BRADENTON, Fla. – The U.S. Under-17 men’s national team defeated Guatemala, 3-0, to clinch the top spot in Group F at the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship Monday.
The Americans will face pre-qualifying group winner Guadeloupe in the Round of 16 Thursday at 6 p.m. ET.
The U.S. faced a dogged effort from a physical Guatemala side, but two of the cycle’s leading goal=scorers delivered as Griffin Yow bagged a brace on both sides of halftime before Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez iced the game in the final minutes to secure the USA’s third consecutive victory.
The top three teams from each group qualify to the Round of 16. Four teams — Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Nicaragua and Puerto Rico — advanced directly to the Round of 16 as group winners in a pre-tournament qualifying phase. The four tournament semifinalists earn berths to the U-17 World Cup.
U.S. U-17 head coach Raphael Wicky made nine changes to the lineup that rolled past Barbados, 6-1, in its second match. The Americans got off to a slow start against the Guatemalans, but Yow provided a spark on the right wing. After a few threatening chances, he finally broke through in the 25th minute, when Mauricio Cuevas set him up for a tight-angle finish to the far post in the aftermath of a free kick. The opening goal marked the U.S.’s seventh in three matches either directly from or through dead-ball situations.
In the second half, the U.S. forged through a chippy, determined effort from Los Chapines. The red, white and blue held the majority of possession and spent a number of extended spells in Guatemala’s final third, capitalizing with two second-half tallies.
Captain Gio Reyna sparked the U.S.’s second goal in the 51st minute. Starting the game on the left wing rather than centrally, Reyna wheeled past a few defenders inside the box as he charged to the end line and sent a cross to the six-yard box where Yow headed it home to double the advantage. Ocampo-Chavez confirmed the three points with a header in the 86th minute. His Seattle Sounders FC teammate Daniel Leyva made some similarly shifty moves through the box before delivering a nice cross for him at the far post.
|2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship – Group F|