USA-Colombia Game Report: Loss creates more difficult path for Americans at U-17 World Cup

After starting the U-17 World Cup with two wins that clinched second-round passage, the USA fell, 3-1, to Colombia. A costly defeat, as it dropped the USA from first place in Group A to third place, which likely means a more formidable round-of-16 opponent and one or two days less rest before its next game.

Oct. 12 in Navi Mumbai, India
USA 1 Colombia 3
Goals: Acosta (Carleton) 24, Vidal 3, Penaloza 67, Caicedo (Penaloza) 87.
Att.: 22,263

A bad start, fleeting recovery
Colombia took a 1-0 lead in the 3rd minute on flukish goal that started with Andres Cifuentes’ long throw-in. It flew over the aerial battle between Josh Sargent and Guillermo Tegue, and bounced right in front of and past Chris Durkin. While Jaylin Lindsey challenged futilely, Leandro Campaz appeared to knock the ball on with his back or arm before Juan Vidal pounced to strike from three yards past goalkeeper Justin Garces, who had stayed on his line.

The USA played its best soccer of the game for next 20 minutes and equalized in the 24th minute. Jorge Acosta with one touch slammed home an 11-yard shot after Andrew Carleton beat two Colombians and delivered a low pass across the penalty area. From then on, however, the Colombians played more swiftly and more effectively.

Defensive lapses
In addition to the inability of a crowd of U.S. players to cope with the long throw-in that led to the first Colombian goal, reckless defending led to Colombia’s go-ahead goal, a Juan Penaloza free kick that was awarded after Jaylin Lindsey and Sergino Dest clashed into Etilso Martinez on both sides. On the Colombia’s third goal, the strike that relegated the USA to a third-place finish, Penaloza hit a low pass that three U.S. defenders failed to interfere with on its way to a completely unmarked Deiber Caicedo the corner of the goal area for a close-range shot into the net.

The big difference
Striking was that when the Colombians had the ball they were able evade U.S. pressure with precise, quick short passes. The U.S. players struggled in the crowded areas of the field. Only with the Colombians surging in hope of bettering their goal difference, did the U.S. threaten, with counterattacks. The USA nearly got the goal that would have moved it into second place, but Tim Weah shot high and Ayo Akinola took a bad touch when Weah served him up yards from goal.

Josh Sargent’s struggles
The Silver Boot winner at the U-20 World Cup has scored only once in the three games, converting a penalty kick in the opening 3-0 win over India. His best chance in the 1-0 win over Ghana came when his chested ball was saved. Sargent was unable to shed his Colombian markers and didn’t get the service needed to unleash his usually lethal shots.

U.S. coach John Hackworth said:
“I give a tremendous amount of credit to Colombia because I thought they came out in the second half and played very well. And they pressed hard. We didn’t handle that particularly great. But we got it going, and then we gave up two goals that had nothing to do with their press and nothing to do with us playing out of the back.

“I thought you had two teams that play a similar style, that are both aggressive on both sides of the ball. And honestly I think in transition was where this game was won and lost. I think we are a good team in transition. We just didn’t have those moments tonight. We’re in a bad spot now because if we scored on one of the chances we had at the end there, we’re sitting in a different place.”

• Depending on the results of the final games in other groups, the USA will face either Group B winner Paraguay on Monday or the Group C winner on Tuesday. Paraguay has beaten 2015 runner-up Mali (3-2), New Zealand (4-2) and Turkey (3-1). Iran currently leads Group C after wins of Guinea (3-1) and Germany (4-0).

U-17 WORLD CUP: TV schedule, standings and results

NOTABLE: The USA last reached the knockout stage of the biennial U-17 World Cup in 2011, when it fell, 4-0, to Germany.

Oct. 12 in Navi Mumbai, India
USA 1 Colombia 3
Goals: Acosta (Carleton) 24, Vidal 3, Penaloza 67, Caicedo (Penaloza) 87.
USA — Garces, Lindsey, Gloster, Sands, Durkin, Akinola, Sargent, Carleton (Reyes, 69), Dest, Acosta (Ferri, 78), Goslin (Weah, 87).
Colombia — Mier, Cifuentes, Tegue, Gutierrez, Perea, Campaz (Mejia, 46), Gomez (Meneses, 56), Penaloza, Caicedo, Vidal, Martinez.
Yellow cards: none
Referee: Artur Dias (Portugal)
Att.: 22,263

Stats: USA/Colombia
Shots: 8/10
Shots on Goal: 3/6
Saves: 3/2
Corner Kicks: 5/5
Fouls: 8/16
Offside: 2/1
Possession: 48%/52%

15 comments about "USA-Colombia Game Report: Loss creates more difficult path for Americans at U-17 World Cup".
  1. Ben Myers, October 12, 2017 at 5:20 p.m.

    Didn't see the game.  It bothers me that the US U-17s had trouble playing in tight spaces.  Sound familiar?  All too much a characteristic of US internationals.  The message here is that  the people who develop our wannabe elite players, need to work on play in tight spaces against quick opponents, because that is what international soccer is about in any age grouping.  Crisper passing.  One touch and two touch.  Confidence to take on and beat 1v1 with dribbling.

  2. Andrew Kear replied, October 12, 2017 at 6:33 p.m.


    This brings me back to something I said a few months ago. US players should hone their juggling skills in their free time. Juggling gives the players a self-awareness of where the ball is in relation to the rest of their body. Most expert jugglers are excellent dribblers. Watch Messe juggle a soccer ball. I believe every high school varsity player should be required (not forced) to juggle a soccer ball at least 400 times.


