The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team kicked off the 2018 Nike International Friendlies with a match against Portugal in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. Despite scoring the first goal of the match, Shaun Tsakiris’ men were unable to hold on and had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
The U.S. U-17’s fielded a strong lineup with Gio Reyna, Griffin Yow, and Kobe Hernandez being amongst those who stood out on the day. On the back line with Hernandez was Joe Scally, Axel Alejandre, and Adam Armour.
William Reilly, Adam Saldana, and Tayvon Gray made up the midfield while Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez joined Yow and Reyna up front. Damien Las, who had a memorable performance against England in last year’s edition of the Nike International Friendlies returned in goal.
Griffin Yow struck first on the night as he capitalized on a defensive error in the 36th minute. The D.C. United academy player intercepted a pass headed towards Portugal’s goalkeeper after a pair of poor passes from the Portuguese and calmly slotted home the game’s opening goal.
The U.S. would head into the halftime break with a one-goal advantage thanks to Yow.
Both sides had good spells throughout the second half, but it was Portugal who scored the goal to equalize the game in the 81st minute. Tiago Tomás found his way behind Hernandez and was able to tap a cross in from close range after Scally was beaten on the wing.
The U.S. did have a chance to find a late winner in the dying moments of the game. Cameron Dubar found himself leading a counter-attack leading him into the penalty area. His shot was saved, and the rebound that fell to Ricardo Pepi was dealt with by the Portuguese defense.
The U.S. U-17 MNT will return to action on Friday against Turkey who opened the friendlies with a 1-0 loss to Brazil on Wednesday.