Wright brace leads U.S. U-17s past Brazil to Nike Friendlies title

U.S. U17 MNT vs Brazil

Photo by ISIPhotos.com


The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team proved on Friday that they can not only compete with nations like Brazil in terms of skill, but also in terms of discipline and mental strength.

Backed by another final two-goal night from Haji Wright and one goal and two assists from Joe Gallardo, the U.S. finished off the Nike International Friendlies tournament in style, defeating nine-man Brazil, 4-1 to win the tournament. It’s the second tournament title in three years for the USA.

Both teams came into the final match of the tournament knowing that a win would earn them the title, but just like they had in their two previous games, it was the U.S. who struck first.

On a counter attack after a turnover in midfield, LA Galaxy academy product Wright dribbled nearly 40 yards, handled a defender trying to muscle him off the ball, and finished past Brazil’s goalkeeper in the eighth minute to give the U.S. a perfect start. The U.S. kept up the pressure but it was Brazil who was the next to score, as Xavier played a terrific ball over the top that Marcelo da Souza controlled and finished inside the box in the 16th minute.

The tied scoreline didn’t last long though as Gallardo, just two days after scoring a hat-trick against England, scored off a scrum in the box from a corner kick to put the U.S. back in front in the 22nd minute.

That goal marked as close as Brazil would get for the rest of the game, as the U.S. remained in control and went up a man just before the half. Brazil’s Evander da Souza was shown a straight red card in the 40th minute for a studs-up challenge on U.S. right back Matthew Olosunde, who seemed to be OK after it.

Gallardo played provider in the second half as he set up goals from Pulisic (56th minute) and Wright (68th minute) to give the U.S. the title. Brazil had a second man sent off in the 86th minute as Jordan William fouled Christian Pulisic, and the referee actually ended the game before the 90 minutes were up. Brazil’s players didn’t cross the halfway line after that red card, so the U.S. just held the ball and stood in place.

Finally, about 30 seconds before the 90 minutes were to finish, the referee blew the whistle to end the match, setting off wild celebrations from the U.S. players and those in the stands.

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89 Responses to Wright brace leads U.S. U-17s past Brazil to Nike Friendlies title

  1. Commenter says:

    Are MLS academies starting to produce some fruit? I certainly hope so, all of these players need the opportunity to develop further. The USL Pro alliance next year may help to groom some of the most talented academy players in a pro environment.

    • bottlcaps says:

      Haji Wright is with the LA Galaxy Academy as is his little brother Hanif whom some say is actually better than Haji. Haji Wright, incidentally.. won the Golden Boot award in this years tournament, scoring once against Portugal, and twice against England and Brazil.

      • Commenter says:

        He looks to be a interesting prospect for both the Galaxy and U.S. national teams in the future.

      • Anthony says:

        The LA Galaxy Academy is stacked. If you look at all the prospects in the pipeline and have been brought through the system, it is incredibly deep

        • Coco says:

          the problem is with MLS rules you can only have two academy grads on your club who make more than the minimum. A rule so stupid only an ex-NFL goober like Garber could come up with it.

          So you’re going to start seeing a lot of MLS academy players being poached by other leagues. It’s already happening to the Galaxy.

          • sony says:

            Yeah, the shmuck doesn’t get it.The MLS rules are terrible so is Don.

          • foooo says:

            Garber doesn’t come up with the rules. The owners do. Garber has done an amazing job since taking over for Doug Logan. Seriously, look at where the league was when Garber became commissioner.

          • Hogatroge says:

            You and ‘sony’ seem to be living under the illusion that large organizations are controlled unilaterally by their figureheads. The anti-Garber stuff is starting to reek of “THANKS OBAMA!!” type complaining… that is, illogical, ignorant, and obnoxious.

          • Jake says:

            link to mlssoccer.com
            I’m not sure you are reading that correctly. It looks like you have the option of two homegrown players counting as “off budget” per year. But I don’t think that would preclude a team from additional signings. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    • atd says:

      You’re so right about USL Pro. We can run Brazil off the pitch at the U-16 level — this isn’t the first time — but then our kids hit the gap in our development system. The academy set-up and MLS aren’t quite what they need to be, but they’re on the way to getting there. But 18-22 is still a major problem….

