The U-17 USMNT started off their World Cup with a bang Sunday, easily handling the Czech Republic en route to a comfortable 3-0 victory. Although the senior US team has never won in Mexico, the U-17 team braved the heat in Torreon, Mexico to net their first win of the WC. Alejandro Guido, Esteban Rodriguez, and Alfred Koroma all netted for the US. The US currently sits in second in group D. New Zealand is first on goals scored, while Uzbekistan is 3rd and the Czech Republic is in the cellar at 4th. The US will play Uzbekistan Wednesday and can secure a berth in the second round with a win. The game kicks off at 4PM CST and can be seen live on Galavision and ESPN3, with a tape delay on ESPNU. While these guys are young, they are a glimpse into the future of our national team, so they are worth a look by all USMNT fans. Wednesday will be a full slate for Chicago/NT soccer fans. The US faces Panama, the Fire square off against RSL, and the U-17 team looks to advance past the group stage. Follow me after the break for a few brief thoughts, starting lineups for both teams and a highlight video.
Estados Unidos 3 Rep Checa 0 Mundial Futbol Sub17 Mexico 2011 (via FutboleroMexico)
I was very impressed with the US display. They were clearly the better team early on in the game. The Czechs did start to push near the end of the 1st half, but it wasn't anything the US couldn't handle. The US would add onto that lead in the 2nd half, and the game really slowed down. I didn't catch the last 15 minutes as I was watching the replay late last night on ESPN3 and sleep kicked in. But, clearly the heat was affecting the players as play slowed, but they US defense didn't buckle and held on to keep the clean sheet. The team looked very good. If you didn't know they were all U-17, I think most people watching these highlights would assume the players were older. They certainly have a high level of skill and teamwork for being so young. Definitely exciting to watch and a different, fresh pace from what we are used to with the MLS or the senior USMNT. Our future is definitely looking bright.
Also, for those wondering about the Fire's very own U-17 international Victor Pineda, U-17 head coach Wilmer Cabrera did not select Victor for the tournament. He certainly does have a bright future internationally and for the Fire, and I am sure he will work even harder to make sure he gets every cap possible for the U-17 team.
Starters and bench for US U-17:
USA: 1-Kendall McIntosh; 16-Kellyn Acosta, 6-Mobi Fehr, 2-Zach Carroll, 4-Joe Amon; 8-Esteban Rodriguez, 5-Matt Dunn, 10-Alejandro Guido (14-Tarik Salkicic, 75), 11-Marc Pelosi (capt.); 9-Mario Rodriguez (7-Alfred Koroma, 87), 18-Paul Arriola (13-Nico Melo, 90)
Subs not used: 12-Fernando Pina, 3-Nathan Smith, 15-Alessandro Mion, 17-Andrew Souders, 19-Jack McBean, 20-Dillon Serna
Head Coach: Wilmer Cabrera
Starters and bench for Czech Republic U-17:
CZE: 16-Lukas Zima; 2-Ondrej Karafiat, 3-Jan Filip, 6-Michael Lueftner, 15-Jan Sterba (capt.); 4-Petr Nerad (12-Lukas Stratil, 54), 7-Ales Cermak, 9-Nikolas Salasovic (19-Michal Travnik, 72), 17-Dominik Masek (8-Jindrich Kadula, 61); 10-Lukas Julis, 11-Patrik Svoboda
Subs not used: 1-Patrik Macej, 21-Ondrej Kolar, 5-Lubos Adamec, 13-Patrik Kundratek, 14-Dominik Spavelko, 18-Marek Strada, 20-Daniel Cerny
Head Coach: Josef Csaplar