A Loss in OT: 2019 Concacaf U17 Championship Final
The 2019 Concacaf U17 Championship is over. The US team made it to the final. Then it fell apart.
The U.S. U17 Men’s National Team looked good, until yesterday.
After six consecutive wins in the 2019 Concacaf U17 Championship, our U17s had a sense of pride and accomplishment. With a victory in their quarterfinals, our U17 team secured their berth to the upcoming FIFA U17 World Cup on October 5th through the 27th in Brazil. Then we beat Canada 4-0 in the Semifinal and confidence was high.
It was in the battle with archrival Mexico in the Concacaf U17 Championship final that
things fell apart.
Held at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, the U17 championship is a look into the future of soccer.
The players on the field are theoretically the best players from their country — the future stars of the world of professional soccer. And, in fact, on the U.S. team, several players already have professional contracts with their MLS clubs.
While the American team clearly dominated the first half of the Concacaf U17 Championship Final, the second half resembled less talented youth soccer, with the ball flying over the midfield and incomplete passes.
Despite a valiant effort, the USA’s squad looked desperate to score in the second half — especially after a plethora of missed scoring opportunities. The match clearly focused a spotlight on the problem.
We need players who can score. And, we need more tactical awareness so our forwards
needless luck to score.
Our first and only goal was scored in the 9th minute and was a combined effort by Gio Reyna, Gianluca Busio, Tayvon Gray, and Griffin Yow who got the ball into the back of the net with a header at the near post.
USA was in the lead for a few minuted until LA Galaxy’s Efrain Alvarez, playing for Mexico, assisted Santiago Muñoz is scoring the equalizer in the 17th minute.
The match was tied 1-1 and went into Overtime
Mexico’s Israel Luna scored the winning goal in the 108th minute and together with an outstanding performance from Eduardo Garcia, their goalkeeper, Mexico earned its fourth straight Concacaf U17 Championship title.
Was the U.S. team’s
It is true that our poor finishing helped Mexico win.
Every forward knows that it is if you don’t finish your chances, your team can’t win.
But winning is not
a loneproject. This is soccer. Not tennis.
Players need to connect with each other to reliably convert chances. No matter how talented a forward is, it is impossible to consistently score without your team working well together.
In the second half of the final, the U.S. team lost composure and did not play beautiful soccer, nor get the job done but overall the tournament has many successful victories.
If Gianluca Busio and Gio Reyna exemplify America’s future in the game, we have a lot to look forward to.
Busio, Reyna as well as Kobe Hernandez and Daniel Leyva are four U.S. players who were named to the 2019 Concacaf U17 Championship Best XI.
The USA also received the tournament’s Fair Play Award.
The U17 World Cup is just a few months away and there the U.S. will get another chance to show the world our talents.
While this is a painful loss for a team that was looking for revenge from the 2017 failure when the USA also lost to Mexico in PKs in the final, there clearly is talent in our huge country. And we should have pride in finishing as the runners-up in the tournament.
Congratulations to Mexico for a great performance on the pitch. Mexico has won eight CONCACAF U17 championships. The U.S. has won three with the last victory in 2011.
2019 Concacaf U17 Championship Final Lineups:
USA: 1-Damian Las; 2-Joseph Scally,14-Tayvon Gray, 5-Kobe Hernandez-Foster, 3-Adam Armour (15-John
Subs Not Used: 12-Chituru Odunze, 4-Axel Alejandre, 8-
Head Coach: Raphael Wicky
MEX: 1-Eduardo Garcia, 13-Emilio Lara, 5-Rafael Martinez, 2-Jose Ruiz, 3-Victor Guzman, 11-Bryan Gonzalez, 6-Eugenio Pizzuto (capt.) (15-Edgar Martinez, 51), 10-Israel Luna, 16-Kevin Mariscal (8-Kevin Ortega, 109), 18-Efrain Alvarez (7-Luis Gustavo Martinez, 46), 19-Santiago Muñoz (9-Leonardo Correa, 81)
Subs Not Used: 14-Abraham Flores, 17-Luis Carlos Martinez, 12-Arturo Delgado, 20-Bruce El Mesmari
Head Coach: Marco Antonio Ruiz