U-17 USMNT Drops First World Cup Match



Nigeria and the USMNT opened the group stage of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Santiago, Chile. Chukwudi Agor and Victor James Osimhen both tallied second half goals to give defending champion Nigeria a 2-0 victory against the U-17 USMNT. The win for Nigeria gives them three points and puts them in the driver seat to win Group A.

The American defense looked out of sync for most of the match and in the 50th minute an errant clearance found the feet of Agor who made no mistake inside the penalty area. The defensive woes continued in the 61st minute when, after an American goal kick was headed directly back to Osimhen, he muscled off two U.S. defenders and slid the ball past American Keeper William Pulisic and capped the scoring for Nigeria.

The United States enjoyed a good run of play in the first 20 minutes as Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) was involved in a nice combination play with Joe Gallardo Jr.(Monterrey) that the Nigeria defense was able to snuff out. Christian Pulisic was at it again 10 minutes later as he was able to set up Haji Wright (New York Cosmos). The Nigerian keeper Akpan Udoh was able to pounce on the ball before Wright could poke it into the net.

Nigeria started to control the possession for the rest of the afternoon, as the United States defense began sitting back and absorbing pressure. Ten minutes before halftime, Nigeria almost got on the board when Osimhen got behind the American back four, but slid the ball just wide.

After the halftime break it was more of the same from Nigeria as they controlled the play and broke through in the 50th minute with Agor’s goal. Osimhen’s tally eleven minutes later gave Nigeria all the cushion they needed. Things went from bad to worse when American defender Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union) was sent off on a controversial red card when it appeared he stomped on Osimhen leg after a challenge in the closing minutes of the match.

Orlando City’s Pierre Da Silva entered the match for Gallardo in the 83rd minute and provided a small spark for the United States. Da Silva brought some pace that was needed against a very athletic Nigeria.

Though the United States came away with no points, the top four third place teams can advance to the Round of 16. Goal differential and securing points will be important in their last two group matches. The United States final two matches will come against Croatia and hosts Chile. The U-17’s next game is Tuesday (Oct. 20) against Croatia. It will kick off at 4 p.m. ET and be shown live on NBC Universo and on an hour tape delay on Fox Sports 2.


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