The U.S. Under-17 youth women’s national team recorded its largest margin of victory in a FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup as it opened the tournament with an 8-0 victory over host India in Bhubaneswar, India on Tuesday.
Seven players scored for the USA, led by a brace from forward Melina Rebimbas while forwards Onyeka Gamero and Taylor Suarez, midfielders Charlotte Kohler and Mia Bhuta and defenders Ella Emri and Gisele Thompson also found the net.
The Americans will take on Brazil on Friday at 7 a.m. ET (FS2) in the team’s second match of the group stage. Brazil defeated Morocco 1-0 in its opener, meaning the USA sits atop Group A in the early going.
The U.S. got off to a flying start against an overmatched India side, pressing high against the defense while controlling the tempo. It only took nine minutes for the Americans to open the scoring as Rebimbas struck a 10-yard volley after a corner kick that was taken short. The 5-3 Kohler doubled the lead four minutes later, again off a corner. She rose above her surrounding defenders and buried a header. Midfielder Riley Jackson assisted on both goals.
Forward Onyeka Gamero added her name to the score sheet in the 23rd minute as India attempted to play out of the back on a goal kick. Gamero stripped a defender and finished her one-on-one challenge against the goalkeeper with a crisp left-footed strike into the lower right corner.
On the half hour, Rebimbas added her second goal with a brilliant left-footed strike from the top of the box. Thompson then capped off the first half with a 39th-minute goal, her first at the international level, following a fine individual effort to dribble out of pressure and finish with her left foot just inside the right post.
The USA continued its domination in the second half as yet another corner kick resulted in a goal, this time courtesy of Emri as she placed a header in the top right corner for her first international goal. Eight minutes later, the U.S. was awarded a penalty kick following a foul on Kohler in the box. Suarez stepped up and finished.
The game featured several special moments for Bhuta, a midfielder who entered the match at halftime for Jackson and wore the captain’s armband. Bhuta, whose father was born in Mumbai and grew up in Gujarat before emigrating to the USA at the age of 16, is the first player of Indian descent to represent the USA in a World Cup. She did so at the age of 16.
It got even better for Bhuta. In the 62nd minute, the midfielder buried a left-footed shot from distance in the top left corner. She also picked up the assist on Emri’s goal.