Under-17 World Cup: USA vs. Malawi (Matchday Commentary)

U.S. Crest

The U.S. Under-17 men's national team takes the field today looking to rebound from its Under-20 World Cup opening loss to Spain. The Americans take on Malawi (11am, ESPNU) knowing that a loss would cripple their chances to progress.

The U.S. team didn't play terribly against Spain, but its 2-1 loss was still extremely disappointing considering the fact that it held a man advantage for 88 minutes and squandered a handful of clear chances. Malawi lost to the United Arab Emirates, 2-0, in its opening match.

I will be providing commentary throughout the match so please feel free to follow along here. As always, you are welcome to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Commentary is after the jump).


FINAL– The United States will close out group play on Sunday against the United Arab Emirates. Kickoff is set for 10am. Be sure to check in to SBI for matchday commentary on that match. For now, feel free to share your thoughts on today's match after the jump. Thanks for folowing along.


FINAL– USA 1, Malawi 0. A rather weak performance by the United States is aided by one of the worst goalkeeper blunders you will see. A win is a win, but the Americans will need much better to advance past the group stage, much less do some damage in the group stage.

Wow, did Alex Shinsky really do a Peter Crouch-like robot dance after that goal? That's only funny if you're 6-10. Barf. Someone teach Shinsky the Stanky Leg.


90th Minute– ANOTHER Malawi offside call. I'm starting to wonder how legit these calls all are.

Three minutes of stoppage time left.


88th Minute– USA looks like a safe bet to hold on to this win, but today's performance doesn't instill a lot of confidence in their ability to beat the United Arab Emirates in the final group match.


87th Minute– In comes Boyd Okwuonu for Jared Watts.


86th Minute– Watts is hurt, looks likely to come off.


85th Minute– Can't we just bribe the CDC into linking vuvuzelas to some life-threatening disease? I'll donate $10 to that.


84th Minute– USA with ANOTHER corner.

Whoa, did all the vuvuzelas in the stadium stop at once? Did you enjoy that five seconds of silence?


83rd Minute– USA with a corner.


81st Minute– McInerney absolutely shanks the 23-yard free kick from the left side of the arc.


80th Minute– USA with a good free kick opportunity.


78th Minute– Edwards forced to tip away a Malawi free kick, the ensuing corner poses no threat.


76th Minute– Still 1-0 to the USA.


69th Minute– I know I said no drinking games, but anyone watching this game deserves some coffee to help stay awake. So a swig of coffee for every: Malawi offside, McInerney missed shot and goalkeeper blunder from here on out. That should wake everybody up.


66th Minute– Carlos Martinez is in for Alex Shinsky.


65th Minute– Carlos Martinez is coming into the match. Maybe now we'll see some spark to this American attack.


63rd  Minute– Another Malawi sub. Watts gives up a bad corner kick.


62nd Minute– Gil is definitely skillful on the ball, but we haven't seen nearly as much from him as I would have thought.


61st Minute– Malawi makes a sub, out comes a guy with ten offside calls against him, in comes a guy named Patience. No, really.


60th Minute– Gil sends a great pass across goal, but nobody is there. Americans wasting so many chances.


59th Minute– Are Andrew Craven and Steven Lenhart related? Good question.


59th Minute– McInerney gets a great look but sends it wide after trying to curl it into the far corner. He apparently missed the memo that you shoot it right at this keeper.


58th Minute– Another Malawi offside negates a nice counter.


56th Minute– Americans won't complain about how the goal came, but it figures that it would come off a Malawi error rather than any real American creativity.


55th Minute– Shinksey sent a volley from about 12 yards out right at the keeper's chest, and he manages to spill it and let it through his own legs. WOW.


54th Minute- GOAL USA!!!! Alex Shinsky with the goal, but it's a BAD blunder by the Malawi keeper. USA 1, Malawi 0.


53rd Minute– McInerney WIDE. Narrowly misses with a hard shot.

