The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team will have to take the more difficult route through the knockout stages of the U-17 World Cup.
After winning the first two games of group play, the U.S. fell, 3-1, to Colombia in Thursday’s Group A finale. With the loss, the U.S. and Colombia will both advance behind Ghana, who win the group. Colombia’s win vaults them to second while the U.S. falls all the way to third with the loss.
It took just three minutes for Colombia to open the scoring through Juan Vidal, leaving the U.S.a bit shellshocked early. On a long throw-in, the U.S. defense failed to react to a ball that bounced in the box, allowing Vidal to pounce and score from close range in his first start.
George Acosta pulled the U.S. back before halftime, though, thanks to some help from Andrew Carleton. The Atlanta United playmaker drove towards the endline and centered a pass towards the penalty spot, and the cross eluded several Colombia defenders. It didn’t elude Acosta, though, who fired a first-time shot to pull the U.S. level.
Colombia’s winner came midway through the second half from Juan Sebastian Penaloza. The Colombian’s finish came from a tight-angle free kick, one he curled up and over Justin Garces for the eventual game-winner.
The South American nation fired an insurance goal late through Daiber Caicedo, who fired home on the backpost.
Garces made several saves in the second half while defender Jaylin Lindsey was the standout with a number of strong tackles. Up top, Josh Sargent was largely held in check as Colombia limited the U.S. attack.
That attack will need to get going heading into the knockout stage as the U.S. returns to action on Tuesday against either Iran or Germany.