Lema leads U.S. Under-17s to CONCACAF win vs. Haiti

Head Coach: Richie Williams


Photo by ISIPhotos.com


Head coach Richie Williams took his U.S. Under-17 squad to Panama last February so they’d get a feel for the playing environment. After one match, it looks like it was a good decision.

Christopher Lema scored two goals and Ahinga Selemani added another as the U.S. squad got off to a winning start in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship, defeating their Haitian counterparts 3-0 on Sunday night in Panama City.

Haiti had a very bright start to the match, finding spaces through the U.S. defense at ease, and frustrating the American midfielders. But once the U.S. settled in, it was a different story. Williams’ team really took control of the match when midfielder Corey Baird earned a penalty kick in the 24th minute. Lema stepped up to the spot two minutes later and coolly sent the Haitian goalkeeper Cleef Cadet the wrong way, placing the ball into the back of the net for a one-goal lead.

The U.S. kept up the pressure on either side of half time, and Lema got his second in the 73rd minute. The New York Red Bulls academy product got on the end of a snap back header from U.S. forward Rubio Rubin, and from the top of the box volleyed home a powerful strike into the net.

Selemani added a third goal in the 86th minute to put the game beyond reach of the Haitians. The Ann Arbor, Michigan native forced a turnover from a Haitian defender, getting the ball at the edge of the six-yard box, slamming past the Cadet into the net.

The U.S. next face Guatemala on April 11 for a chance to move on to the knockout stages of the competition.

What did you think of the match?

Share your thoughts below.


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14 Responses to Lema leads U.S. Under-17s to CONCACAF win vs. Haiti

  1. Alex says:

    Would like to see in the future youth world world cups held in the United States

    • dcpohl says:

      FIFA has a system of giving smaller countries that lack the ability to host a senior World Cup the youth one’s. Qatar obviously is an exception haha.

  2. Sarasota says:

    Joel Sonora is an exceptional talent!!! Lema, Rubio and Selemani were also very good offensively. I don’t see why Baird is playing ahead of Flores though. Shaq Moore looks great at right back.

    • whoop-whoop says:

      Sonora really did look good didn’t he. Partly Haiti’s fatigue, but US possession sure seemed to firm up when he came in. Very calm, skilled and put the ball in nice places.

      Anyone notice that they repeatedly called him “Señora”? Kid has probably heard that a time or two on the playground, but on National TV? Oh well… keeps playing like that, they’ll get his name right soon enough.

  3. Edwin in LA says:

    Yeah I wonder what is going on with Junior Flores…..I remember reading something about his productivity or work rate in the residency training and games had dipped a bit….hope he gets it together as he was one of the best and brightest stars from this group that has impressed ever since winning the 2011 Nike Winter Friendlies I think it’s called….Junior played a great tournament and really took it to Brazil

  4. Pingback: Haiti 0, USA 3: U-17 CONCACAF Championship match recap – Major League Soccer «

  5. Scout says:

    Why are there no players from Dalton on this team! Dalton, Georgia . . . Come on us soccer!

  6. WK says:

    Maybe he’s saving Flores for the later games/knock out round. Can’t believe we’d keep that talent on the bench unless he was injured.

    • Bobb says:

      Wrong. Flores barely played at the most recent Nike Friendlies as well. He is just no longer a starter with these U-17s. He better get his act together, I hope the Dortmund contract doesn’t Adu him in.

  7. 2tone says:

    It has been well documented that Flores’ game has dropped at residency. Hence the reason why he is on the bench.

    Talented, but so are other players like Baird and Sonora who have shown much better in the past 6 months.

    Thats the problem fans really don’t see what happens on a daily basis at residency, so they are a taken aback when a player(Flores) that had shown well in one tournament(2011 Nike friendlies) isn’t starting all of the time.

    • Tyler K says:

      The coaching change also played a role. Richie Williams has frequently deployed Junior in positions other than the role he rose to prominence in at in the ’11 Nike Friendlies.

  8. roberto johnson says:

    just saw highlights.. really people take way to much stock in these u-17 games.. will there be good players from this yea.. but the majority wont even make mls.