Andrew Craven is coming on for Victor Chavez.


53rd Minute– You know it's a bad game when the most impressive person on the field is the referee.


52nd Minute– Free kick from far out for the USA. Busacca doesn't miss a thing.


49th Minute– Malawi tries one from distance, but it's well high. Still a bit scary because you get the feeling Malawi will find one.


48th Minute– A sequence that sums up the USA attack. Gil to McInerney, to nobody because he's triple-teamed.


47th Minute– If the Americans don't find the net by the 60th minute, Cabrera has to consider inserting Martinez and/or Jerome.


46th Minute– Shinsky's early shot is blocked for a corner.


46th minute– And we're back.


HALFTIME– So what's the deal with the USA attack (Seinfeld voice)? The midfield just isn't generating much. Shinsky's got a good motor, but doesn't really create dangerous chances, and Gil faded a bit in the second part of the first half. McInerney is being forced to drop back looking for some service, which is limiting his effectiveness. Wilmer Cabrera may be forced to remove Palodichuk for a more dynamic midfielder like Carlos Martinez, who has the creative spark and quickness to create some chances for Gil and McInerney.


HALFTIME– USA 0, Malawi 0. Americans controlled most of the first half, but don't score. Malawi has to be happy.


45th Minute– One minute of stoppage.


43rd Minute– WOW, USA dodged a bullet, Malawi with a clear look in the area but it's blocked by Zavaleta.


40th Minute– A Chavez ball in is caught easily by the keeper. Chavez has some good size, and decent quickness, but just isn't doing much to create space for himself.


38th Minute– Malawi tries to dive for a penalty but Busacca's better than that.


37th Minute– USA needs something offensively, something a bit more dynamic up top. Stefan Jerome had his chance vs. Spain and missed his chances, while sources tell me John Agudelo isn't in the best standing with head coach Wilmer Cabrera. Not sure where the spark will come from, but the Americans need one ASAP.


35th Minute– Malawi threatens with a pass in the penalty area, but the USA avoids the danger despite Edwards getting caught off his line. Telling you, the longer this stays scoreless, the more you get the feeling Malawi will steal one and take a lead.


32nd Minute– McInerney goes wide with a header. Not a bad look, but still not enough to really trouble Malawi.


31st Minute– We're a third into this game and the Americas have controlled play, but have nothing to show for it. Not a good sign.


29th Minute– Almost every Malawi possession ends in an offside call or weak shot from distance.


28th Minute– The USA's passing is getting sharper. Another corner comes.


26th Minute– Now the USA gets called for an offside. It's contagious.


25th Minute– Malawi called for offside AGAIN. Do they have linesmen in Malawi?


25th Minute– USA still controlling the play, but can't get the final pass connected yet.


21st Minute– Malawi is whistled offside a second straight time. It's offense is struggling to ge much possession.


18th Minute– Malawi's keeper is down after a tough challenge from McInerney, who challenged for a ball with a high boot. He gets a yellow for his trouble.


17th Minute– Malawi with a decent look but an attempted near-post shot finds the side-netting.

Here is the USA lineup:







15th Minute– USA take it short and Alex Shinskey tries to curl it inside the far post, but misses wide. Shinsky's a very active player, but hasn't been overly effective this tournament.


14th Minute– Another USA corner.


13th Minute– The referee today is Swiss ref Massimo Busacca, who reffed the 2009 UEFA Champions League final. Not a bad ref to have for a youth match.


11th Minute– Gil's corner can't find a head.

Good thing USA corners isn't a drinking game today.


11th Minute– ANOTHER USA corner.


10th Minute– Corner taken short, and cross is then blocked, leading to a Malawi break. USA catch up, but not before Edwards is forced into a good save.


9th Minute– USA with more of the possession early and draw another corner, this time it's the left corner.


7th Minute– McInerney and Gil looking sharp early. USA earns a free kick from about 35 yards out toward the right side.