  2. Kingsly Alexander says:

    Clint Dempsey signs for Fulham on a 2 Month loan

  3. Will says:

    Guys are you gonna mention at some point that Brazil had the U15 team with kids one to two years younger than all US kids or will you keep selling US it’s in the same level as Brazil? Just check the Brazil Confederation website and you will find the roster full of 99’s and 00’s.

    • Green76 says:

      The tournament was open to players born in 1998 or after. Each nation brought the team it wanted. Brazil decided to bring a U15 team and lost 4-1 to the USA. Perhaps they didn’t come to win. Maybe they thought they could win with u15’s. Either way, the USA was able to prove that they could compete with and excel against their opponents.

    • bottlcaps says:

      There were more than a couple US players with 99 as their birthyear including the Golden Boot winner.

    • frank from santiago says:

      will, who cares if brazil wanted to bring younger kids , it’s on them. how does that change anything?, besides the fact that maybe brazil were cocky? thinking they’d win with younger kids? that’s bs.

      • Karl says:

        Brazil was no cocky.
        They could’ve brought their real U17 team win every game and a meaningless trophy but it would’ve accomplished nothing development wise for their players.
        Player development vs win at all cost attitude is why the they’re successful and we’re not.

        • Kosh says:

          I wonder what the angle would have been if the US had lost.

        • mike says:

          Gotta agree with this. I would say it was less about cockiness and more about experience with potentially bigger more experienced players. Still, congrats to the US team! And where are the highlights!

        • Nate Dollars says:

          yes, i’m sure quitting 5 minutes before the end of the game was great experience for them.

          i’m no soccer genius, but that doesn’t sound like good player development to me.

          • Fredo says:

            Me either

          • KingGoogleyEye says:

            That all depends on what they learned from it.

          • Kung Fu Kangaroos says:

            Brazil owns a couple of World Cup titles, USA owns none. They’re doing something better than us developing their players and running their national program.

            • AS says:

              You make an exellent point………. Due to the fact that a Country has Championships they may practice poor sportsmanship… better yet they may practice it and other dummies will state that it is not only not poor sportsmanship but they receive a free pass due to their history… Nice

        • 2tone says:

          Lol. Now it’s not Brasil’s real U-17 team. Get outta here with that ridiculous statement.

        • Landon Klinsman says:

          So, Karl, since their U16s suck and whine like babies, I guess the next year’s tournament could see a return of the actual U17’s to prove your point?

    • Paul says:

      Will, both teams were U15. This is the team that US is prepping for the 2015 U17 World Cup. It is U15 as of Aug 1st of this year (U17 as of Aug 1 2015). Maybe earlier in the year, depending on when that tournament is held. Which is really 1999/1998.

    • Kosh says:

      Ha-ha, nice try Will.

    • FK PIRIN says:

      I just reviewed the US roster for the U-17 national team that is from the Brandenton Academy, and every player according to the roster was born in 1998. Check it out link to ussoccer.com. That means they all turned 15 this year. So the US only had players that were 15 years old according to the academy roster. There was no one over 15 years old.

      • Darwin says:

        So Devin Varga was 14 last Wednesday.

      • Paul says:

        It’s U15 at the start of their season or the cut-off. That is usually the previous summer or earlier so most have turn 15 by the end of the year. NONE are over 15. In fact, most of them are on the current U15 roster (link to ussoccer.com). A couple are on the current U17 roster.

        They are all in synch with the FIFA tournament limits. Brazil U15 is the same as the US U15 unless brazil decided to bring a younger group (U14), which I doubt.

    • FK PIRIN says:

      Hey Will, show us a link, because the best I can do is find an U-17 team for Brazil with players born in 1996 and 1997.

    • 2tone says:

      As previous posters have noted this Brasil team is technically in the U-17 range by 2015 the same as the US. The US calls them the U-17’s when in fact right now they are the U-15’s that will be the U-17’s by 2015.

      Both teams had 14 and 15 year olds on the field.

      Might be prudent to actually do some research about this before posting. You won’t look silly making these comments.

    • John Lowe says:

      Every time the US does something positive there are a ton of people who post, “yeah but . . .” It gets so old. No one is claiming the US is as good as Brazil because we did well in a youth tournament. We are simply happy we did well. The players still have to show up and get the job done, which we did. So, go USA.

