NEW DELHI, India – The U.S. Under-17 men’s national team moved into first place in Group A at the FIFA U-17 World Cup, recording a 1-0 victory over Ghana Monday.
The win lifted the Americans (six points) to 2-0-0 while Ghana (Three) fell to 1-1-0.
A scoreless first half did not lack for quality or action between the two sides.
The U.S. seized the upper hand after the opening 10 minutes, carving out a host of opportunities that had the Ghana defense scrambling or forced goalkeeper Ibrahim Danlad into action.
Danland counterpart at the other end, Justin Garces, also had to be on his toes in the later stages of the half as Ghana fought back the game, but the U.S. goalkeeper and defense did well to limit the Black Sarlets to mostly speculative, long-range efforts.
The U.S. had done well in the first half to maintain the majority of possession and ultimately duplicated that so again final half despite a strong opening. With the 90-plus degree weather beginning to take a toll, the U.S. defense bent but did not break as Ghana’s wingers began to get around the outside.
A smartly executed high press from the U.S. turned the game in its favor midway through the half. Chris Durkin came up with the ball deep in Ghana territory and started the passing sequence that ended with the ball on Akinola’s foot. The second half sub did the rest, beat several defenders and the goalkeeper with a deft finish to give the USA the 1-0 lead in the 75th minute.
Eleven minutes later a clash of heads between U.S. captain Josh Sargent and Black Starlets Abdul Yusif reduced Ghana to 10 men as both sides had already used all three subs and Yusif could not re-enter the match due to injury.
With the man advantage, the U.S. maintained possession and saw out six minutes of stoppage time.
The U-17 travels to Navi Mumbai for its group finale vs. Colombia at Dr. DY Patil Stadium Thursday at 10:30 a.m. ET (FS2 and UNIVERSO).