Italy sends the U.S. home after 2-1 defeat in the second round of the Under-17 World Cup
November 4, 2009 09:00 PM
By Michael Anderson, USYouthSoccer.org
The United States team has high expectations for their trip to Nigeria for the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Considered one of the better youth national teams in recent years, this year's U-17 World Cup roster features players from 13 different states with loads of experience. Eighteen of the 21 players, including all 11 starters from games against Spain and the U.A.E., and 10 of the 11 against Malawi, participated in the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (US Youth Soccer ODP). Six of those players have logged at least 25 games with the U-17 Men's National Team, and 10 players have been in the U.S. Soccer residency program since the fall semester of 2007. With only four losses in their last 20 games, Coach Wilmer Cabrera is hoping for a long stay in Africa.
The United States' finishing woes finally caught up with them in a 2-1 loss to Italy in the second round of the 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Cup. The U.S. squandered chances all tournament long, but were still able to finish round robin group play in second place with a 2-1 record. On Wednesday however, Jack McInerney (Alpharetta, Ga./Cobb FC) had a penalty kick saved in the 16th minute and the United States couldn't capitalize on several good chances as Italy moved on to the quarterfinals.
McInerney's saved spot-kick in the 16th minute changed the course of the game as 13 minutes later Italy beat the U.S. keeper, Earl Edwards (San Diego, Calif./Nomads SC), for the first time since the opener against Spain to take a 1-0 lead into halftime. Midfielder Nick Palodichuck (Battleground, Wash./Washington Premier FC) was able to equalize for the Americans in the 51st minute from a Luis Gil (Garden Grove, Calif./Pateadores) corner kick, but Italy found the winner five minutes later.
The Americans were up and down as they tried to get back into the game, but McInerney could only hit the crossbar from eight yards away after a Stefan Jerome (Davie, Fla./West Pines United FC) feed, and the U.S. was unable to even the game on 12 shots and seven corner kicks. The U.S. held possession for 55 percent of the match.
For complete match reports from U.S. Soccer, click here
For complete FIFA U-17 World Cup standings and results, click here