The United States Under-17 men’s national team closed out the 2016 Nike International Friendlies with a 3-0 win over Brazil at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.
Ayo Akinola opened scoring in the 43rd minute. The Toronto FC starlet took advantage of a defensive error and placed his shot into the back of the net.
Josh Sargent doubled the lead in the 51st minute, latching onto a through ball from Akinola and putting his well taken effort from a difficult angle into the corner.
The U.S. put the match away in stoppage time. Bryan Reynolds picked out Timothy Weah, who finished with relative ease.
The U-17s completed the competition with a 3-0 record. They previously defeated Turkey, 5-1, and Portugal, 7-1. The U.S. closes the year with a 19-4-6 record.
Goalkeeper Justin Garces was awarded the Golden Gloves award. Akinola, Sargent, and Andrew Carleton scored four goals apiece.
“I was in this job previously in my career and I’ve talked about it a lot, our soccer and tactical understanding are getting better,” said head coach John Hackworth after the match. “The players are technical enough now that we can play against the best teams in the world and in some cases, not only compete with them on a technical and tactical side, but be successful like we were this week. I don’t like to put results and development together as one, but it is an important part of the process that you learn how to be successful, in these games and tournaments.
What’s next for this group? The 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship is being held in Panama from April 21st through May 7th. It will be comprised of 12 teams split into two groups. Group winners automatically qualify for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup (held in India from October 6th through the 28th), and second and third place finishers will face off for the two remaining spots.