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USMNT U-17’s down Guatemala to clinch FIFA World Cup berth


The U.S. Under-17 men’s national team overcame a few scares in its quarterfinal showdown with Guatemala before eventually hanging on to clinch its fourth-consecutive FIFA U-17 World Cup berth in style.

Keyrol Figueroa continued his impressive tournament with two goals while Taha Habroune delivered the final blow in a 5-3 victory over hosts Guatemala on Tuesday night. Brian Romero and Aiden Harangi also delivered goals of their own as Gonzalo Segares’ squad remained perfect at the Concacaf U-17 Championship.

The USMNT U-17’s struck first as Charlotte FC’s Romero needed only seven minutes to break the deadlock. David Vazquez’s pressure on the Guatemala backline led to an error at the back before Vazquez’s cross to a wide open Romero was tapped home.

Figueroa continued his hot run in front of goal to double the Americans lead in the 28th minute. Vazquez’s cross into the box was gathered by Figueroa before the in-form forward drilled a low shot into the bottom corner for a 2-0 advantage.
Guatemala cut the deficit to 2-1 before halftime after Pedro Soma was called for a handball in the box allowing Olger Escobar the opportunity to score from the penalty spot.

The USMNT U-17’s kept their feet on the gas in the second half with Harangi scoring his first goal of the tournament in the 50th minute. Harangi’s long-range strike into the bottom-left corner extended the Americans lead to 3-1.

Not long after Gabino Vasquez made it 3-2, the USMNT U-17’s regained its two-goal lead with Figueroa netting his second goal of the match. His deflected shot landed in the top-right corner, propelling the Americans in front 4-2.

Guatemala continued to fight to keep its World Cup hopes alive, cutting the deficit to 4-3 following Carlos Aguilar’s headed finish in the 74th minute. However, Taha Habroune came off the bench to deliver the eighth and final goal of the match after a great set up from Paulo Rudisill.

Duran Ferree finished the match with two saves in goal as the USMNT U-17’s would hang on to set up a semifinal showdown with either Canada or Puerto Rico on Friday.


  1. Giving up three goals anyone want to tell me why 16 year old DC United homegrown CB Matai Akinmboni isn’t with this team? Did Wayne Rooney not want to let him go? He is one of the highest rated young CB’s in the US. Got minutes last year for DC United at 15.

    • They did not release him because they are planning to use him as a starter this weekend. I believe Williams, Hines-Ike and Pines are all injured currently. I think Pines has recently begun training but isn’t ready to start.

  2. Guatemala was the best team the US has faced so far in the tournament. I’ve been watching since last match of group stage (v Canada). Canada on paper have talent; Guatemala is the hometeam & 3 MLS academy players. U17s have the same problem the senior team has. Never playing thru the middle. Dependent on LB & LW partnership to initiate offense. LB gets the ball to the LW. LW makes crosses or passes into the box. Why have a LM position? Why not play with one less player? If you don’t play thru the middle, you won’t be able to defend thru the middle because you’re not use to it!

  3. Guatemala’s goals all came following free kicks. In each case the US was simply out-competed and unable to clear cleanly. Had the US not been able to convert the chances it created, the result could have been different.
    At least the US will have a day more rest than whoever they play next.

  4. Keyrol Figueroa looking like a legit prospect at CF. Medina has dropped off since his first game hat trick.

    Wonder if Keyrol gets looked at for the u20’s similar to Josh Sargent did? Still believe Malik Sanogo should be called up for the u20 WC. He has been really good this season for Union Berlins u19 team.

    • I think Sonogo was with the U19s in January. I wouldn’t read too much into that, going to the earlier camp allowed him to get back to January camp with Union earlier. Certainly has to be in consideration especially if one of the other attackers aren’t released.

  5. This was a very frustrating game for me. The US came out looking like the US vs. T&T in that infamous loss. They seemed to be playing like all they had to do was show up to win. Very little intensity, both of the US first half goals came off bad mistakes by Guatemala and then they were just making square and back passes after that. I knew they needed a 3rd to really put the game away and they looked like they could have scored a 3rd or 4th if they had put forth the effort. Sure enough, what appeared to be a bogus handball cut the lead in half and the momentum went to Guatemala. A lot of sloppy play; the US looked mu8ch better against Canada even though that game was closer.

    • Kind of unlucky, penalty was a little suspect. Then just lack of focus because they were up. Crowd was rowdy laser pointers and the like supposedly. Guatemala’s U20s qualified so maybe a resurgence in their system. US had only given up 1 g in previous four matches.


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