U-17 USMNT earns dramatic 2-1 win over Mexico at 4 Nations Tournament
ASSEN, Netherlands — An 88th-minute goal from Ricardo Pepi propelled the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team past Mexico 2-1 in its opening match at the 4 Nations Tournament.
While Mexico opened the scoring early in the second half, U.S. forward Gio Reyna equalized soon after and forward Ricardo Pepi netted the late winner to complete the comeback victory.
Next up, the USA will face the Netherlands on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 9 a.m. ET. The Netherlands won its opening match of the tournament, 2-1, against Denmark. The tournament serves as the USA’s final international matches before it kicks off the FIFA U-17 World Cup on Oct. 27.
The teams traded chances in an evenly-matched first half. While Mexico pressed hard in the opening minutes, the USA found a number of opportunities on the break, finding success by building up the wing, especially through left back George Bello. The Atlanta United product combined well with captain Reyna and midfielder Gianluca Busio to spark a number of chances from the left side, but the U.S. was unable to find the final finish in the first half.
On the defensive end, U.S. goalkeeper Damian Las made a number of nice saves on dangerous early free kicks. He also snuffed out El Tri’s two most dangerous chances of the first half.
Mexico struck first when the teams took the field for the second half. After a misplay in the U.S. defense, El Tri sprung forward, and a cross from the right side found Bryan Gonzalez at the far post. He hit a low shot to the back of the net for the game’s opening goal.
Substitute Andres Jasson entered the match for the USA in the 65th minute, and a flurry of chances followed. In the 68th, Reyna forced Mexico goalkeeper Eduardo Garcia into action when he ripped a shot from long range. The rebound went out for a USA corner, and Busio struck a ball into the box. Jasson got a head on it, and while Mexico attempted to clear, it fell to Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez just outside the six-yard-box. The Seattle Sounders FC forward dished to Reyna at the left post, and he ripped a shot past Garcia to equalize for the USA. The goal marked Reyna’s eighth at the U-17 level.
Another substitute sparked the USA’s 88th-minute game-winner as things opened up down the stretch. From near midfield, Reyna split three defenders with a pass up to midfielder Ethan Dobbeleare. After a nifty first touch, Dobbeleare nicely teed up Pepi for a one-on-one with the ‘keeper. He hit a hard shot to the back of the net, putting the USA up 2-1 with just minutes to play.
Mexico threatened one last moment on a stoppage-time free kick, but some solid play from Las halted the danger, as he managed to dive on the ball through a ruckus in the box to snuff out El Tri’s final chance.
- Four players earned their first U-17 MNT caps vs. Mexico: defenders Sebastian Anderson and Nico Carrera, midfielder Ethan Dobbelaere and forward Noah Jones.
- Gio Reyna’s goal marked his seventh of the year for the U-17s. He leads the USA in scoring in 2019 and ranks second in scoring for the 2018-19 cycle.
- Ricardo Pepi’s game-winning goal marked his fifth tally at the U-17 level. He’s one of two younger, 2003-born, players on the roster and had previously played for Mexico at the youth international level.
- Bello and Jasson appeared in their first U-17 MNT matches since Oct. 2018.
-U-17 MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT-
Match: U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team vs. Mexico
Date: Sept. 6, 2019
Competition: 4 Nations Tournament
Venue: Sportpark Marsdijk; Assen, Netherlands
Weather: 60 degrees, partly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 2 2
MEX 0 1 1
MEX – Bryan Gonzalez 56th minute
USA – Gio Reyna (Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez) 69
USA – Ricardo Pepi (Ethan Dobbelaere) 88
USA: 1-Damian Las; 17-Sebastian Anderson, 4-Nico Carrera, 5-Kobe Hernandez, 14-George Bello; 16-Adam Saldana, 8-Bryang Kayo (23-Andres Jasson, 65), 7-Gianluca Busio; 19-Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (21-Ethan Dobbelaere, 72), 9-Ricardo Pepi (18-Noah Jones, 89), 10-Gio Reyna
Subs not used: 12-Chituru Odunze, 22-Aaron Cervantes, 2-Tayvon Gray, 3-Adam Armour, 6-Maxi Dietz, 11-Jack de Vries, 13-Mauricio Cuevas, 15-Jonathan Tomkinson, 20-Gilbert Fuentes
Head coach: Raphael Wicky
MEX: 1-Eduardo Garcia, 2-Jose Ruiz, 3-Victor Guzman, 4-Jesus Gomez, 5-Rafael Martinez, 6-Eugenio Pizzuto (capt.), 8-Edgar Martinez (19-Luis Puente), 10-Israel Luna (18-Ali Avila), 7-Luis Martinez (16-Jair Gonzalez), 9-Santiago Muñoz (20-Teun Wilke), 11-Bryan Gonzalez (17-Bruce El-Mesmart)
Subs not used: 12-Arturo Delgaado, 13-Emilio Lara, 14-Oliver Perez, 15-Joel Gomez
Head coach: Marco Antonio Ruiz
STATS SUMMARY: USA/MEX
Shots: 7 / 6
Shots on Goal: 5 / 5
Saves: 4 / 3
Corners: 7 / 4
Fouls: 9 / 6
Offsides: 2 / 2