    Omar own goal a few nights ago was due to poor ball control. Maybe if he practiced juggling more that own goal would have been either a clearance or trap.


    I think basic ball control is the issue here. You might think what I am saying is a little outlandish, but it does make sense if you think about it. 


  3. James Madison, October 12, 2017 at 5:22 p.m.

    Short sharp passing. Something US players need to learn.

  4. beautiful game, October 12, 2017 at 7:31 p.m.

    Carleton's assist was superb, took on defenders, never rushed and delivered a killer pass...that's quality. As for the throw-in goal; letting the ball bounce in the box is asking for trouble.

  5. Goal Goal, October 12, 2017 at 11:48 p.m.

    I wish these kids the best but they are going to have the same problem that the men's national team had.  When they get to the best of the best U-17 teams they will not be able to handle the competition.  

  6. glenn kastrinos, October 12, 2017 at 11:53 p.m.

    Juggling is important but I have seen many players who could juggle all day long but couldn't play a lick of soccer. There are plenty of free style soccer players who are fantastic with the ball in the air but don't have what it takes to be a soccer player.

  7. K Michael replied, October 13, 2017 at 8:54 a.m.

    Being able to juggle does not make you a great soccer player; but, I will say that any great soccer player can juggle.  

  8. Gus Keri, October 13, 2017 at 8:54 a.m.

    What a few days for US soccer going from Euphoria to dispair on two fronts. The USMNT was on a high after Panama win to be eliminated from the world cup by T&T with the worst possible scenario. The U-17 went from the high of beating Ghana to be the first team to qualify to the knock-out round to a defeat by Colombia to end up in third place with the worst possible scenario also. For some unknown reason, US soccer fortunes were reversed on Monday night. Destiny.

  9. Andrew Kear replied, October 23, 2017 at 12:53 a.m.

    US soccer reminds me of General Motors in that try to compete with the Germans (BMW, etc), but always fall short. This happens despite GM being a huge company with infinite resources. GM has become an emblem of mediocrity just like the USMNT. Obviously, just pouring money into a cause is not going to give you results. American players lack refinement just like GM cars do compared to their German counterparts. 

  10. PJ , October 13, 2017 at 3:45 p.m.

    Not juggling... futsal. The essence of futsal is short, crisp passing in tight spaces. 

  11. Andrew Kear replied, October 23, 2017 at 12:33 a.m.

    Juggling and futsal go hand in hand.

    Look I am trying to find out why the US is rubbish at soccer again. After that utter debacle in Trinidad how can the US in good conscience host the 2026 world cup. US soccer has little credibility after missing two Olympics and now missing the World Cup.

    The last time the US did not qualify for the world cup Ferris Buelers day off and Aliens were in the theaters. 

  12. Gio Gonzalez, October 14, 2017 at 1:12 a.m.

    Colombia  was definitely the hungrier team. US looked lethargic. Hackworth is correct that the Colombian goals were not scored from the press or from lapses in transition. However they were scored due to lapses in defensive concentration . First goal - ball should have been cleared by Durkin before the bounce. Second goal came from a free kick very close to the box which was caused by a needless hack of the Colombian player by Dest and Lindsey. Third goal - no one covering the player by the far post - probably due to fatigue as Colombia was quicker, stronger and technically better with US chasing the ball a lot. Did the boys get dysentery or mild food poisoning in India ? India can be a harsh place if you're not careful about what you eat. 

  13. Jay Wall, October 16, 2017 at 7:45 p.m.

    "A player who juggles the ball in the air during a game, gives their opponents the time to run back. That is the player people think is great. I say he belongs in a circus." Johan Cruyff, Manager and Player, Ajac and F.C. Barcelona.
    In the early 1980's I hired a visiting U17 National Team Coach from Latin America to work with U13 boys. He placed the boys in two rows 5 yards apart and 5 yards from their teammates to both sides in each row. He had them move maintaining exact distance from each other while walking, then jogging, then running; moving forwards, backwards and to the sides; then passing and doing other skills from one end of the field to the other and back with one row moving forward and their partners backwards for two hours.
    The finish shocked the boys. Both rows faced the parking lot at one end of the field. The line closest to the parking lot each lifted a ball, juggled it three times and ficked it over their head to their teammate behind them who caught the ball in the air juggled it three times flciking it over their head as their temmate who started the exercise ran behind them 5 yards to receive the ball. The boys were to juggle from one end of the field to the other and back without the ball touching the ground.
    That year the boys learned to do this. In warmups in out of area tournaments they went from one side of the field to the other and back with all balls in the air never touching the ground to gain a mental advanyage over most opponents. In games when appropriate they would triple juggle and flick knowing a teammate was moving to be be open 5 yards behind them.
    They never learned to juggle 400 time to improve touch without pressure, so they could juggle in a circus.
    <strong>They learned teamwork, self discipline, spacing, timing, movement, to do everything under pressure and for an absolutely specific purpose</strong>, so they played better in school, some in college, two overseas.

  14. Andrew Kear replied, October 23, 2017 at 12:46 a.m.

    Nobody really juggles a ball in a game. Juggling helps in other aspects of the game like trapping, heading, and dribbling.

    The story you conveyed is evident why South America is so much better at soccer.

  15. Eric Dibella, October 17, 2017 at 9:33 p.m.

    In retrospect, it turned out pretty good because Colombia had to play Germany and we got to play Paraguay.

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