindsey, 3-Chris Gloster, 4-James Sands, 13-Sergino Dest (14-Akil Watts, 63); 8-Blaine Ferri, 6-Chris Durkin, 20-Chris Goslin; 10-Tim Weah (7-Ayo Akinola, 63), 9-Josh Sargent (Capt.), 11-Andrew Carleton (18-Indiana Vassilev, 81)
Subs not used: 5-Tyler Shaver, 12-CJ Dos Santos, 15-George Acosta, 16-Taylor Booth, 17-Bryan Reynolds, 19-Jacobo Reyes, 21-Alex Budnik
Head Coach: John Hackworth

GHA: 1-Danlad Ibrahim; 5-Najeeb Yakubu, 6-Eric Ayiah (Capt.), 8-Kudus Mohammed (9-Richard Danso, 73), 10-Emmanuel Toku (7-Ibrahim Sulley, 82); 11-Aminu Mohammed (13-Gabriel Leveh, 57), 12-Abdul Yusif (Exited in 85th, was not replaced), 15-Gideon Mensah, 17-Rashid Alhassan; 19-Sadiq Ibrahim, 20-Isaac Gyamfi
Subs not used: 2-John Out, 3-Gideon Acquah, 4-Edmund Arko-Mensah, 14-Bismark Owusu, 16-Kwame Aziz, 18-Mohammed Iddriss, 21-Michael Acquaye
Head coach: Fabian Samuel

Stats Summary: USA/GHA
Shots: 11/ 18
Shots on Goal: 2/3
Saves: 3/1
Corner Kicks: 2/5
Fouls: 10/9
Offside: 0/1

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Chris Goslin (Caution) 6th minute
GHA – Kudus Mohammed (Caution) 69
GHA – Richard Danso (Caution) 86

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Back on Track!
Back on Track! avatar

With their backs against the wall, the USMNT responded with a passionate display in a dominant 4-0 victory over Panama to jump the Canaleros and move into third place in the Hex standings with one game left to play in the final round of the World Cup Qualifiers.

Third place is the final automatic berth and if the Americans can do the business on Tuesday against Trinidad and Tobago, the last place team in the Hex, then Bruce Arena’s men will avoid a two-leg playoff versus Australia or Syria.

Pulisic once again put in a star studded performance for the U.S.  (ISI Photos/Mark Torstenson)

On a night of virtually all positives, in front of a crowd that cheered their every move, Christian Pulisic stood out. Arena put the 19-year-old front and center of the U.S. attack and the dividends soon paid off with an eighth-minute goal.

Pulisic ran onto a flicked pass from Jozy Altidore, rounded Jaime Penedo and the rout was on. The roles were reversed 11 minutes later when “Wonderboy” put the ball a platter for Altidore to tap in and when Altidore converted an audacious Panenka penalty the U.S. retired to the halftime locker room luxuriating in a deserved three-goal lead.

Pulisic’s runs had the Panama defense in ruins from the opening whistle and his teammates should have finished a few more of chances the Dortmund star provided.

Altidore bagged himself two goals and an assist against Panama. (ISI Photos/Mark Thorstenson)

Still, Arena’s front three of Pulisic, Altidore, and Bobby Wood impressed with Wood earning the pk as the normally stingy Panama defense was ripped to shreds. Arena gambled with a lineup that left captain Michael Bradley somewhat isolated as a lone central defender and the Americans did appear vulnerable at the back on several occasions.

Bradley and Pulisic were joined in midfield by Darlington Nagbe and Paul Arriola, increasing the speed of the U.S. side that had been rather plodding at times in recent matches.

That defense featured Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler flanked by DeAndre Yedlin and Jorge Villafaña in front of Tim Howard, who capably handled what little action came his way. That Gonzalez was selected over Geoff Cameron was the one big surprise in the team and the towering center back did not impress on the night. Besler was the better of the pair while Villafana put in a solid shift.

Yedlin was a different story, the Newcastle United fullback has clearly benefitted from the rigors of the playing for Sunderland, and now Newcastle in the Premier League and the Championship and has added strong defensive positioning skills to his blinding speed to become the complete package at the fullback position.

It was the best offensive performance that we have seen from an U.S. team in a long time. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

That Arena’s gamble was a success was aided by Panama’s tactics, with coach Hernán Darío Gómez choosing an odd time to abandon the defense-first philosophy that had served the Canaleros so well in the past.

The plan backfired with the Americans exploiting space left by the surprisingly aggressive Panamanians and so irked the Panama contingent in Orlando that Gomez found himself in a postgame shouting match with a Panamanian “journalist.”

A win over Trinidad and Tobago would secure that third CONCACAF berth in Russia 2018 for the Americans, leaving Panama and Honduras to fight it out for the fourth-place playoff spot.

A look at the CONCACAF standings shows that the Yanks could advance in a number of ways. Panama travels to Costa Rica, who are all but booked for Russia while Honduras host mighty Mexico, already qualified.

Fifth & Final Round (Hexagonal)

Mexico – x 21 6 0 3 14 4 +10
Costa Rica 15 4 1 3 12 5 +7
United States 12 3 3 3 16 11 +5
Panama 10 2 3 4 7 9 -2
Honduras 9 2 3 3 9 16 -7
Trinidad & T 3 1 8 0 5 18 -13

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 3 1 4
PAN 0 0 0

USA – Christian Pulisic (Jozy Altidore) 8th minute
USA – Jozy Altidore (Christian Pulisic) 19
USA – Jozy Altidore (penalty) 43
USA – Bobby Wood (Paul Arriola) 63

USA: 1-Tim Howard; 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 5-Matt Besler, 15-Jorge Villafaña; 4-Michael Bradley (capt.); 21-Paul Arriola, 10-Christian Pulisic (13-Dax McCarty, 57), 6-Darlington Nagbe (11-Alejandro Bedoya, 79); 9-Bobby Wood, 17-Jozy Altidore (8-Clint Dempsey, 71)
Subs not used: 12-Brad Guzan, 22-Nick Rimando, 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 14-Tim Ream, 16-Benny Feilhaber, 18-Chris Wondolowski, 19-Graham Zusi, 20-Geoff Cameron, 23-Kellyn Acosta
Head coach: Bruce Arena

PAN: 1-Jaime Penedo; 2-Michael Murillo, 23-Felipe Baloy (4-Fidel Escobar, 46), 5-Román Torres, 6-Gabriel Gòmez; 19-Alberto Quintero, 8-Édgar Bárcenas (11-Armando Cooper, 26), 20-Aníbal Godoy, 17-Luis Ovalle; 9-Gabriel Torres, 7-Blas Pérez (22-Abdiel Arroyo, 60)
Subs not used: 12-José Calderón, 15-Érick Davis, 13-Adolfo Machado, 3-Juan Carlos Vargas, 10-Ricardo Buitrago, 16-José González, 21-Roberto Nurse, 18-Luis Tejada
Head coach: Hernán Darío Gómez

Stats Summary: USA / PAN
Shots: 15 / 9
Shots on Goal: 8 / 2
Saves: 2 / 4
Corner Kicks: 4 / 4
Fouls: 16 / 11
Offside: 1 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
PAN – Felipe Baloy (caution) 34th minute
PAN – Armando Cooper (caution) 42
PAN – Michael Murillo (caution) 48

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U17’s Top India in U17 World Cup Opener
U17’s Top India in U17 World Cup Opener avatar

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.

The U17 during a training session. (ISI Photos/Casey Brooke Lawson)

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.

Andrew Carleton finished the game off with a fine finish for the young yanks. (ISI Photos/Casey Brooke Lawson)

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.)

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