By DAN KARELL
The Under-17 U.S. Men’s National Team has survived and advanced to the semifinals of the Copa Naciones de Mexico in dramatic fashion.
A penalty shootout was needed to decide what had been a 1-1 draw at full time between the U.S. and Colombia. In the shootout, the U.S. scored three while Colombia missed all three of their chances, giving the USA a 3-0 victory in penalty kicks.
The USA will play their semifinal match against Ecuador on Friday. It’s the second consecutive year that the U-17s have made the final four of the tournament.
The U.S. got on the board in the 16th minute when Pierre Da Silva sent in a cross from the left which was turned in by leading U.S. goalscorer Christian Pulisic. Despite the goal, Colombia stayed on the front foot, and received a goal of their own in the 31st minute.
Colombian forward Edward Bolaños cut into the penalty area from the left and unleashed a blast that went past U.S. goalkeeper Kevin Silva and in to tie the scoreline.
After a scoreless second half of play, (two 35-minute halves), the match went to penalty kicks, though U.S. coach Richie Williams pulled a Louis Van Gaal and substituted Silva for star goalkeeper William Pulisic, who starred in the penalty kick shootout.
Pulisic, Elijah Rice, and Daniel Barbir each scored for the U-17s while Stiven Vega, Jefferson Valdeblanquez and John Wilmar Arango all missed for Colombia, ending the match. Per U.S. Soccer, the first shot hit the crossbar, Pulisic saved Valdeblanquez’s attempt, while Arango nailed the post as Colombia were eliminated from the tournament.
The win gives the U.S. their fourth straight victory after defeating China, Mexico’s B team, and Paraguay to win their group in the group stage.
With the goal, Pulisic now has six goals in four games, good for the top spot on the tournament’s goalscoring chart.
Here’s the U-17 USMNT lineup against Colombia:
USA: 1-Kevin Silva; 13-Edwin Lara, 5-Hugo Arellano, 15-Tanner Dieterich, 36, 2-Matt Olosunde; 6-Eric Calvillo (capt.), 8-Luca de la Torre, 10-Christian Pulisic; 7-Haji Wright, 11-Pierre Da Silva, 18-Josh Perez
Head Coach: Richie Williams
What do you think of this result? Glad to see the U.S. able to win in penalty kicks? How special of a player is Pulisic turning out to be? Think the U.S. can make the final?
Share your thoughts below.