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Global Mar 09, 2015

U.S. U-17 MNT on verge of FIFA U-17 World Cup qualifying after draw vs. Honduras

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SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (Via U.S. Soccer) – In a wild match that included leads for both sides, the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team played Honduras to a 2-2 draw in Group A at the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship at Estadio Francisco Morazán.

After falling behind early, the USA’s Luca de la Torre and Josh Perez tallied goals to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead heading into halftime. But in the closing minutes, Honduras’ David Sanchez salvaged an equalizer and forced the USA to look to Wednesday to clinch a berth for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Shortly after the equalizer, Honduras’ Jorge Alvarez was shown a straight red card for fouling U.S. forward Brandon Vazquez. However, the USA was unable to capitalize on the subsequent free kick and the match ended in a stalemate.

With the draw, the U.S. (3-0-1, 10 points) maintains its two-point advantage over Honduras (2-0-2, 8 points) in the Group A standings. The USA wraps up the group stage against Jamaica at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 11, at Estadio Francisco Morazán. The game is live on FOX Sports 2, FOX Sports GO and Univision Deportes.

A victory against Jamaica would give the USA first place in the group and an automatic berth to the FIFA U-17 World Cup. A draw also could potentially be enough for the U.S. to advance even if Honduras wins its final match against Guatemala, pending the USA maintaining its goal differential advantage.

+Read: U.S. U-17 MNT rolls by Guatemala 4-1 in CONCACAF group play

Earlier Sunday in Group A action, Jamaica defeated Trinidad & Tobago 5-1. Jamaica moved to 2-1-1 (7 points) while Trinidad & Tobago fell to 0-4-0 (0 points). Guatemala (1-2-1, 4 points) and Cuba (0-1-3, 3 points) played to a scoreless draw prior to the USA-Honduras game.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
HON – Victor Matamoros, 16th minute: With heavy back-and-forth play in the early going but no real chances during the first 15 minutes, Honduras was first to strike on a set piece chance. Jose Raul Galeano delivered a right-footed corner kick from the left side that the USA defense tried to head out of danger, but Honduras right back Matamoros collected on the right side of the box. After a quick chest trap, he volleyed a shot past U.S. captain Hugo Arellano and goalkeeper Will Pulisic into the left side of the net. USA 0, HON 1

USA – Luca de la Torre (Josh Perez), 23rd minute: The U.S. responded well after the Honduras goal when Joe Gallardo played a through ball to Perez on the left side of the box. Perez worked the ball toward the end line and crossed into the six-yard box to de la Torre, whose cheeky, left-footed back heel tap-in went into the net. It was de la Torre’s first goal of the year and second of his U-17 MNT career. Perez has three assists this year. USA 1, HON 1

USA – Josh Perez, 32nd minute: The U.S. once again worked the ball through the left side off of a John Nelson throw-in to Luca de la Torre, who set up Haji Wright near the end line. Wright’s pass was deflected by two Honduras defenders – first Denil Maldonado and then Gabriel Ortiz – before making its way to Perez on the right side of the box. Perez made the most of Honduras’ inability to intercept, slotting his shot into the upper right corner of the net for his fourth goal of the tournament and team-leading sixth goal in 2015. USA 2, HON 1

HON – David Sanchez (Jorge Alvarez), 88th minute: In the waning minutes, Honduras’s Alvarez crossed the ball in from the left side and Sanchez went up for the header in the six-yard box. The ball actually struck Sanchez’s right shoulder, and it caromed into the left of the frame past U.S. goalkeeper Will Pulisic. USA 2, HON 2 (FINAL)

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
HON – Erick Arias, 46th minute: Just seconds into the second half, U.S. striker Joe Gallardo attacked from the right side of the box and Arias made a key block on the shot to surrender a USA corner kick.

HON – Michael Perello, 46th minute: Off of a corner kick from the right side, Josh Perez connected with USA defender Hugo Arellano, who headed it toward the net. The ball hit the ground near Alejandro Zendejas but was not redirected by the midfielder. Perello stayed focused on the trajectory of the bouncing header and batted the ball away from the area.

USA – Will Pulisic, 77th minute: Darixon Vuelto sped with the ball from the midfield and had some open space for a shot as he eyed the left of the frame. Pulisic confidently dove to his right for the save. Honduras could not muster an additional scoring chance with the ensuing corner kick.

