PANAMA CITY, Panama – Josh Sargent struck twice and Ayo Akinola once to lead the United States to a 3-0 victory over Honduras to open the classification stage at the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship Wednesday.
The Americans need a win, draw or a loss by four or fewer goals in its round-robin finale against Cuba Friday to qualify for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India. A victory or a tie would ensure them a spot in the championship game Sunday.
The U.S. dominated play throughout the opening half and knocked on the door early when Chris Goslin put a ninth-minute drive just wide of goal. Only six minutes later, Akinola’s blast from distance was turned away by goalkeeper Carlos Banegas.
In the 26th minute, the red, white and blue finally was rewarded for its efforts. Sargent drew a foul in the Honduras end before he redirected Andrew Carleton’s free kick from the right side.
After early second-half pressure from Honduras, the U.S. regained control of the match and added two more goals.
Akinola’s pressure on a ball over the top from Blaine Ferri saw the Toronto FC Academy forward finish his fourth tally of the tourney in the 65th minute before Sargent slotted home his team-leading fifth of the competition in the 82nd minute.
USA – Josh Sargent (Andrew Carleton) 26th minute
USA – Ayo Akinola (Blaine Ferri) 69
USA – Josh Sargent (George Acosta) 82
USA: 1-Justin Garces; 2-Jaylin Lindsey, 4-James Sands, 5-A.J. Vasquez, 3-Chris Gloster; 6-Chris Durkin (16-Taylor Booth, 87), 14-Chris Goslin (10-George Acosta, 69), 8-Blaine Ferri; 7-Ayo Akinola, 9-Josh Sargent (Capt.), 11-Andrew Carleton (19-Tim Weah, 83)
Subs not used: 12-C.J. Dos Santos, 13-Akil Watts, 15-Zyen Jones, 17-Bryan Reynolds, 18-Indiana Vassilev, 20-Adrian Villegas
Head coach: John Hackworth
HON: 1-Carlos Banegas; 3-Axel Gomez, 4-Cristian Moreira (Capt.), 5-Alexander Bahr, 15-Emilio Campos; 6-David Cardona, 7-Gerson Chavez, 11-Luis Palma, 20-Cristian Madrid; 9-Patrick Palacios (19-Kenneth Martinez, 90), 14-Carlos Mejia
Subs not used: 12-Jordy Castro, 2-Osbed Perez, 8-Everson Lopez, 10-Joshua Canales, 13-Gustavo Vallecillo, 16-Bayron Varela, 17-Cristian Contreras, 18-Santiago Cabrera
Head coach: Jose Francisco Valladares
Stats Summary: USA / HON
Shots: 18 / 6
Shots on Goal: 7 / 4
Saves: 4 / 3
Corner Kicks: 3 / 0
Fouls: 13 / 10
Offside: 6 / 0
USA – Chris Goslin (caution) 6th minute
HON – Carlos Banegas (caution) 24
HON – Patrick Palacios (caution) 84
Referee: Luis Enrique Santander (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Andres Hernandez (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Aki (BLZ)
4th Official: Juan Gabriel Calderon (CRC)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Josh Sargent