[USA-HAITI: Reaction] U.S. under-17 national team coach Richie Williams said his players did a great job for their first time out, their 3-0 win over Haiti to open the Concacaf U-17 Championship.
"A lot of times the first game of a tournament is difficult, with a little bit of nerves," Williams said. "I thought that the guys did a very good job and we got a result. That’s important.”
Williams said he wasn't surprised about the pressure the Haitians provided, particularly in the first half before Christopher Lema's opening goal.
“No, not surprised at all," he said. "I’ve played against Haiti when I played for the national team and you saw Haiti in the U-20 qualifying and they have a lot of talent. They’re athletic, they’re strong, they’re fast and they can play. They’re definitely a difficult team to play against. We tried to make sure our guys were aware, and early in the first half they came at us with pace. We thought if we kept our composure, we passed better and kept our shape a little bit better we would get our opportunities, which we did. After our defense settled down, I don’t think we gave them too much to look at in front of the goal.”
Williams was impressed with Lema, who scored the game’s first two goals.
“Chris had a great game for us," he said. "He was very good on the ball, very good passing, was able to link up our defenders with our attackers, obviously took the penalty and had a nice second goal. He was very good tonight. Chris has been improving with our group from Day 1. He’s a valuable player for us and it’s great to see him grow as a player and to go out and score some goals for us.”