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Youth MNT Feb 12, 2023

USA opens Concacaf U-17 Championship with 5-0 win over Barbados

ANTIGUA, Guatemala – The U.S. Under-17 Men’s Youth National Team kicked off the 2023 Concacaf U-17 Championship with a 5-0 win against Barbados on Saturday.

Midfielder Cruz Medina netted a hat trick, while a flurry of late goals lifted the USA to a convincing victory after dominating in possession throughout the evening.

Following the first matchday, the USA sits atop Group F with three points and +2 goal differential. Canada topped Trinidad and Tobago 3-2 in the first game of the day. The U.S. next faces Trinidad and Tobago on Monday, Feb. 13 (8 p.m. ET; FS1, ViX+). The top three teams in each group advance to the Round of 16.

GROUP F STANDINGS

Team W L D GD Pts.
USA 1 0 0 5 3
Canada 1 0 0 1 3
Trinidad and Tobago 0 1 0 -1 0
Barbados 0 1 0 -5 0

The U.S. controlled the game offensively all night long, out-possessing Barbados 78 percent to 22 and out-shooting its opponent 30-2, but had some early trouble finishing its opportunities. Barbados goalkeeper Jireh Malcolm stood tall through much of the game while the Barbadian defense, often playing with nine in the back, made the USA earn its chances. As the U.S. searched for the opener, forward Ezekiel Soto was a nuisance on the high press, forcing a number of errors from Barbados while attackers Micah Burton, Brian Romero and Medina saw several shots sky wide.

Despite a frustrating start to the half, the breakthrough finally came in the 25th minute. In the aftermath of a corner kick, midfielder Edwyn Mendoza was taken down in the box and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. While Medina’s initial penalty attempt was saved, the USA stuck with the play and Soto passed the deflection back to Medina for another shot, this time a tap-in to an empty net.

The U.S. continued to create attacking chances down the stretch and Medina bagged his brace with a far more impressive tally in the 43rd. Running down the center channel, Medina ripped a shot from 30 yards out and sent it over the leaping Malcolm.

Pushing to build its lead after the break, the U.S. was rewarded for its efforts in the game’s closing minutes, scoring three goals in a five-minute stretch. Finally wearing down the Bajan Tridents’ low block, substitute forward Keyrol Figueroa started the frenzy in the 86th minute as he finished off a well-hit cross from Romero. Two minutes later, substitute midfielder Taha Habroune headed in a goal off a corner for his first goal in his international debut. Medina polished off his hat trick in the third minute of second-half stoppage time, tapping in a ball from substitute forward David Vazquez.

The win serves as the U-17 MYNT’s first step towards qualification for the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru. Following the interruption of programming due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, tonight marked the U-17s’ return to official competition for the first time since the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in November of that year.

GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:

USA – Cruz Medina (Ezekiel Soto), 25th minute: After midfielder Edwyn Mendoza was taken down in the box, Medina stepped up to the spot for a penalty kick. While he tried to lift the ball, Barbados goalkeeper Jireh Malcolm got his hands up to deflect the attempt, but Soto rushed to the ball and cut it back for Medina. With Malcolm out of position, the San Jose Earthquakes midfielder tapped it in from inside the six-yard box for the game’s opening goal. USA 1, BRB 0

USA – Cruz Medina (Adrian Gill), 43rd minute: Gill controlled a long ball from Malcolm and chested it to Medina on the run near the center circle. The midfielder dribbled downfield before launching a rocket to the top right corner over the leaping Malcolm to net his second of the evening. USA 2, BRB 0

USA – Keyrol Figueroa (Brian Romero), 86th minute: After several good looks from when he entered the match in the 61st, Figueroa started the USA’s late goal scoring surge. Right back Oscar Verhoeven played to Romero on the right side of the box and the Charlotte FC forward sent in a well-placed cross to Figueroa inside the six, which he met with a diving header. USA 3, BRB 0

