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Global May 14, 2019

USA facing Canada today in Concacaf U-17 Championship semifinal

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U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team vs. Canada
2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship Semifinal
IMG Academy; Bradenton, Fla.
May 14, 2019
5:30 p.m. ET (Watch on Univision Deportes Network or Concacaf Facebook)

FINAL FOUR: After securing a berth to the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup with a 3-0 win against Panama, the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team now sets its sights on claiming the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship. The USA faces Canada in a rematch of the teams’ tournament opener, where the USA rallied from a 2-0 halftime deficit for a 3-2 comeback victory. With a win, the USA would advance to its 10th confederation final at this age level.


Since its opener against Canada, the U.S. has not trailed and the team hasn’t allowed a goal in its last 306 minutes of play, winning five straight at the tournament. Canada finished second in Group F, defeating Curacao 4-0 in the Round of 16. In the quarterfinals, Canada drew 1-1 with Costa Rica, but saw off the Central American side on penalty kicks to book their first ticket to the FIFA U-17 World Cup since 2013.

Tuesday’s semifinal will be broadcast live at 5:30 p.m. ET on Univision Deportes Network and Concacaf Facebook. The match at IMG Academy will be open to the public. Follow the U-17 MNT throughout the tournament on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Date Opponent Stage Result Goal Scorers
May 2 Canada Group Stage W 3-2 Busio, Alejandre, Reyna
May 4 Barbados Group Stage W 6-1 Hernandez, Busio (2), Saldana, Ocampo-Chavez, O.G.
May 6 Guatemala Group Stage W 3-0 Yow (2), Ocampo-Chavez
May 9 Guadeloupe Round of 16 W 8-0 Ocampo-Chavez (2), Yow, Reyna (3), Busio, O.G.
May 12 Panama Quarterfinal W 3-0 Busio, Reyna, Pepi

WORLD CUP CLINCHED: With a World Cup ticket at stake, the USA delivered with a 3-0 win over Panama in Sunday’s quarterfinal. The victory secured a record 17th qualification for the USA to the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Despite the USA’s dominance in possession during the first half, the U-17s weren’t able to find the back of the net against Panama’s defensive posture. The U.S. broke through in the second half, as Daniel Leyva and Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez combined to set up Gianluca Busio for the game’s opening goal in the 54st minute. Ocampo-Chavez drew a penalty just six minutes later that captain Gio Reyna coolly slotted home, while a nice passing sequence culminated with Leyva teeing up forward Ricardo Pepi for the USA’s final goal in the 75th.

Busio and Reyna pace the team with five goals apiece at the tournament. They’re tied with three other players for second in the Golden Boot race, though the current leader, Costa Rica’s Geancarlo Castro, has been eliminated.

After collecting all nine possible points in Group F and with two wins in the Knockout Round, the U-17 MNT is riding a ten-game unbeaten streak dating back to last October. The U-17s have also put together three straight clean sheets, not allowing a goal in their last 306 minutes of play. Dating back to the 2015 tournament, the USA also rides a 12-match unbeaten streak at the Concacaf U-17 Championship into Tuesday’s match.

USA VS. CANADA NOTES:

  • This will be the tenth meeting between the USA and Canada at this tournament. The USA is 8-1-0 against its northern neighbor.
  • The teams last met in the opening match of this tournament. After falling behind 2-0 early, the USA roared back after the half as Busio, Axel Alejandre and Gio Reyna tallied three unanswered goals for a 3-2 comeback victory.
  • Canada forward Jayden Nelson leads the team in scoring at this tournament, with five goals. He’s tied with four other players, including Busio and Reyna, for second-most in Bradenton.
  • Prior to this year’s competition, the nations’ last meeting came in the final of the 2011 tournament, a 3-0 win for the U.S.
  • Future MNT star Eddie Johnson scored for the USA against Canada in a 4-2 group stage victory in 2001.
  • With its quarterfinal victory against Costa Rica, Canada qualified for its seventh U-17 World Cup and first since 2013. Canada has appeared in 16 of 18 Concacaf championships at this age level.
  • Canada’s best finish at this tournament came in 2011 as runner-up to the U.S.
  • Canada’s roster features 16 players born in 2002 and four born in 2003.
  • Almost all of Canada’s 20-player roster competes domestically at Canada’s three MLS academies: Montreal Impact (seven), Vancouver Whitecaps FC (six) and Toronto FC (five).
  • Two players are based internationally — goalkeeper Marc Kouadio at Florida’s Montverde Academy and midfielder James Dunning at Feyenoord in the Netherlands.
  • Dunning appeared in two matches for the U.S. U-17 MNT last year in October, coming on as a sub against Argentina and starting against Mexico.

