Paul Kennedy of Soccer America writes of the United States Under-17 National team kicking off play at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup with a 3-0 win over the Czech Republic.
The USA opened play at the 2011 Under-17 World Cup in Torreon, Mexico, Sunday with a 3-0 win over the Czech Republic thanks to superb goals from midfielders Alejandro Guido and Esteban Rodriguez and late sub Alfred Koroma. Here are five things we learned about the U.S. U-17s ...
No Oliver, no problem. Whatever the reasons for his exit from the Bradenton residency program and removal from the under-17 national team program, Andrew Oliver's departure left a big hole in the U.S. attack. After all, Oliver led the USA in scoring en route to its 2011 Concacaf championship. But without him, the USA did just fine, getting three superb goals.
First goal settled nerves. U.S. coach Wilmer Cabrera was impressed how his young players handled first-game jitters. "They played the game, made themselves feel comfortable, and got the result by playing well," he said. "That’s important and that’s going to give us confidence to continue improving throughout the tournament." Guido got the USA going when he picked off a Czech pass outside the area and blasted a left-footed shot from more than 20 yards out.
Arriola excellent in first start. Paul Arriola went to Montego Bay for the Concacaf qualifying tournament, but he didn't play a minute. Against the Czech Republic, he was a threat up front and set up the second U.S. goal early in the second half when he beat a Czech defender in the penalty area and cut the ball back to Rodriguez.
Koroma is supersub. Koroma started on the U.S. team that beat El Salvador, 3-2, to clinch its 14th straight berth in the finals but didn't start the opener against the Czechs. In and out of residency since he was 13, the Sierra Leone-born striker certainly impressed scouts with a great individual goal taken shortly after he entered the game.
McIntosh's save of the tournament candidate. It was only the first game, but goalie Kendall McIntosh made a save that merits consideration for goal of the tournament. Lukas Julis was wide open in front of the goal and his shot was about to score the line when McIntosh dived to his right and palmed the ball away. McIntosh only won the starting job after No. 1 Fernando Pina was red carded in the El Salvador qualifying game but looked confident against the Czechs.
June 19 in Torreon
USA 3 Czech Rep. 0. Goals: Guido 5, E.Rodriguez 52, Koroma 89.
USA -- McIntosh, Acosta, Fehr, Carroll, Amon, E.Rodriguez, Dunn, Guido (Salkicic, 75), Pelosi, M.Rodriguez (Koroma, 87), Arriola (Melo, 90)
Czech Rep. -- Zima, Karafiat, Filip, Lueftner, Sterba, Nerad (Stratil, 54), Cermak, Salasovic (Travnik, 72), Masek (Kadula, 61), Julis, Svoboda.
Yellow Card: USA -- Salkicic 86.
Referee: Diego Abal (Argentina).