6th Minute– The second corner was wasted. Great save by the Malawi keeper on McInerney, who hit a strong header from close range.


6th Minute– SAVE Malawi off a McInerney header, another USA corner coming.


5th Minute– Malawi give up a pretty soft corner after a Jack McInerney long pass sent at Chavez. USA corner.


4th Minute– Malawi with a shot from distance saved easily by Edwards.


3rd Minute– Eriq Zavaleta and Victor Chavez are the new USA starters from the Spain game, with Perry Kitchen and Stefan Jerome on the bench.


2nd Minute– Corner goes long and is cleared.


1st Minute– Gil does well early. Several changes to the USA lineup. corner coming.


1st Minute– Good stuff early on for the USA, earning a corner.


1st Minute– We are underway. Lineups to come.

This entry was posted in U.S. Youth National Teams, Under-17 World Cup. Bookmark the permalink.

109 Responses to Under-17 World Cup: USA vs. Malawi (Matchday Commentary)

  1. Rory says:

    Anyone know the webpage where it’s being broadcast outside of ESPN360.com (legal disclaimer, I just want to make sure I don’t accidently watch it on that webpage so I can block it–wouldn’t want to break any laws).

  2. Nothing to worry about. justin.tv had a silent broadcast but they took it down. Thank goodness.

  3. Rory says:

    Wooo… that was close. Also, it’s a good thing atdhe.net is showing october 31st’s schedule and not todays.

  4. Rory says:

    Oh NO! I hear atdhe.net is up and broadcasting. They just have the wrong date at top but have listed all kinds of stuff for today.

  5. Rory says:

    6 US corners already!

  6. Rory says:

    Jack Mc with a Yellow card. Not cool… he’s pretty important to us. Anyone else hate that GK’s go down if they are grazed?

  7. Smacking says:

    That was a bit more than a graze.

  8. Rory says:

    Has Malawaii even heard of the offsides trap?

  9. Rory says:

    Yeah it was… sorry, two unrelated thoughts rammed together actually as I hadn’t seen the foul (stupid streaming).

  10. Thomas says:

    McInerney plays lazy. Like Berbatov without the sick skills.

  11. Rory says:

    US passing in traffic looks crisp.

  12. rory says:

    Duran has Clint Dempsey’s syndrom… “Look at my fancy trick… ball goes up, I juggle it, oh look I lost it”

  13. smokeminside says:

    Rory, I was going to look for the online feed and ignore this thread but you’re a lot more fun.

  14. Thomas says:

    Our possession looks great until we get into the attacking third.

  15. Rory says:

    Remember how this summer everyone defending the South African horns insisted that the reason they sounded bad at the Confed cups was that there were to many of them?

    Yeah well, it sounds like someone has one horn in the crowd and it sounds more annoying then ever.

  16. agnirgin says:

    Chavez needs to sit…

  17. Rory says:

    Of course it’s probably an American with an airhorn.

  18. Judging Amy says:

    Hahaha so true.

  19. smokeminside says:

    a broken one of those horns with a mute in it would be one too many

  20. Judging Amy says:

    Two bad touches in a row for this Shinsky fellow. How’d he look last game?

  21. Marco says:

    Gil looks pretty good.

  22. Judging Amy says:

    yeah isn’t jerome supposed to be altidore 2.0?

  23. Rory says:

    Maybe if we all totally trash a random US player then he will come through and score a goal? I call that the Ownby effect.

  24. smokeminside says:

    this is like the last match…no shots with authority…

  25. BrooklynFC says:

    live feeds?

  26. Judging Amy says:

    Yawn to this half…

  27. rory says:

    That half went by quick considering nothing happened.

  28. Alex says:

    no right wing play for the U.S. Very one dimensional

  29. rory says:

    I’ll give him credit, the idiot with the horn keeps playing even though it’s halftime.

  30. This Guy says:

    Why is Martinez not starting any of these matches?

  31. Rory says:

    Judging from the picture, I’d say Alex’s siamese twin is really undergrown.