USA – Taha Habroune (Keyrol Figueroa), 88th minute: Earning 12 corner kicks on the night, the USA finally capitalized on its final set piece. Medina launched a ball to the far post, where Figueroa headed it back across goal, where Habroune was waiting near the center of the six-yard line. His header deflected off a Barbados defender and into the back of the net. USA 4, BRB 0

USA – Cruz Medina (David Vazquez), 90+3rd minute: Pushing the ball downfield, Romero threaded the ball through two Barbadian defenders to Vazquez on the run down the left wing. Dribbling in, he played to Medina just in front of the penalty spot. There, he one-timed it past Malcolm to complete his hat trick. USA 5, BRB 0

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

  • The USA improves to 2-0-0 all-time vs. Barbados at the Concacaf U-17 Championship.
  • Goalkeeper Duran Ferree and midfielder Taha Habroune both earned their first U-17 caps. Ferree made one save while Harbroune scored in the 88th minute for his first international goal.
  • Following tonight’s match, midfielder Christopher Aquino is the lone uncapped player on the U.S. tournament roster.
  • Defender Tyler Hall, midfielder Adrian Gill and forward Keyrol Figueroa all picked up yellow cards during tonight’s match. If they are shown a yellow card during either of the USA’s next two group stage matches, they will be ineligible for the next U.S. match.

-U.S. UNDER-17 MEN’S YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT-

 

Match: United States Under-17 Men’s Youth National Team vs. Barbados
Date: Feb. 11, 2023
Competition: 2023 Concacaf U-17 Championship – Group Stage
Venue: Estadio Pensativo; Antigua, Guatemala
Attendance: 215

Kickoff: 7 p.m. local (8 p.m. ET)
Weather: 63 degrees, partly cloudy

Scoring Summary:      1   2   F

USA                              2   3   5

BRB                             0   0   0

USA – Cruz Medina (Ezekiel Soto)                   25th minute
USA – Cruz Medina (Adrian Gill)                     43
USA – Keyrol Figueroa (Brian Romero)          86
USA – Taha Habroune (Keyrol Figueroa)        88
USA – Cruz Medina (David Vazquez)              90+3

Lineups:

USA:1-Duran Ferree; 2-Oscar Verhoeven, 4-Tyler Hall, 5-Stuart Hawkins (15-Christian Diaz, 89), 19-Paulo Rudisill (3-Sawyer Jura, 79); 6-Edwyn Mendoza, 16-Adrian Gill (14-Taha Harbroune, 79), 10-Cruz Medina; 7-Brian Romero, 18-Ezekiel Soto (17-Keylor Figueroa, 61), 9-Micah Burton (11-David Vazquez, 61)
Substitutes not used: 12-Adam Beaudry, 8-Pedro Soma, 13-Aiden Harangi, 20-Chris Aquino
Head coach: Gonzalo Segares

BRB:18-Jireh Malcolm; 2-Micaiah Clarke (14-Ephraim Gill, 46), 3-Ajani Banton, 4-Warren Trotman (Capt.), 5-Kamari Johnson (16-Zachari Yard, 46); 6-Amego Jordan, 8-Joshua Husbands (9-Che Millington, 60); 7-Shamari Harewood, 17-Ronan Lee (12-Kiaros Greaves, 60), 11-Christian Gill (20-James Moore, 60); 10-Rovaldo Massiah

Substitutes not used: 1-K’den Hee Chung, 13-Kobe Burges, 15-Jayden Grenidge, 16-Zachari Yard

Head coach: Fabian Massiah

Stats Summary: USA / BRB
Shots: 30 / 2
Shots on Goal: 11 / 1
Saves: 1 / 6
Corner Kicks: 12 / 0
Fouls: 11 / 13
Offside: 0 / 0

Misconduct Summary:

BRB – Micaiah Clarke (Caution)          34th minute
BRB – Amego Jordan (Caution)           62

USA – Adrian Gill (Caution)                 69
USA – Keyrol Figueroa (Caution)        70
USA – Tyler Hall (Caution)                  81

Officials:
Referee: Okeito Nicholson (JAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Jorge Ordonez (GUA)
Assistant Referee 2: Victor Ramirez (CRC)
Fourth Official: Christopher Mason (JAM)

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