U.S. U-17 MNT – 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship Roster by Position (Club; Hometown; U-17 Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Damian Las (Chicago Fire; Norridge, Ill.; 17/0), 12-Chituru Odunze (Vancouver Whitecaps FC/CAN; Calgary, Alberta.; 5/0)
DEFENDERS (7): 4-Axel Alejandre (FC United; Chicago, Ill.; 17/1), 3-Adam Armour (North Carolina FC; Cary, N.C.; 14/0), 13-Mauricio Cuevas (LA Galaxy II; Los Angeles, Calif.; 4/0), 14-Tayvon Gray (New York City FC; Bronx, N.Y.; 13/0), 5-Kobe Hernandez (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.; 18/2), 2-Joe Scally (New York City FC; Lake Grove, N.Y.; 18/1), 15-John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls; Chatham, N.J.; 5/0)
MIDFIELDERS (5): 7-Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City; Greensboro, N.C.; 11/7), 20-Gilbert Fuentes (San Jose Earthquakes; Tracy, Calif.; 17/0), 8-Bryang Kayo (D.C. United; Poolesville, Md.; 4/0), 6-Daniel Leyva (Seattle Sounders FC; Las Vegas, Nev.; 5/0), 16-Adam Saldana (LA Galaxy; Panorama City, Calif.; 21/2)
FORWARDS (6): 18-Jack de Vries (Philadelphia Union; Wayne, Pa.; 2/0), 17-Tyler Freeman (Sporting Kansas City; Shawnee, Kan.; 6/1), 19-Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (Seattle Sounders FC; Kent, Wash.; 19/9), 9-Ricardo Pepi (North Texas SC; McKinney, Texas; 10/2), 10-Gio Reyna (Unattached; Bedford, N.Y.; 12/6), 11-Griffin Yow (D.C. United; Clifton, Va.; 11/6)

CANADA – 2019 CONCACAF U-17 CHAMPIONSHIP ROSTER (CLUB):
GOALKEEPERS (2): 18-Benjamin Collins (Montreal Impact), 1-Marc Kouadio (Montverde Academy/USA)
DEFENDERS (7): 14-David Amila (Montreal Impact), 6-Maxime Bourgeois (Montreal Impact), 15-Nathan Demian (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), 5-Gianfranco Facchineri (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), 2-Keesan Ferdinand (Montreal Impact), 3-Rohan Goulbourne (Toronto FC), 12-Deylen Vellios (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): 13-Matthew Catavolo (Montreal Impact), 10-Simon Colyn (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), 16-James Dunning (Feyenoord/NED), 8-Tomas Giraldo (Montreal Impact), 7-Kamron Habibullah (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), 4-Damiano Pecile (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), 19-Ralph Priso-Mbongue (Toronto FC)
FORWARDS (4): 20-Julian Altobelli (Toronto FC), 9-Jacen Russell-Rowe (Toronto FC), 11-Jayden Nelson (Toronto FC), 17-Jeremie Omeonga (Montreal Impact)

CANADA’S COURSE: After falling to the USA’s spirited comeback in its tournament opener, Canada recovered to win its two other Group F matches, beating Guatemala 4-2 in a back-and-forth game and downing Barbados 4-0. Facing Group H third-placed team Curacao in the Round of 16, Canada led 1-0 at the half, but scored three goals in 10 minutes late in the match to secure a 4-0 victory.

Canada earned its place in the semifinals by the narrowest of margins, defeating Costa Rica in a penalty kick shootout. Forward Jayden Nelson scored on a penalty just before the half, but Costa Rica converted a penalty of its own on the other side of the break. Things remained deadlocked through extra time, leading to the shootout which saw Canada emerge with a 4-3 victory.

This is Canada’s deepest run at the Concacaf Championship since 2013, when the team finished third in Panama. It’s aiming for its second-ever confederation final appearance and first championship.

RUN-UP TO FLORIDA: After a busy year of programming in 2018, the Concacaf Championship represents the U-17s’ third event of 2019. Last year, the team went 9-4-4 as it faced off against 11 different nations. The U-17 MNT’s last international competition came at the 2018 Nike International Friendlies last December. There, the USA went undefeated in three tightly contested games against Portugal, Turkey and Brazil.

Players born on or after Jan. 1, 2002 are eligible for the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship, and head coach Raphael Wicky called in 16 players born in 2002 and four born in 2003.

TOURNAMENT FORMAT: This year marks the 19th Concacaf championship at this age level. Started in 1983, the regional competition sends four teams from North America, Central America and the Caribbean to the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil.

The top three teams from each group qualify to the Round of 16. Four teams – Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Nicaragua and Puerto Rico – advanced directly to the Round of 16 from a pre-tournament qualifying phase. The four tournament semifinalists earn berths to the U-17 World Cup.

In the group stage, the USA was drawn against Canada, Barbados and Guatemala. The top 16 teams in the Concacaf U-17 ranking were drawn into the main group stage, while the bottom 19 teams duked it in a pre-qualifying tournament for four Round of 16 berths.

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