June 19, 2011
U.S. wins first game of U-17 World Cup
TORREON, Mexico Ė The U.S. opened the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup with a convincing 3-0 win against the Czech Republic on Sunday. Goals from midfielders Alejandro Guido and Esteban Rodriguez, as well as a late strike from substitute forward Alfred Koroma gave the USA three points in scorching three digit temperatures.
"It's a very important result for us because itís our first game of the tournament and against a great European team in Mexico," said U.S. head coach Wilmer Cabrera. "It's very positive for the kids. They were nervous like every kid, for sure. They played the game, made themselves feel comfortable, and got the result by playing well. Thatís important and thatís going to give us confidence to continue improving throughout the tournament. The Czech Republic is a great team and thatís why we played the game very seriously, very hard. We never tried to change our script."
With the win, the U.S. improved its record against European teams at the U-17 World Cup to 6-8-2. This was the first time the U.S. has won its opening game at the U-17 World Cup since 2005.
Guido opened the scoring in the fifth minute. The U.S. midfielder picked the pocket of Patrik Svoboda, and took one touch before firing a left-footed shot from 25 yards out that dipped under the crossbar and gave the Czech goalkeeper little chance.
The USA doubled its lead in the 51st when Paul Arriola picked the ball up from a USA throw-in and shimmied past his defender on the endline. Picking his head up, he found Rodriguez streaking into the box and cut it back for his onrushing teammate who slotted a one-time finish into the far post.
After coming on minutes earlier, Koromaís first involvement in the game saw him pick up a pass from Marc Pelosi in the 89th minute. Two stepovers later, Koroma went by two defenders and cracked a left-footed shot from 20 yards low to the far post to seal the USAís win.
The U.S. currently sits in second place in Group D behind New Zealand on goals scored. The Young All Whites powered to a 4-1 win against Uzbekistan earlier in the evening. The U.S. can secure a berth to the second round with a win against Uzbekistan on Wednesday, June 22. That match, also from Estadio Torreon, kicks off at 5 p.m. ET live on Galavision and ESPN3, and on tape delay on ESPNU.