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USMNT Under-17’s drubbed by Senegal in World Cup opener

The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team suffered a lopsided defeat in its opening match of the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Despite grabbing an early lead against Senegal, Raphael Wicky’s side conceded four unanswered goals falling 4-1 in Casiarica. Senegal leveled things up before halftime, before scoring a trio of second-half goals late to claim its first three points of the competition.

Gianluca Busio’s third minute header handed the U.S. a 1-0 advantage after Joe Scally put in a wonderful cross. The Sporting KC forward took advantage and headed past Ousmane Ba for his first goal of the competition.

However, Senegal would draw level before halftime as Soulemane Faye scored in first-half stoppage time. Faye’s low drive beat Damian Las to the bottom-right corner to tie things up from Brazil.

Aliou Badara Balde was the first of two Senegalese substitutes to have a major impact off of the bench. In the 72nd minute, Balde put the African side in front for the first time. The U.S. were caught out sleeping defensively, after a long pass from Ba sprung Faye into a one-on-one situation against Las.

Faye’s low shot was denied by Las, but Balde raced into the box and put away the rebound.

Amete Saloum Faye continued to give Senegal an impact off the bench, putting away the third goal of the match. Las could not claim a cross from Soulemane Faye allowing the substitute to slam home the rebound for a 3-1 scoreline.

The night got worse for the U.S. as left back Tayvon Gray was sent off in the 87th minute, after pulling back Faye on a breakaway. On the ensuing free kick, Pape Matar Sarr’s beautiful strike beat Las to the top-right corner for the final goal of the night.

Despite the U.S. holding a 62%-to-38% advantage in possession, it was Senegal who made the most of their offensive chances. Las made six saves in the defeat for the U.S., while Ba denied four efforts from Wicky’s side.

The loss puts the U.S. bottom of Group D after Matchday 1, who next face Japan on Wednesday also in Cariacica.


  1. What I saw was the USA playing out of the back…lots of possession but few goal chances after the third minute. Exactly the same think we see with the Senior team. Does this game plan run all the way down the ranks? I have to think it is.

  2. It was a beating. Senegal had more skill, speed and no respect of the US. We were dominated…..convincingly dominated.

    Sad thing is……Senegal only made this FIRST appearance at this FIFA U-17 World Cup because Guinea was disqualified for fielding two overage players!!!! lol, Damn

    • A few of their players looked 18 – 19. Anyways, there were 3 – 4 major lapses in concentration in the defense which led to the goals. Our guys looked tired and short of breath, and were not capable of catching any of them once they started running. Their guys seems to have some afterburner speed and no one on our team could stay with them.

      When you play a possession style where the ball moves slowly and played to the feet,when there is a turnover, and the other team has way too much speed, they will just outrun you easily since our style of play did not disrupt their shape and they easily countered with their players simply outrunning us.

  3. US was too satisfied just keeping possession but rarely looked to play forward with purpose. While Busio had a nice header goal I thought he was disappointing. Created no threat, made mistakes and looked slow / disinterested for large periods. What exactly are his strengths?

  4. I did not watch after Senegal’s second goal, but in the part I saw, the US maintained possession well and Senegal mainly counter-attacked. It shows the effectiveness of a strong counter attack. I do not think the game showed that the US beaten as badly as the 4-1 score would indicate. That said, the game also showed the value of having big fast forwards who are willing to shoot and can score.

  5. Yes Japan was physical today but they will be tired for next game. I’m sure we can beat them but we will have to take advantage of counter attacks and sub out pepi he was useless. Also we need an offensive player in the midfield talented wingers can get lost at the wings and have a hard time to create something. Chavez at forward seems better given speed.

  6. terrible!!! team ill prepared physically, technically and tactically. He missed a lot in the lineup, faced a physically strong team and put Saldana who has no strength to stop them. We made a lot of mistakes and lost the game that was most likely to win. practically out of championship

  7. Horrible result today but the next games won’t be as physical. I’m sure the us team will play much better and get some results. Today they were outmatched physically against taller faster and ruthless defenders. The us let them grow after scoring first the us was too scared to attack more after scoring early. They need to do much better against African teams much better.

    • Yeah pretty much agree — as has often been the case at the youth level over the years, African teams tend to be a handful and today they clearly exerted their physicality and athleticism, particularly as the game wore on. The goal before halftime was brutal and avoidable. Still, it’s hard to say we were really good enough for a result.
      As you say, I think the remaining fixtures will be played in a different style. Hopefully Wicky will be able to get them focused and ready. We don’t seem to have any standout talents beyond Reyna and Busio (change my mind somebody!). So this could be tough going.


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