The United States under-17 National Team suffered a loss to Nigeria in their first game at the 2015 U-17 World Cup. It was a dominant performance by the Super Eagles as they controlled much of the game with their physical superiority. Not the way the young Americans wanted to start off this tournament.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"> U17s starting XI v Nigeria: W. Pulisic; Olosunde, Nelson, Trusty, Arellano (c); Calvillo, C. Pulisic, Zendejas; Wright, Gallardo, Perez.</p>— U.S. Soccer YNT (@ussoccer_ynt) <a href="https://twitter.com/ussoccer_ynt/status/655460838434873344">October 17, 2015</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
It was a very balanced start to the game for both sides. Each team had spells of possession in the first 10 minutes and a corner kick opportunity. Nigeria would get the first good chance of the game when a pass found one of their strikers inside the box, but his shot when high and wide of the Americans goal.
The U.S. answered right back with their first chance when Christian Pulisic wiggled free on the left flank to whip a ball into Gallardo in the box. The striker couldn't get a handle on it and the Nigerian keeper collected desperately.
Pulisic would create another good opportunity minutes later. Another dangerous cross into the front of goal was poked high of goal by Haji Wright.
The game would finally settle down after a hectic back and forth opening 20 minutes. Nigeria started controlling the game a bit while the U.S. held strong defensively to take it the half time break scoreless.
Nigeria would continue to pile on the pressure after the break and it would pay off five minutes into the second half. Thanks to some comical defending from the American center back pairing, Chukwudi Agor found a loose ball eight yards in front of goal and hammered it into the back of the net to put the Super Eagles up 1-0.
Just 10 minutes later, the Nigerians lead would be doubled when Victor Osimhen broke through the American back line and finished nicely off the post past Will Pulisic.
The physicality and pace of the Nigerians were giving the U.S. fits all game, while sloppiness in defense didn't help matters either. The smaller American side failed to get into dangerous attacking areas of the field to create scoring chances.
Frustrations would get the better of the young Yanks as center back Auston Trusty would see a straight red when he was adjudged to have stomped on a Nigerian attacker. Replays shows that it was a very harsh call and incidental contact at best.
A bitter end to a sub-par day for the USA U-17's.
- Nigeria were bigger, stronger, and quicker.
- With all the attacking talent the U.S. possess, Christian Pulisic was the only one to show flashes of brilliance and even that was seen too few of times.
- Haji Wright particularly struggled on the left flank with some of the few promising attacking plays dying in his general vicinity.
- The center back pairing of Trusty and Arellano looked really shaky and struggled mightily.