Facing off with the host country to open up a World Cup is always a tough task, but the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team took care of business on Friday in India.
Josh Sargent and Chris Durkin scored a goal in each half before Andrew Carleton iced the match with a third in a 3-0 win over hosts India to open the U-17 World Cup. The win puts the U.S. on top of Group A following the first round of matches.
Sargent opened the scoring in the 30th minute, firing home from the penalty spot to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead. Sargent earned the penalty as he was ripped down in the box after nutmegging his defender. The forward, who recently signed with Werder Bremen, stepped up to the spot and buried into the lower left-hand corner to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead.
It took a little longer than expected for that lead to be doubled, but it eventually came through Durkin. On a corner kick, the ball bounced in the box and fell to the feet of the D.C. United Homegrown. Durkin smashed a shot towards goal, and it deflected off a defender and in to provide much-needed breathing room.
Finally, Carleton put his stamp on the match with an 84th minute goal. Just moments after India rattles the crossbar, the U.S. broke free the other way on a great pass from George Acosta. Carleton was in all alone, and he rounded the goalkeeper before firing a simple finish for 3-0.
The U.S. was the dominant team from the opening whistle, even if clear-cut chances were hard to come by. Sargent had a one-on-one thwarted within the game’s first few minutes while Carleton proved dangerous with both his passing and runs into the box. Carleton had a golden chance early in the second half, but his shot was pushed away with a diving stop.
Defensively, the U.S. was rarely tested by an India team that struggled to maintain possession. The hosts pushed forward a bit as the match wore on, but never truly tested goalkeeper Justin Garces.
Next up for the U.S. is a match against a familiar foe in Ghana, who knocked off Colombia, 1-0, in their opener on Friday. The U.S. and Ghana square off on Monday before the U.S. rounds out the group stage against Colombia on Thursday.