    Just kidding you Alex. Good analysis. But did you miss Duran’s little trick footwork out there on the right wing? It was so sweet I almost didn’t mind him losing the ball immediately… almost.

  32. Smacking says:

    I think the US needs to be more patient in the final third. They seem to be rushing shots, crosses and awkward lobs at the keeper.

  33. buckmark1 says:

    same old US….. nobody can find the back of the net…. it is definitely a systemic problem as every US team has the same trouble.

  34. Rory says:

    Even though my stream is showing nothing but kids playing on the field, this is still better then watching MLS halftime shows (except dogs catching frisbees day).

  35. Rory says:

    For your halftime entertainment, click on my link in my name to see the funniest video on Youtube.

  36. Rory says:

    It’s almost as if American youngsters don’t play soccer much.

  37. Marco says:

    We’ve already thouroughly discussed the disgusting illegle live feeds.

  38. rory says:

    don’t hate the horn, hate the player.

  39. madmax says:

    Ownby was rubbish, even when he scored. Don’t put that curse on any U-17, please.

  40. Army of Dad says:

    Good thing Malawi offsides isn’t a drinking game!

  41. JL says:

    Odd that Kitchen was the captain last game according to the US matchtracker, but was subbed at half and not playing today. And I am surprised Martinez hasn’t been given a chance, I thought he was one of the top players.

  42. madmax says:

    McInerney never knows what he’s going to do before receiving ball then takes way too many touches. This is not a good side.

  43. Rory says:

    Who writes the little chatter the announcer give? It’s like my granddad going on about the age of people nowadays… “how old is cousin Timmy nowadays, Rory?” “He’s 12 gramps.” “12? wow… I thought he was younger” “Nope gramps, he’s still 12, just like he was last week when you asked me.”

  44. Frank says:

    Its blatantly obvious that US teams at all ages are clearly inferior technically to other nations. While we are usually more athletic and well oraganized, our simple technical abilities are attrocious. It could not be more frustrating.

  45. Rory says:

    GOAL by Malawiian keeping incompetence.

  46. Rory says:

    “Malawiian Keeping Incompetence” is cleary our best player on the field.

  47. madmax says:

    Rory you got your wish, the new Ownby, Shinski scores.

  48. Rory says:

    It’s a good thing nobody ever told Malawii about the offside rule.

  49. rory says:

    All the credit shoudl go to judging amy for criticizing Shinsky.

  50. jim b says:

    Thank you for that. That’s what I call a halftime show!

  51. DC Josh says:


  52. DC Josh says:

    Reason no. 35 I’m not going to the World Cup in South Africa: Vuvuzelas.

  53. buckmark1 says:

    as a parent who had a son who played in ODP it became obvious that the youth systems play too many games and do very little technical training. My son’s traveling team would practice twice a week then play 5-6 games in a weekend tournament. The other factor in my opinion is that American kids don’t grow up playing 2v2 and 3v3 pickup games like kids do elsewhere. I now live in Honduras and the kids here play little pickup games all day and develop awesome individual technical abilities.

  54. madmax says:

    Judging Amy is correct, Shinski really is terrible, missing two 5 meter passes by 5 meters.

  55. DC Josh says:

    USA playing down to their competition…

  56. rory says:

    Didn’t the US thrash the african champs a while back?

  57. Yossarian says:

    Good thing Gyau couldn’t make the team. Clearly we have plenty of finishers.

  58. rory says:

    Points for creativity. I never knew there were so many ways to blow open shots… or worse yet, to not even get the ball towards the goal.

  59. rory says:

    We can’t even get a decent shot off in 2 on 1 situations.

  60. Tom says:

    craven is not very good. and how did they just blow a two-on-none?

  61. madmax says:

    What terrible play and long touches in front of goal, and they all do it, the 3 yard touch.

  62. rory says:

    Craven is horrible… get him off the pitch (Ownby effect, please let there be another Ownby effect).

    and I seriously hope no European scouts are watching this.

