Commentary

USA-Mexico: Concacaf U-17 Men's Championship Final Player Ratings

USA-MEXICO U-17 EXPRESS:
May 16 in Bradenton, Florida
USA 1 Mexico 2. Goals: Yow 9; Munoz 17, Luna 108.
Att.: 700.

Mexico won its fourth straight Concacaf U-17 Championship with a 2-1 overtime victory over the USA, which paid the price for missed chances during its first-half domination. After Griffin Yow gave the USA an early lead, Mexico equalized thanks to two USA products. Californian Efrain Alvarez delivered a perfectly lofted pass that Texan Santiago Munoz headed home. The 1-1 halftime score flattered the Mexicans, but they improved significantly in the second half and delivered the coup de grace with a swift counterattack early in the second overtime period. Both Mexico and the USA, plus semifinal losers Haiti and Canada, qualified for the 2019 U-17 World Cup.


USA Player Ratings
(1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)

GOALKEEPER

Damian Las had little time to react to Mexico's first goal, but the gamewinner bounced in off his thigh on a shot he may have been able to kick away had he stayed on his feet.

Player (Club) U-17 caps/goals (age)
4 Damian Las (Chicago Fire academy) 17/0 (17)

DEFENDERS

Tayvon Gray lost track of Munoz as Alvarez's pass floated over his head but made amends by assisting on the USA's goal. The U.S. backline stifled the Mexicans for much of the game, with right back Joe Scally winning battles against Bryan Gonzalez and the Gray-Kobe Hernandez-Foster central duo preventing close-range opportunities by Mexicans for most of the game. But both Scally and Hernandez-Foster had a chance to interfere on the winning goal but failed. Adam Armour's fouls were nearly costly. One gave Mexico a free kick that lead to a shot off the crossbar.

Player (Club) U-17 caps/goals (age)
4 Joe Scally (New York City FC) 18/1 (16)
4 Kobe Hernandez-Foster (LA Galaxy academy) 20/2 (16)
5 Tayvon Gray (New York City FC academy) 15/0 (16)
5 Adam Armour (North Carolina FC academy) 16/0 (16)

MIDFIELDERS

Adam Saldana and Danny Leyva get credit for the USA's edge in possession as they disrupted several attacks and both were smart with the ball. Levya also managed to surge forward without compromising his defensive duties. Two of Gianluca Busio's shots were deflected onto the post by Mexican goalkeeper Eduardo Garcia, but with nine shots on goal, Busio should have done better. Busio from central midfield, along with Gio Reyna on the left wing, orchestrated much of the USA's attack during a first-half performance that made it look like the USA was headed toward a victory. But both faded later in the game and their missed chances ended up being the difference between first and second place.

Player (Club) U-17 caps/goals (age)
6 Adam Saldana (LA Galaxy academy) 23/2 (17
7 Danny Leyva (Seattle Sounders) 7/0 (16)
5 Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City) 12/7 (16)

FORWARDS

Gio Reyna squandered the USA's biggest chance, hitting the crossbar from seven yards after receiving the ball totally unmarked in the 34th minute. Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez, who set up the big Reyna chance and a good opportunity for Busio, had just one shot on goal, which hit the side-netting. Griffin Yow's anticipation put him in the right spot to pounce and head in the USA's goal. His only other shot flew high from long range.

Player (Club) U-17 caps/goals (age)
6 Griffin Yow (D.C. United) 12/7 (16)
5 Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (Seattle Sounders) 21/9 (17)
5 Gio Reyna (unattached) 14/7 (16)

SUBSTITUTES

Coach Raphael Wicky waited rather long to use subs in the 120-minute game. Not until the second overtime did he make his last two changes. Ricardo Pepi added some spark to the U.S. frontline but late in overtime he shot to the Mexican keeper from a narrow angle instead of delivering a pass. Tyler Freeman had a long-range shot that went straight to the keeper.

Player (Club) U-17 caps/goals (age)
5 Ricardo Pepi (North Texas SC) 12/4 (16)
5 Tyler Freeman (Sporting Kansas City) 7/1 (16)
nr John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls academy) 7/0 (16)
nr Gilbert Fuentes (San Jose Earthquakes) 19/0 (17)

TRIVIA. After eight USA-Mexico meetings in the Concacaf U-17 Championship, the USA has won once, a 4-3 win during the group phase in 2017.

May 16 in Bradenton, Florida
USA 1 Mexico 2. Goals: Yow 9; Munoz 17, Luna 108.
USA -- Las; Scally, Gray, Hernandez-Foster, Armour (Tolkin, 105); Saldana (Fuentes, 116), Leyva, Busio; Yow (Pepi, 70), Ocampo-Chavez (Freeman, 80), Reyna.
Mexico -- Garcia, Ruiz, Guzman, R.Martinez, Lara, Pizzuto (J.Martinez, 51), Gonzalez, Mariscal (Ortega, 109), Alvarez (L.Martinez, 47), Luna, Munoz (Correa, 80).
Yellow cards: USA -- Armour 87; Mexico -- G.Martinez 59, Luna 119. Red cards: none.
Referee: Daneon Parchment (Jamaica).
Att.: 700.

Stats:
USA/Mexico
Shots: 24/18
Shots on target: 8/5
Saves: 3/7
Corner Kicks: 12/4
Fouls: 17/12
Offside: 0/2
Possession: 56%/44%

2 comments about "USA-Mexico: Concacaf U-17 Men's Championship Final Player Ratings".
  1. Eric Jensen, May 17, 2019 at 12:37 p.m.

    Good article. One interesting point (I think), that I haven't seen touched on a lot, is that after a dominant first half where the US had 65% position, something like 13 shots to 4, etc, Efrain Alvarez was subbed off by Mexico for the 2nd half. Not sure if MX made other changes at the half, but the 2nd half was much more in MX's favor. 

    Granted, EA had an amazing assist to another American playing for MX for their 1st half goal, but didn't see EA doing a whole lot else (he didn't look very mobile) and looking at the body of his work for the 1st half, wasn't that impressed. 

    IMO, the USA screwed up with the process through which EA went to MX but maybe the result is fine.

  2. Right Winger, May 17, 2019 at 1:01 p.m.

    You can't have a team depending on two players to be the answer to the attack when you are playing at this level.  What is going to happen when you get into the heat of the competition at cup time?  

    My question is why would US Soccer take 4 or 5 players from the U16 pool and move them to the U17 level when there is much better talent already in this age bracket who were bypassed.  Now the U16's are hurting as they move into their tournament.

    There were many players on this U17 that are assigned to MLS teams and I think we thought that would be the answer.  If they arent playing regularly they arent at the top of their game or in game shape and when push comes to shove they are getting shoved which is exactly what happened in the 2nd half.  We have so much talent playing over seas, England, Spain, Brazil regularly  at this age level who are playing everyday and being succesful and they were left under the table instead of on the table.   Of course these kids that played are top talent.  No question about it but are they the best talent.  How we identify talent always keeps me wondering.  Not this coach's fault.  He worked off the word of those who preceeded him.  He didn't have time.  I hope there is time to make adjustments with players or we are going to struggle.  We need players who can handle the ball, create plays that end up in the net.

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