Second win clinches U.S. U-17s a berth in championship

[AEGEAN CUP] The USA made it two wins in two days over European teams at the 2014 Mercedes Benz Aegean Cup in Turkey as Richie Williams' U-17s rallied from a 2-1 deficit to beat Norway, 5-2, and clinch a berth in Saturday's championship game.

Alexis Velela scored his first international goal to a break a 2-2 tie in the 50th minute, and the USA went on to add goals by Christian Pulisic (his second in two days and third in his last three international matches) and 15-year-old Nicholas Taitague. Elijah Rice and Orrin McKinzie Gaines, who was just added to U.S. Soccer’s Residency Program this semester, scored in the first half to sandwich a pair of goals by the Norwegians.

The USA opened with a 2-1 win over France on Monday. France and Scotland played to a 1-1 tie in Tuesday's other game, meaning neither team can catch the USA, which has six points in two games. Even if the USA loses to Scotland on Thursday and Norway, a 3-0 winner over Scotland in its opener, beats France, the USA would go through to the final by virtue of the head-to-head tiebreaker favored by UEFA.

Group A consists of Azerbaijan, Greece, Ukraine and host Turkey, whose 7-1 win over Azerbaijan on Tuesday moved it into first place with four points. Greece and Ukraine, which played to a 0-0 tie, have two points, while Azerbaijan has one.

Jan. 21 in Manisa
USA 5 Norway 2. Goals: Rice 21, McKinzie Gaines 40, Velela 47, C.Pulisic 50, Taitague 58; Saeter 27, Berge 35.
USA -- W.Pulisic; Nelson, Arellano, Dieterich, Velela (Olosunde, 54); McCabe, Panchot (De La Torre, 41), Taitague (Gallardo, 66), Vega (C.Pulisic, 41); Rice, McKinze Gaines (Wright, 41).
Norway -- Byttingsvik; Bredeli, Laudal, Carlyle (Barstad, 65), Aretun; Myre Aanesland, Habib, Saeter (Vassbakk Ajer, 41), Odegaard (Ontonsen, 73), Berge (Zeknini, 65); Helmersen (Risa, 65)

Jan. 20 in Turgutlu
USA 2 France 1. Goals: Gallardo 31, Pulisic (pen.) 80; Nordin 69.
USA -- W.Will Pulisic; Lara,Velela, Arellano, Olosunde (Dieterich, 79); Calvillo,  De La Torre (McCabe, 75), C.Pulisc, Da Silva (McKinze Gaines, 69); Gallardo, Wright.
France -- Maisonnial; Thiam, Bernauer, Crivello, Danger; Nordin, Septier (Livolant, 41); Dumai (Diani, 62), Javnvier (Roudaut, 76), Cognat (Belahmeur, 62); Pelican (Abdallah, 73)
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