Next on the Schedule:
The U-17 MNT prepares for its fifth and final Group A match against Jamaica at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 11, at Estadio Francisco Morazán in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
Broadcast information: FOX Sports 2, FOX Sports GO, Univision Deportes

Additional Notes:

  • The U-17 MNT is now 6-1-1 in international play this year.
  • The USA moved to 7-1-1 all-time against Honduras in this tournament’s history.
  • Head coach Richie Williams’ starting lineup featured a 4-3-3 formation, anchored by goalkeeper Will Pulisic and a defensive line of Matthew Olosunde at right back, John Nelson at left back and the center back pairing of Hugo Arellano and Alexis Velela.
  • The midfield trio included Luca de la Torre in an attacking role, Eric Calvillo and Alejandro Zendejas.
  • Up front, Joe Gallardo played centrally and Haji Wright and Josh Perez played on the wings. All three players earned their third starts in four games at the CONCACAF U-17 Championship.
  • Arellano, who started the opening two games against Cuba and Trinidad & Tobago, wore the captain’s armband for the third time in the tournament.
  • Will Pulisic and Olosunde are the only U-17 MNT players to have started in all four games in qualifying, and Pulisic is the only USA player to log the full 360 minutes.
  • Midfielder Christian Pulisic, who had started in the first three games of qualifying, was an available bench option after taking a knock to his left knee in the first half against Guatemala on March 5. He is day-to-day.
  • Will Pulisic moves to 5-0-1 this year.
  • The USA used three subs in the second half In the 67th minute, Tyler Adams made his fourth appearance in the tournament when he entered for de la Torre. Forward Brandon Vazquez made his third appearance in qualifying, replacing Gallardo in the 73rd minute. In the 82nd minute, Pierre Da Silva replaced Nelson and Adams dropped to the left back position.

– U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team Match Report –

Match: U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. Honduras U-17 Men’s National Team
Date: March 8, 2015
Competition: 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship
Venue: Estadio Francisco Morazán; San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Kickoff: 10 p.m. ET (8 p.m. local)
Attendance: TBA
Weather: 77 degrees; Partly cloudy, humid

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

HON – Victor Matamoros                     16th minute
USA – Luca de la Torre (Josh Perez)    23
USA – Josh Perez                              32
HON – David Sanchez (Jorge Alvarez)  88

USA: 1-Will Pulisic; 2-Matthew Olosunde, 4-Alexis Velela, 5-Hugo Arellano (capt.), 3-John Nelson (17-Pierre Da Silva, 82); 6-Eric Calvillo, 8-Luca de la Torre (18-Tyler Adams, 67), 20-Alejandro Zendejas; 11-Josh Perez, 9-Joe Gallardo (19-Brandon Vazquez 73), 7-Haji Wright
Subs Not Used: 10-Christian Pulisic, 12-Kevin Silva, 13-McKinze Gaines, 14-Tanner Dieterich, 15-Danny Barbir, 16-Thomas McCabe
Head Coach: Richie Williams

HON: 12-Michael Perello; 2-Victor Matamoros, 5-Dylan Andrade (capt.) (9-Darixon Vuelto, 46), 17-Denil Maldonado, 19-Gabriel Ortiz; 7-Foslyn Grant, 8-Erick Arias, 6-Jorge Alvarez, 15-Jose Raul Galeano, 16-Jeancarlo Vargas (14-David Sanchez, 80); 13-Wisdom Quaye (11-Oslin Sevilla, 71)
Subs Not Used: 1-Jose Aguiluz, 3-Wesly Decas, 10-Oscar Castro, 18-Kevin Castro, 20-Darwin Diego
Head Coach: Jose Valladares

Stats Summary: USA / HON
Shots: 7 / 18
Shots on Goal: 3 / 5
Saves: 3 / 1
Corner Kicks: 7 / 5
Fouls: 16 / 19
Offside: 0 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
HON -Denil Maldonado (caution)      38th minute
USA – Joe Gallardo (caution)           44
USA – Hugo Arellano (caution)          65
HON – Jose Raul Galeano (caution)  85
HON – Jorge Alvarez (ejection)         90
HON – Erick Arias (caution)              90+1

Referee: Cesar Ramos (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Miguel Paredes (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Mora (CRC)
Fourth Official: Ricardo Montero (CRC)

Man of the Match: Luca de la Torre


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