      • radu says:

        Amen brother….well sad…these guys played frickin’ AWESOME! I am sooooo proud of them….and that Brazil coach is a major LOSER for teaching those Brazilian kids to quit….both those red cards were totally fair….USA! USA! USA!

      • Junior says:

        Yes thank u John Lowe! It’s really pissing me off when people try to kill the buzz with posts like that. We can’t celebrate something because a buzz kill comes and tries to ruin it. I bet if we had won the world cup they would try to make another lame excuse.

  4. frank from santiago says:

    by the way , we’re are the highlights? c’mon……

    • Anthony says:

      “Where”. Sorry, it’s my grammatical pet peeve: we’re/were/where and there/their/they’re.

      • Horsewhistle says:

        Hey Jeeves, stop treating him like an U15 Brasilian and put down the FIFA grammar book, Frank is from Santiago and didn’t come here for an ESL lesson. Its not like he learned English in the Galaxy Academy like the rest of us.

        • frank from santiago says:

          haha, thanks, Horsewhistle!, but I should of nown better…..Anthony, YOU are right, I F’d up……. you boys need to come down south……it’s 80 °F. I know it’s way colder back in the states, ……….it’s beach time over here.

          • foooo says:

            should HAVE Known

          • radu says:

            good for you to speak English as well as you do brother…I wish I spoke Portuguese as well as you speak English…I’m in LA…we’re going to have 80F this week, AND we just beat you in FUTBOL…lol…GO USA! You can tell we are REALLY proud of our kids, can’t you?

  5. mike says:

    Three requests:
    1. score in the portugal/england match please.
    2. score in the portugal/brazil match please.
    3. score in the england/brazil matche please.
    and thank you to the provider.

  6. Darwin says:

    Who was it that held the ball? Kid had guts. It was a solid move buy him to hold the ball and stare down the Brazilian team and get the crowd to chant USA at them. They had no fight in them and just walked off of the field quietly.

    That was great to watch!

  7. Karl says:

    Nice win and all but let’s not start saying we can compete with Brazil.
    While their young NTs regularly win youth world cups we can’t even qualify for them and while they’re favorites to win the 2014 WC we are…….. well, you know

  8. robojohnson says:

    don’t want to over react but this is definitely a good thing.. even if they produce two-three great players from this group its a step in the right direction

  9. Stantson says:

    This is the beginning. USA will be the most dominant soccer nation in the world in 10 years.

  10. biff says:

    We all need to stand up and applaud and then bow down on hands and knees for the man responsible for this great showing. And I am not talking about Richie Williams or the boys who played their hearts out. Nope, I am talking about the one and only Jurgen Klinsmann. Great job by Klinsmann. No one can tell me that he is not responsible for the fine soccer the boys played this week and for winning the tournament. Admit it, you Klinsmann haters. Jurgen is responsible for the current young crop of talent growing in the US.

    Man, if we would lose Klinsmann (say he wanted to make even more money because that is where his heart seems to be fully committed) then probably soccer in the US would simply fall apart, shift back to the dark ages of Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley. Good thing Klinsmann was gifted prematurely a new four-year extension and most likely a big fat raise because I am sure all those nebulous rumors about Switzerland running after Klinsmann were true and not planted by Klinsmann and/or his associates (as we all know sometimes happens in the negotiating game). If not for the extension seven months before WC 2014, Klinsmann no doubt would have signed a pre-contract with another team and moved in August to greener pastures. No doubt about it. And worst of all, we would lose Martin Vasquez and the guy the bends frying pans.

    • JB says:

      This seems a little melodramatic, but I do think Klinsmann is doing good things.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      +1, thought you were slowing down in the middle, but you finished strong.

    • Dennis says:

      I will tell you that JK is not responsible for the current crop of US players. If he he were, he would be assigned responsibility for the U23s, U20s and U17s all failing to qualify for their respective world championships as well.

      The improvement (if there is any) in the US youth players is the result of the Development academy and MLS teams getting involved something that was in its infancy with Arena and the DA was pretty much the same when BB was national team coach as it is now. (Emphasis on fewer, but more competitive games, higher training to competition ratio, trying to identify players on the basis of skill instead of athleticism, which just identifies the kids who mature fastest, etc.)

      In this case, biff, I think you do not know of what you speak.

