The U.S. U-17 National Team took care of their first knockout round matchup with ease to book a spot in the quarterfinals of the U-17 World Cup.
Timothy Weah’s hat-trick led the way for the U.S., who cruised past Paraguay en route to a 5-0 win in the Round of 16. Entering Monday’s match, Paraguay had been undefeated with three straight wins in the group stage while the U.S. finished third in their group due to a loss to Colombia.
After several chances for either side, the U.S. broke the deadlock midway through the first half on vicious counter attack. An inch-perfect ball from Andrew Carleton sent Ayo Akinola down the sidelines, allowing the TFC attacker space on the right. Akinola fired a first time cross, finding Weah on the back post for a sliding finish.
Weah added his second early in the second half, and it was a good one. He thumped a right-footed shot from long distance across the goal and into the top corner to double the U.S. advantage.
Carleton’s goal in the 63rd minute sealed the result as the team’s primary playmaker scored his second goal in four games. Josh Sargent’s hold-up play helped set up the sequence as the forward turned back through the defense before finding Carleton in the center of the box. The Atlanta United midfielder took a first-time shot, picking out a corner to push the lead to 3-0.
Sargent made it 4-0 in the 74th minute, firing a shot off the underside of the crossbar and in to run the score up even further. Moments later, Carleton found Weah for a simple finish as the Paris Saint-Germain forward completed his hat-trick to finalize the scoring.
The U.S. was the dominant side through a majority of the second half, and they could have scored a few more in the first as well. Chris Goslin’s long-range free kick tipped off the crossbar in the 45th minute while Akinola saw a chested shot cleared off the line just before halftime as well.
With the win, the U.S. heads to the quarterfinals, where they’ll take on the winner of Tuesday’s clash between England and Japan on Saturday.