Keyrol Figueroa (right), the son of former Honduran national team star Maynor Figueroa, leads the USA in scoring with four goals. Photos: Concacaf.com.
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The USA is one win away from qualifying for the 2023 Under-17 Men's World Cup in Peru thanks to a 7-0 win over the Dominican Republic on Saturday.
The Americans will face host Guatemala in Guatemala City on Tuesday for one of Concacaf's four berths at the World Cup, which will be played Nov. 10-Dec. 2.
Coach Gonzalo Segares continued to rotate his squad, making nine changes from the team that beat Canada, 1-0, three days ago to sweep group play. All 20 players have played 151 to 271 minutes over the four games.
Chris Aquino, Keyrol Figueroa and Ezekiel Soto scored two goals apiece to lead the U.S. attack. Figueroa, the son of former Honduran national team star Maynor Figueroa, leads the USA in scoring with four goals. Micah Burton had the other goal on Saturday to give him two goals in three starts.
They are among six U.S. players with at least two goals at the Concacaf U-17 Men's Championship:
U.S. scorers ... Figueroa (Liverpool academy), 4 goals Cruz Medina (San Jose Earthquakes), 3 goals Aquino (Tacoma Defiance), 2 goals Burton (Austin FC academy), 2 goals Taha Habroune (Columbus Crew academy), 2 goals Soto (Houston Dynamo academy), 2 goals Paulo Rudisill (LA Galaxy academy), 1 goal
Rudisill had two assists against the Dominican Republic to give him a team-high three in the tournament. Adrian Gill (Barcelona Juvenil B), Brian Romero (Charlotte FC), David Vazquez (Philadelphia Union academy) and Habroune have two assists apiece, while Sawyer Jura (Portland Timbers academy), Soto and Figueroa have one.
Dominican Republic was playing its first match at the tournament after qualifying from a pre-tournament last summer involving Concacaf's lower ranked teams.
The match was settled midway through the first half when Aquino (below) scored a pair of goals, the first on a pass from Habroune and the second on a penalty kick after he was fouled in the area. Making his first start of the tournament, Figueroa padded the U.S. lead in stoppage time in the first half, scoring on a rebound after his initial shot banged off the woodwork.
Rudisill set up Figueroa and Burton for the fourth and fifth goals, while Soto, the only 2007-birthyear player on the U.S. team, was set up by fellow subs Gill and Romero for two late goals.
"It took us a little bit to sort out how to break them through," said Segares. "Once we moved the ball a little bit quicker, setting the tempo and pace, we were able to spread them out and it was a little easier to be able to take advantage of that. The boys came in even stronger in the second half and took advantage of the chances. We wanted to send a statement."
The win was the fourth in eight days for the U.S. U-17s.
"We have to make sure the boys are fresh," Segares added. "The rotations have been helping us a lot."