BRADENTON, Fla. – The U.S. Under-17 men’s national team rallied from a two-goal deficit to defeat Canada 3-2 in its opening match of the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship Thursday.
While two quick-strike goals gave Canada a lead at halftime, the Americans roared back in the second half, rallying with three unanswered goals from Gianluca Busio, Axel Aljandre and Gio Reyna to start World Cup qualifying with three points in Group F.
The U.S. is 8-1-0 vs. Canada all-time in the qualifying competition.
The U.S. controlled the pace of play in the early going, putting pressure on Canada from the opening whistle. Despite conceding much of the ball to the hosts, Canada broke the game open with two transition goals in two minutes from Jérémie Omeonga and Jacen Russel-Rowe halfway the first half.
Down 2-0, the U.S. pushed hard to get back in the game right out of the gate in the second-half. Reyna stormed up the right wing in the 49th minute before sending a cross into the box for Busio, who one-timed it back across goal and inside the far post to put the U.S. on the board.
After earning several corner kicks in the opening hour, the U.S. tallied the equalizer on its eighth corner of the game in the 63rd minute. Kobe Hernandez met the service after it trickled out past the 18-yard-line and hit a low drive into traffic. The shot deflected off a Canada defender and fell to Alejandre, who smashed it over the goalkeeper from close range to tie it at 2-2. It marked Alejandre’s first goal for the U-17 USMNT in his 15th appearance.
The U.S. completed its comeback six minutes later. Reyna was fouled just outside the box in the 69th and lined up to take the free kick. With a screen set by his teammates, Reyna powered his shot into the far side of the net after goalkeeper Marc Kouadio took a false step and couldn’t recover.
Canada carved out a few late opportunities, hitting the crossbar in the first minute of stoppage time and testing U.S. keeper Damian Las with a rising shot toward the right corner with the final kick of the game.
The U.S. next takes on Barbados in its second Group F game Saturday at 4 p.m. ET on Concacaf Facebook and Univision Deportes Network. The top three teams from Group F will advance to the knockout phase Round of 16.
2019 CONCACAF U-17 CHAMPIONSHIP GROUP F STANDINGS
Team W L D GD Pts. USA 1 0 0 1 3 Barbados 0 0 1 0 1 Guatemala 0 0 1 0 1 Canada 0 1 0 -1 0