US Under 17s sitting pretty in World Cup qualifying

Published Thursday, March 5, 2015 9:30 PM by Shane Barrow
US Under 17s sitting pretty in World Cup qualifying

Things just could not be going any better for the US Under 17 National Team as they progress through the qualifying tournament for the Under 17 World Cup.  Three wins from three and top notch performances in each match.

The format for the tournament showed the Americans in a group of six teams along with Cuba, Trinidad, Guatemala, host Honduras and Jamaica.  Win the group and you earn a spot in the upcoming World Cup.  Finish 2nd or 3rd and go into a four team playoff for two more spots.

The team opened with a resounding 5-0 victory against an overmatched Cuba.  Joe Gallardo notched a hat trick on the day.  Next up was Trinidad who went equally quietly 2-0.  Haji Wright and Gallardo were the goal scorers.

After the two opening wins, Coach Richie Williams made a whopping seven changes to the starting lineup for the game with Guatemala.  A big risk of a move, but one for which the coach was richly rewarded.  The new boys came out flying and within 18 minutes they already were two goals ahead of a stunned Guatemala side.  An early freekick by Josh Perez was followed ten minutes later by a left footed shot for his second goal of the night.

Guatemala fought back though forcing a wonderful save from keeper Will Pulisic.  The resulting corner was struck off the crossbar and the Americans survived with their two goal lead.  Just before halftime it was 3-0 when Christian Pulisic earned a penalty kick.  Josh Perez put home the spot kick and finished his first half hat trick.  Pierre DaSilva added a goal after the break and the US cruised to a 4-1 victory.  The goal conceded ended a shutout streak that had reached over four hours.

The win leaves the US on top of the group with nine points.  Hosts Honduras defeated Jamaica tonight to push them to seven points setting up the big showdown with the US on Sunday.  A win or tie from the Americans and they will only need to beat Jamaica in their final group match to earn a World Cup berth.  A loss to Honduras and they will most likely have to go through the playoff.