The US bowed out of the U-17 World Cup with a whimper. They were thrashed by Holland 4-0 and eliminated from the tournament.
The US U-17’s were on the back foot from the start with Netherlands in control of the possession battle and pushing the US deep. However, the first couple decent chances went the way of the Stars and Stripes. The first quality chance came when Kobe Hernández-Foster delivered a lovely cross-field switch to find Joe Scally in space. Scally’s ensuing cross found Giovanni Reyna who’s glancing header missed just wide of the far post. A few minutes later, Reyna threatened again. A direct ball over the top found Reyna in space. With the keeper off his line, he laid it off to Andres Jasson who hesitated rather than taking advantage of the keeper’s mistake. The sequence eventually ended with Adam Saldaña whistling a shot from outside the 18 well wide. The Dutch started to take control from that point on. They eventually went in front in the 42nd minute through Sontje Hansen. He skipped around Andre Jasson, cut it back and delivered a left-footed strike under Adam Saldaña and past Chituru Odunze.
#U17TD ¡Países Bajos está dando la sorpresa !— Telemundo Deportes (@TelemundoSports) November 2, 2019
Sontje Hansen entra con facilidad al área, se quitó a dos defensas y mandó la pelota al fondo de las redes de @USYNT
Países Bajos 1-0 Estados Unidos pic.twitter.com/KjmaNCSZ4y
Raphael Wïcky made two changes at halftime. He replaced Ethan Dobbelaere with Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez and Adam Saldaña came off for Bryang Kayo. It didn’t help as the second half was just a complete demolition job by the Dutch U-17’s. In the 51st minute, Hansen struck again. A cutback pass from the left flank rolled across the penalty area as multiple US shirts failed to cut it out and Hansen lashed it home for his second goal.
With Holland in command, the US failed to show the requisite quality and/or fight to get themselves back in the match. In the 70th minute, Hansen roasted the US defense and laid it back for Mohamed Taabouni to beat Odunze.
A few minutes later Hansen was fouled in the box. Odunze produced the best US moment of the night when he saved the ensuing penalty. The fourth would still come though. In the 86th minute, a giveaway from Kayo caught the US out of position. After receiving the pass in the box, JJ Braaf cut around Odunze and scored to put up the exclamation point.
Kayo nearly pulled off a spectacular solo goal in the 89th minute, but was denied. The US lost 4-0, but it easily could have been worse.
What Went Right?
Very little went right. Odunze had that great save to deny a penalty. He also had a couple other very good saves in this match. Overall, he was pretty impressive behind a ragged defense in his two starts this tournament. Joe Scally displayed his ability to send in a gorgeous cross on a few occasions this tournament. Kobe Hernández-Foster showed his quality on the ball and his calm under pressure on many occasions over the three matches.
What Went Wrong?
Mostly everything went wrong tonight. George Bello had a few nice runs going forward, but he really struggled defensively in this match. Once again, the forward (in this case it was Gio Reyna and AOC) was disconnected from the rest of the team as the group struggled to build up and create danger. Gio Reyna had those two early chances, but he did nothing outside of that on either side of the ball. Gianluca Busio failed to make an impact again. Daniel Leyva worked really hard defensively and had a couple nice moments in possession, but the US didn’t get the level of play from him in this tournament that they needed to advance. The US was shut out again. In fact, they produced just one goal in their three matches and rarely looked dangerous in any of their games. The Netherlands made this win look very easy. They were in cruise control. The Dutch were the better team and had the better players by a country mile. If Raphael Wïcky is really being groomed to take over as the next Youth Technical Director, color me concerned because this team looked ill prepared and poorly set up.
After only picking up the one point against Japan, the US is knocked out of the tournament as they finished last in the group. Of course, several of the players in this group will move on to the U-20 level. They’ll head back to their clubs and look to improve as they continue to develop professionally. The next U-17 cycle will kick off with the Nike Friendlies in a few weeks when a new group will look to improve on this group’s results.
Hit the comment section to discuss your thoughts on the performance and/or the tournament as a whole. Thank you for reading.