  11. Jeff says:

    This is funny. USMNT fans give fans of other countries a hard time because they get excited about the performance of their u17s at the actual u17 World Cup with comments like: “it doesn’t matter at that age.” or “those performances don’t translate to the full national team”. And now the US wins a pretty meaningless tournament and suddenly people are saying that the US team can take on Brazil.
    I agree with one commenter who said that if 3 of these players develop into top talent then that would be a success. That is the whole point of u15s and u17s. Not every player will make it, but the more success and experience gained early on, the more likely it is to sustain it. These investments don’t pay off in sheer volume of talent, but in creating a core of a few players who understand the world of competitive international football, further develop their skills and take the team ethos from one age level to the next, where they eventually provide a strong foundation for the national team and can help orient the guys who missed out on the national team development process or were late bloomers or flew under the radar when they were younger. It’s all about solidifying the base just like Barcelona, and by extension Spain has done.

    • John Lowe says:

      I don’t believe I have read one comment where anyone stated we could take on Brazil. Talk about overreacting!

    • whoop-whoop says:

      On this day, our u17s beat Brazilian u17s in a friendly. This situation, at this place, on that day, for whatever reason, this very young Brazilian team couldn’t compete with this vewry young US team. It’s OK to celebrate a pair of nice wins… for a day. Do I think this foretells the end of Brazilian brilliance in the sport? Uhhhhh… that would be a big no. As a result, do I think we are now a juggernaut to world soccer greatness, or reach any conclusions about the long term outlook on US Soccer on the whole? That would be incredibly foolish. Certainly, I think it is much more favorable for fans… and most of all for the next generation to see some payoff for hard work in the form of positive results against quality opponents. Back to work boys.

  12. Israel says:

    I think instead of age difference what we should be asking, is this Brazil’s best U17 team? Would they send their best to an unofficial tourney?

  13. Nick says:

    Some of you critics out there kill me. It’s always “yes, but”. For once, embrace the fact that our youth had a good couple of games against good opposition.

  14. Mike R says:

    Yes !!!! Now on to winning the milk cup before getting eliminated from the U-17 Wc in the qualifying round!!!

  15. Dan S says:

    What is with this new word being used, brace? Please, lets remove it from use in soccer columns.

    • John Lowe says:


      Are you kiddin?

      • Dan S says:

        Have never seen the term used before until 4 months ago. I had looked for its definition everywhere once before. I just found it. Still think its a silly word to use. Just say 2 goals.

        • whoop-whoop says:

          The word brace for two goals has been around a long time…. long as I can remember connected to the game of soccer…. and a helluva lot longer than that. A quick search says it is related to two and has latin roots having to do with having with two arms. Makes sense. You brace yourself or something with two arms or even hug or… embrace someone… which it occurs to me in Spanish is abrazar… obviously related. Mr. Google tells me the word has been used in the English language such as hunting for a long time. “Dan shot a brace of pheasant.” As the game is older, came into use in cricket… and of course soccer.

          Now that the oversight of you being informed has been corrected…. is it OK for the rest of us to keep using the term? By any chance… are you familiar with the term ‘hat trick’?

          Excuse the sarcasm, couldn’t resist but in al sincerity, thanks for asking the question because I think this is kind of interesting stuff.

        • John Lowe says:

          Maybe you have not been following soccer for a long time? I don’t know. Brace has been around as long as I can remember. Been a rabid soccer fan since around 1990.

  16. Dan S says:

    I’m serious. Please define the word for me.

    • Dennis says:

      2. a pair of something, typically of birds or mammals killed in hunting.
      “thirty brace of grouse”

      It has been used in soccer for a long time, probably some British commentator used it ages ago as a colorful way to describe scoring 2 goals.

      The 1. noun meaning is the brace used in the brace and bit to hand drill holes in carpentry.

    • Kevin says:

      Lol wtf? How long you been a fan ? 6 months ?

  17. Turgid Jacobian says:

    I just thought the highlights showed some nicely technical play. So that was good.

  18. Samantha Belle says:

    Yes, Brazil would send their best players and I believe they did. Following Brazil’s unexpected loss to the US a couple of years ago, they have brought their best U17 players to the Nike Friendlies. And yes, as an earlier blogger pointed out, all of the U17 teams are young this year as it is the first of the two year U17 World Cup cycle. The US team is also very young.