  63. Uhhh says:

    McInerny is not very good.

    Unless Malawi gives us another goal, we are in trouble.

  64. rory says:

    McInerny has looked good at times. Like during the National Anthem for example.

  65. madmax says:

    Cabrera could do USMNT a great favor if he could teach US attackers to keep the ball at their feet on attack.

  66. Rory says:

    Lets see how we blow this corner.

  67. Marco says:

    I hope Renkin and the other two are off somewhere being coached on how to play soccer.

  68. Rory says:

    Just so you guys know… I’ve liveblogging my 3:00 Lecture on the history of witchcraft accusations in Europe and Ives has agreed to totally dominate the comment section with snarky comments and general ass-foolitry. Just thought it would be fair and all.

  69. dman says:

    On a side note, anyone with FIFA 10 on the PS3 want to start a league? I really want to get one together with about 7 or so other people

    If so add my on PS3 –> dsadgrass23

  70. Judging Amy says:


  71. rory says:

    Where you been Amy, we owe you for the Shinsky goal.

  72. Judging Amy says:

    haha thanks.

  73. Rory says:

    Why are the horn players always the type to stay to the very end of the game?

  74. Judging Amy says:

    i was asleep until the vuvuzelas woke me up.

  75. Rory says:

    18 offsides for Malawii… I’m pretty sure one of their forwards pitched a tent in our box and camped out there overnight.

  76. madmax says:

    Now I know why Shinski starts, Craven. This game is a great reason to disband the academy, poor soccer skills.

  77. Adrian says:

    i don’t think i’ve seen that many offsides in a long time

  78. fischy says:

    Well in….

  79. Rory says:

    In other news, the New York RedBull have just signed Malawii’s goalkeeper.

  80. Alex says:

    my mini assessment for the match and so far in the tourney

    Gil needs to be more selfish with the ball and take on defenders instead of the extra pass.

    Also no right wing play for the US. I don’t remember one cross coming from that side that was from any build up.

    Majority of the players especially Herold turn the ball over too easily.

    No target player on the squad

  81. jig says:

    because he’s not very good?

  82. Aaron in StL says:

    Man Ives…easy on the negativity. Barf? Must be a scummy day up there in the northeast.

    (SBI-It was a bad game, and a bad dance, and it’s a pretty nice day up here.)

  83. Sean M says:

    The only players out of this squad I can see going pro are Gil and Duran,maybe also Polak as well.Jack Mac has been very dissapointing so far.

  84. Rory says:

    Damnit… I dominate the post total all game and MadMax comes in at the end and wins the game with “Now I know why Shinski starts, Craven.”

  85. Igor says:

    We want Agudelo!

  86. jig says:

    i agree, craven is miserable

  87. Miss MAry says:

    Alex Shinsky is a very talented young man with great passion and dedication to soccer. I am glad that God is blessing his life. The team would not have won this game without his goal.

    It is sad people have to criticize the successes of others.

    GO USA

  88. rory says:

    I guess he was too busy twittering to make the team bus.

  89. rory says:

    That’s because last week we were awarding captaincy to whoever had the coolest name, this week we’re going by whoever has the coolest hair.

  90. rory says:

    No, but if you live in Western Kentucky you can come get schooled at it on PS2.

  91. Rory says:

    Really? I see a slew of MLS players out there.

  92. fischy says:

    My 2 cents — Without question, the best American out there is Tyler Polak. I can’t remember ever being that impressed with a USA left back…ever. Is 2014 too soon to get him into the USMNT program?

    The rest of the team: Jared Watts looks like he will develop into a strong CB. He can defend, and he’s confident with the ball. I’m having a hard time finding positives to add about others. Edwards could be a good goalie. Chavez clearly has the athletic ability and soccer skills, but his decision-making was terrible. McInerney – hard to say. Has some skills and decent positioning sense. His shooting isn’t very good, but maybe that will come. Craven’s touch was abominable. Hope he was having an off day, because otherwise it’s hard to see what he’s doing at this level. Gil isn’t nearly as good as advertised. Duran has some serious ball skills, but how far can he go at that size? You have to a magician with the ball to make up for not being able to play in the aerial game.

