Photo by ISIphotos.com
By ADAM SERRANO
The United States Under-17 team got off to a fast start in their FIFA U-17 World Cup campaign with an impressive 3-0 victory over the Czech Republic Sunday night in Torreon, Mexico.
Goals from midfielders Alejandro Guido, Esteban Rodriguez and forward Alfred Koroma were the difference as the Americans opened group play with a win for the first time since 2005. Battling triple-digit heat and the hostile locals, who supported the Europeans, the Americans were convincing in their victory.
Guido opened the scoring in just the fifth minute of play after a Czech turnover in midfielder. The San Diego native then launched an audacious left-footed strike from distance that was too much for the Czech goalkeeper to handle. The Czechs had their best opportunity in the 38th minute, when goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh made a series of close range saves that preserved the Americans lead going into the half.
The Americans doubled their lead in the 52nd minute when forward Paul Arriola found Rodriguez on the edge of the 6-yard box. Rodriguez easily buried the strike to make it 2-0.
Koroma, a late substitute, added a third goal after a tremendous individual effort in the 89th minute that put the exclamation point on the Americans' performance. Following the match, head coach Wilmer Cabrera was all smiles about the play of his young team.
"They played the game, made themselves feel comfortable, and got the result by playing well," Cabrera said. "That's important and that's going to give us confidence to continue improving throughout the tournament. The Czech Republic is a great team and that’s why we played the game very seriously, very hard. We never tried to change our script."
The United States will now take on Uzbekistan on Wednesday. The Uzbeks fell to New Zealand, 4-1, in their group opener on Sunday. A victory over Uzbekistan would allow the United States to secure passage to the second round.
Here are highlights from the match:
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