U.S. Youth National Teams

U.S. Under-17s lose to Turkey




PHOENIX — In the end, the U.S. U-17 boys national team just missed too much.

Composure, an injured Alejandro Guido (back), and opportunities.

The United States lost to Turkey, 2-0, in the Nike International Friendlies tournament final Sunday night at Reach 11 Sports Complex despite having a man advantage for the last 32 minutes of the match.

“We were too anxious,” U.S. coach Wilmer Cabrera said.

The U.S. team finished third in the tournament with 4 points after going 1-1-1 on the weekend. The Americans finished ahead of Korea Republic (0 points) and behind Brazil (5 points) and tournament champion Turkey (7 points).

Turkey led 1-0 after the 17th minute but helped the U.S. in the second half after Turkish center back Tana Can Velioglu received a red card for a last-defender foul on U.S. forward Mario Rodriguez.

But the U.S. could not take advantage. The Americans could not consistently connect with each other in the final third or threaten with a solid scoring opportunity within 18 yards of the goal. 

It’s disappointing for the US, which was outscored 1-0 despite having at least a one-man advantage for 45 minutes on the weekend. (In the scoreless tie against Brazil on Friday, the US had a man advantage after the 72nd minute then a two-man advantage after the 80th minute.)

The U.S. was also missing Guido, its starting central attacking midfielder, on Sunday. He aggravated a back injury early in the Brazil match and did not play against Turkey. Guido impressed in a 2-1 win over Korea Republic earlier in the week as well as in his short time against Brazil, showing good ball skills and vision. Without him on the field, the U.S. did not find any rhythm in its attack.

Turkey didn’t showcase beautiful soccer either but it used set pieces and its speed well to beat the Americans.

Turkey scored its first goal on a corner kick when Aykut Giler headed Fenerbahce youth academy star Recep Niyaz’s in-swinger off the far post and straight to Ahmet Yilmaz Calik, who headed the ball into an open net.

"They wanted it more than us," U.S. midfielder Nico Melo, who started ahead of Esteban Rodriguez on Sunday. "They were better on set pieces."

Turkey had several other chances at goal that U.S. goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh saved. But McIntosh, who was playing his first game in the tournament, made a mistake on Turkey’s second goal.

In the 71st minute, Enver Cenk Sahin outpaced Andrew Sounders 1v1 then beat McIntosh, who came off his line to charge Sahin near the left post, with one touch to get clear and another touch to score from a tight angle.

The U.S. had a great chance in the 60th minute when a long ball from the back Rodriguez chased it down, got to the ball first but was taken down by Turkish center back Tana Can Velioglu on a slide tackle from behind. Velioglu was the last defender and received a red card for the foul.

Marc Pelosi showed off his leg from long range on the ensuing free kick from 32 yards. But his shot attempt to the upper 90 of the goal was parried away in spectacular fashion by the diving Turkish goalkeeper Sercan Sen.

Turkey responded immediately after the red card, taking off midfielder Mehmet Erkut Senturk and replacing him with defender Burak Yilmaz. Cabrera countered, adding forward Daniel Flores for defensive midfielder Tarik Salkicic.

But neither that change nor one that sent Paul Arriola, another forward, in for defender Kellyn Acosta in the 83rd minute, was enough for the U.S. to find that elusive goal.

  • MTC United

    turkey was faster and controlled the whole game. Perhaps Turkey is a fantastic team, Perhaps our players are slow or perhaps they were poorly managed and didn’t have the legs for a third game in 4 days the way the turks did. Credit to the turks they deserved the win. Disappointing for the US. I was looking forward to seeing the youngsters and saw nothing to be optimistic about.


  • Louis Z

    I think Mario Rodriguez is a kid to keep an eye on, good size, fast and play way ahead of his age. Unfortunately, the rest of team looks like any U17 select players.


  • ernj

    I was also impressed with Acosta on D. US seemed to rely on long balls over the top and not linking through the midfield. The commentators said that was not the case in the first 2 games. Was that true?


  • Annelid Gustator

    emj, I didn’t think Acosta was all that great. Both yesterday and against Brazil, he seemed to always be messing up and then chasing the play down with good speed. Marvell Wynne pt. 2.

    They really seemed to give up after the Turks scored their second.

    Pelosi was pretty good. Rodriguez was okay, but I thought he’d do better, after watching him against Brazil.

    Most distressing was seeing all the little cheap shots and unnecessary rough stuff from our boys.


  • Lorenzo

    or perhaps we’re reading too much into 16 year olds, I just can’t take much stock in u-17 program, unless there is someone unreal.


  • Thor

    The US squad wasn’t as deep as Brazil or Turkey and it showed against Turkey. In addition to losing Guido, we were without our best player Kellen Gulley and our left back. But still not a bad showing. I hope when the qualifiers star Cabrera will call up Nicholas Gaitan and a few others. No reason Acosta should be the only 95 player on the roster.


  • mwc

    There was a lot of Route 1, in my opinion, out of the defense in the Brazil and Turkey matches, but I think that may have been due to the the U.S. attacking mid, Alejandro Guida, going off injured at about 25 minutes against Brazil.

    I agree with Lorenzo and Louis Z above. These guys are U-17s.


  • Dennis

    I thought that Acosta and Pelosi were the two best players across the 3 games. An upside is they both look like they are boys, in contrast Mario Rodriguez who looks like he is pretty mature. It makes me think the upside for the former is greater. Two other guys who had moments were Melo and Esteban Rodriguez, who each looked comfortable dribbling at the defense even if they did fail to connect very well. The outside back Smith did nothing bad and that is a good thing for a defender. The 2 central backs did OK when they could keep things organized and each made some nice tackles, but as will happen, lost 1v1s at crucial times.
    We’ll see how it all turns out in a half-dozen years.


  • TimeForChange

    Where is Gulley??? I saw him play here in Tampa against Mexico and they destroyed them, I believe 7-0 and it could have been more, but Oliver missed a couple 1-on-1 against the goally. I am not impressed with Guido…Cabrera is a horrible coach it is time for a change…he seems to select latin players and not a good mix, with different styles.


  • MicahK

    The U-17 need to work on clearing, and crossing the ball back in fast the ball those goals in the Turkey game were dumb.


  • Ben

    Well, hopefully the competition in CONCACAF won’t be as tough and they’ll be able to gel a little bit more before the U-17 World Cup.


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