    Rongen had better got on a plane and start mending fences with Lletget, Gyau and Renken. We’ll need them in the fold, as these guys mature. Start with the U20s.

  93. fischy says:

    Ummm…that should be “get on a plane”.

  94. Rory says:

    Seriously, I hate being rough on a bunch of kids younger then some guys on the high school team I coach. I hate it, but it’s funny sometimes.

    They should be proud they found a way to win despite a less then stellar performance. I imagine they were pretty uptight following the Spain loss despite being a player up.

    We had some rough finishing but we could say it’s good we got so many looks at goal. Also, the defense played the offside trap perfectly. And our goalie did his job nicely too.

    Good luck next game Boys…

  95. Rory says:

    Does making the ball disappear from you count as being a magician? Cause if so…

  96. rory says:

    I can see why Gil is highly thought of though, he had a couple flashes there when he was running right at the defenders and looked pretty Donovan-esque.

  97. Rory says:

    They are all obviously amongst the best we have in our country at their age level. I’m sure some of them just had a bad day.

    Shinsky stayed with the play and a lot of players (even some of the best skilled in the world) would have given up and started back up field).

  98. fischy says:

    Well said….

  99. Haig says:

    “In other news, the New York RedBull have just signed Malawii’s goalkeeper.”

    Uh, Rory, what? NY’s problem has never been in goal. In fact, historically they have typically had the best GKs in the league. If you had DC United, it might have been an mildly funny and relevant point, but instead you made a lame and worthless point.

  100. WK says:

    Spain is up 2-0 over UAE in the 23rd. looks like a draw in our last match will be all we need to go thru, if the goals keep coming for spain.

  101. madmax says:

    i feel sorry for the players. I suspect many had better skills before going to the Academy. How can a ten yard square pass be such an adventure? Not picking on you, Shinsky and Craven.

  102. Green76 says:

    61st Minute- Malawi makes a sub, out comes a guy with ten offside calls against him, in comes a guy named Patience. No, really.

    I missed the game but got a good laugh from this line in the commentary. Thanks Ives!

  103. This Guy says:

    I’m glad to see Kentucky has electricity these days but PS2? I play you on my Sega DreamCast instead.

  104. Brett says:

    Two players really stood out. Polak and Palodichuk. Everyone else was ‘bleh’. Even Gil was disappointing… I liked his close-quarters play and skill but his passing, decisions, and off the ball runs were less than adequate.

  105. chg says:

    In regards to the 85th minute comment, there’s a pretty high positive correlation between prevalence of vuvuzelas and national AIDs infection rate.

  106. JR says:

    Glad someone pointed out POLAK, the kid pretty much controlled the whole 2nd half. Got forward a lot and still had time to run back and shut down malawii’s counter attack.

    Play him at CM and watch him take over a game

  107. Andy in Atlanta says:

    Just to comment further… Malawi looked very bright against UAE…UAE scored on two extreme long range bombs… Malawi was the better team in that match… hopefully the US shreds UAE and moves on…the confidence to score will come eventually.

  108. Chris in Belfast says:

    I was in class while this game was being played, so I can’t make any visual verdicts, but it sounds from the commentary as though the boys held possession fairly well. Even if their bite in the final third was lacking, I think this is a pretty good sign. If these guys can get into a decent professional set-up and get good coaching they can learn that final ball. One thing we consistently complain about on here watching the senior team play is that the mid-field does a poor job in possession. Two games in a row from the young ones holding possession bodes well, even if it was against Malawi and a ten man Spain. Lets see how they do on possession against the UAE.

  109. madmax says:

    UAE gave Spain a tough game, very tough. I think UAE v USA is a toss up.