The United States U-23 team opened their CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament with a comprehensive 3-1 victory over Canada. The win was thanks in large part to a fantastic individual performance by Stanford's Jordan Morris. The college kid notched a brace and Canada didn't know what hit them. A very good start for the Yanks in this important tournament.
US U-23 starting XI: Steffen; Polster, CCV, Miazga, Serna; Trapp; Alashe, Hyndman; Zelalem; Morris, Kiesewetter (4-4-2 diamond)— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) October 2, 2015
The United States got off to a dream start in the first minute of the game. Jerome Kiesewetter's run down the right flank and ensuing cross found a wide open Jordan Morris at the back post for an easy header.
More of the same followed for the next 15 minutes as the U.S. dominated possession only conceding a dangerous free kick to Canada. That effort was struck right at Zack Steffen.
The next big chance in the match came for Kiesewetter in the 19th minute down the right side again. His pace allowed him to latch onto a throughball, cut inside and have his shot pushed past the post by the Canada goalkeeper. The VfB Stuttgart forward would get yet another chance five minutes later but again was stopped by the keeper from a tight angle.
Canada began creeping into the match around the half hour mark with a few attacking flurries around the Americans' goal, but nothing became of them. The rest of the half turned into a midfield battle that neither team really won. Canada would have one last chance in stoppage time, a curling shot from 25 yards out that Steffen held on to well.
Our Northern neighbors would come out of the break on the front foot and create several opportunities, but none would severely trouble the U.S. goal.
The next great chance would again fall to Kiesewetter who found himself in alone with the keeper from a tight angle and again was denied a goal. Another dangerous chance created by his pace, but one that would go begging.
Back and forth the play went until Canada had another opportunity to equalize in the 68th minutes. A curling shot from the top of the box was saved well by a diving Steffen once again.
The U.S. would double their lead in the 73rd minute when Morris latched onto a long ball behind the Canada backline, held off a defender with his strength, and slotted a composed finish between the keepers legs. A fantastic solo effort to extend the lead to 2-0.
Canada would pull one back 10 minutes from full time with a wide open header off of a corner. A very poor job of marking by the young Yanks.
The comeback attempt would fall short as the Americans would draw a stoppage time penalty when Kiesewetter was fouled in the box. Luis Gil, a second half substitute, would step up to the spot an bury the penalty with confidence and finish off the match.
Three points to the U-23's to open group play and a big step towards the semifinals.
- Overall it was a decent team performance. Enough to get the three points but one that needs to be improved upon.
- Jordan Morris is good at soccer.
- Jerome Kiesewetter was the most dangerous U.S. attacker down the right side, but needs to be more clinical with his chances.
- The midfield duo of Hyndman and Zelalem were rendered ineffective for the most part. At this level they will need to pick up the pace or will be in jeopardy of losing their spots unlike with the U-20's.
- Zack Steffen is a tremendous goalkeeper who had a very good match. Got a raw deal from his defenders on the goal.
- The Miazga-CCV partnership is ridiculously good and almost unfair with the physical advantage they possess.