Joe Scally set up the U.S.’s lone goal. (Photo courtesy of NYCFC)
CARIACICA, Brazil – The United States fell, 4-1, to Senegal in its opening Group D match at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup Sunday.
Heading home the joint-fastest USA goal at a U-17 World Cup, Gianluca Busio opened the scoring in the third minute, before Senegal found an equalizer before halftime and closed things out with three second-half goals.
The Americans took the lead early as Joe Scally of Lake Grove, N.Y. collected the ball in space on the right flank and served a cross for Busio, who powered home the goal. The score gave the head coach Raphael Wicky’s side a dream start at the tournament, also tying the USA record for earliest at the U-17 World Cup first set by Brian Kelly during a quarterfinal tie with Qatar at the 1991 edition in Italy.
Senegal commanded more control after the opening quarter hour, as Issaga Kane forced a diving stop out of goalkeeper Damian Las in the 20th minute. Diallo Samba also broke free on the right before misfiring his effort past the post.
The African side equalized through Souleymane Faye in the third minute of first-half stoppage time. Faye fired the tying goal past Las just moments after referee Istvan Kovacs used the Video Assistant Referee to confirm that the Senegal striker’s 43rd minute yellow card would stand, with the VAR process allowing additional time to be added on to the first half.
The USA nearly restored its lead 10 minutes after the break. Starting with a short goal kick from Las, the Americans connected a number of passes out of the back before breaking lines and leading to Busio’s effort in the box being nodded out for a corner kick. On the corner, Gio Reyna sent a swerving ball to the near post that found Tayvon Gray. His volley was saved off the line by Birame Diaw, the Senegal defender advancing to turn away the rebound effort as well.
After that scare, Senegal came back to force two big saves out of Las. He turned away Aliou Balde’s well-taken hit off a free kick in the 67th minute before standing tall to hold on to Samba Diallo’s header in the 70th minute.
Senegal found the advantage two minutes later, when Ba sent a ball over the top for Souleymane Faye, who saw his initial attempt saved by Las, before Aliou Balde buried the rebound. With the USA pushing forward, Senegal made it 3-1 just two minutes later as Amete Faye deposited a deflected ball at the back post.
The USA’s hopes of gaining a point out of the match were dashed when Gray was shown a red card after fouling Souleymane Faye as the last man back in the 87th minute. With the following free kick about 20 yards, Senegal closed the scoring as Pape Sarr fired a free kick into the top right corner.
The U.S. remains in Cariacica for is second Group D match as it will look to bounce back against Japan on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.