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U.S. U-17s thrash Cuba in opener of CONCACAF U-17 Championship

HugoArrellanoUSU17-Cuba1-2015 (Mexsport)


The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team got the kind of comprehensive victory they needed to open up the CONCACAF U-17 Championship.

In the opening match, the U.S. U-17s routed Cuba, 5-0, with forward Joe Gallardo scoring a hat-trick. Midfielders Christian Pulisic and Luca de la Torre finished with two assists each as well.

Head coach Richie Williams chose to put his side out in a 4-3-3 formation from the start, but the team first scored on a set piece. In the fifth minute, a Pulisic corner kick was headed home by captain Hugo Arellano to put the U.S. in front.

The U.S. U-17s came close to scoring again on multiple occasions in the next 20 minutes, with Pulisic having a goal disallowed due to offside and another chance in the box go over the bar after the ball bobbled on the rough pitch.

Finally, in the 40th minute, the U.S. found the net again. A nice one-two pass played between midfielder Alejandro Zendejas and Pulisic set Pulisic free in the box, who fed Gallardo for a tap-in from the six-yard box.

Three minutes later, Gallardo challenged for a header in the box that fell for Zendejas, who fired a blast on the half-volley past Cuba goalkeeper Enrique Hernandez.

Five minutes into the second half, the U.S. could have scored their fourth goal when Haji Wright was put through on goal and rounded Hernandez, only for his easy chance to go off the near post and away.

Luckily for Wright, Gallardo picked him up in the 65th minute. De la Torre found Gallardo at the top of the box, and the Monterrey forward took a touch and curled home a strike that was somewhat poorly handled by Hernandez.

Gallardo scored again in the 88th minute, completing his hat-trick when de la Torre juked past a couple of defenders and slid a through ball to Gallardo. Gallardo then took a shot that rebounded off Hernandez and then Gallardo again before going in the net.

The U.S. next face Trinidad and Tobago on Monday evening.

Here’s a look at the game highlights:


What did you think of this result? Impressed with Gallardo and Pulisic? Where do you feel the U.S. can still improve?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Who was # 8 in the highlights? He seemed to have a good touch and vision to pick out nice simple passes. Just as the U-20 team was difficult at times to tell how good the players were Technically the same can be said for this U-17 squad. It’s hard to trap and shoot well when the fields are that choppy.
    Overall a good start to the tournament.

  2. Very proud of #2 Matt Olosunde (right back) who was born and raised in Trenton, NJ.
    He started with our inner city Mooch Soccer program at age 6 and his family still lives in Trenton.
    I can only imagine how proud the late Mooch Myernick would be of Matt.
    When Matt was 8 he was playing against some tough 11 year old city kids and he learned early that he could not always use his superior size and speed.
    Makes me sad to think how many kids like Matt we are missing because of our reluctance to get into the cities of America.

  3. Haji Wright’s miss is a teachable moment: Shoot for the corners when the GK is in the net; when he’s not there, shoot for the center.

  4. Watched the game… USA totally dominated but their play was sloppy. Many, many bad passes, unforced turnovers, wasted buildups. Cuba played hard but the USA was simply far better. I think my concern is that you can’t beat a better team if you don’t finish your chances and even though the USA scored 5, they should have scored 10 or more. They even missed an open net after dribbling around the goalie and had one called back that was not offside as the assistant said. Good to get a result but the USA needs to tighten up if they want to keep winning.

    As for the field, I’ve driven by that stadium and people have no idea just how poor Honduras is. I saw many neighborhoods off the main road that consist of shacks and dirt streets. You can’t leave the hotel on foot…too dangerous. Im sure there is not unlimited funds for building the perfect pitch

    • Disappointed?

      Let me get this straight….

      – First game of the tournament
      – Nerves are high
      – Field is crap
      – They still score 5 goals
      – And, keep a clean sheet
      – And, created enough chances to potentially have scored 4-5 more goals

      I can see why you’re disappointed….

      Come on, dude. Give these kids a break. Good first result.


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