The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team won the Nike International Friendlies for the first time, beating Brazil 3-1 in the final game of the tournament in front of a capacity crowd at the Premier Sports Campus.
The U.S. went into the match knowing a victory would secure the championship. First half goals from Rubio Rubin, Tyler Turner and Wesley Wade sprung the U.S. into the lead, and they withstood severe pressure from Brazil in the second half to earn the victory.
Rubin gave the U.S. an early lead just two minutes in, notching a goal with the first shot of the game. ussoccer.com Man of the Match Junior Flores delivered a free kick into the area that was headed towards Rubin, who skillfully flicked the ball over his shoulder past the unsuspecting Brazil goalkeeper.
The goal stunned Brazil back to life, and in the 12th minute they strung together a trademark passing sequence that led to the equalizer. Walney centered the ball into the area and an attempted clearance sat up for Matheus Queiroz, who tagged a laser into the upper right corner.
The next 20 minutes were an entertaining back and forth affair as both teams pressed for a second goal, and the U.S. got there first thanks to a Turner strike from close range in the 31st minute. Flores once again whipped a dangerous delivery towards the six-yard box, and the ball ping-ponged in the area until it reached the feet of Turner. Displaying slick close control, he created space and smacked a shot into the upper right corner that sparked a jubilant celebration with the players and fans.
As the clock wound down on the opening stanza, the U.S. struck gold once again just before halftime. Flores made a dazzling run through midfield to gain space on the left flank before centering for Wade, who had made a timely run into the area. Wade snuck in front of Brazil goalkeeper Guilherme and re-directed the ball to the far corner to send the USA into the locker room with a 3-1 lead.
Brazil turned up the heat at the start of the second half in search of a goal that could put them back into contention, and the U.S. defense would bend but not break. While the Brazilians posted the majority of shots, they were rarely able to create real danger.
Flores came close to scoring when he got in behind the Brazil defense in the 75th minute, hitting the outside netting that fooled many in the pro-U.S. crowd into thinking he had the USA’s fourth.
The U.S. repeatedly closed down Brazil’s forays toward goal for the rest of the match, with Connor Donovan making several good clearances while U.S. forwards Corey Baird and Christopher Lema worked hard to help pressure the Brazilian defenders and help see out the game.
Brazil managed one final legitimate chance, but Paul Christensen handled Abner’s effort from 15 yards out.
At the final whistle, the U.S. team received the 2011 Nike International Friendlies championship trophy from U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. Brazil finished the tournament in second place with four points, while France claimed third place with three points from three ties. Turkey came in fourth after winning last year’s tournament.
U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team Match Report
Match: U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team vs. Brazil U-17 Men’s National Team
Date: Dec. 4, 2011
Competition: 2011 Nike International Friendlies
Venue: Premier Sports Campus; Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET
Weather: 73 degrees, clear
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 3 0 3
BRA 1 0 1
USA – Rubio Rubin (Shaquell Moore) 2nd minute
BRA – Matheus 16
USA – Tyler Turner 31
USA – Wesley Wade (Junior Flores) 43
USA: 1-Paul Christensen; 4-Shaquell Moore, 2-Conor Donovan, 6-Tyler Turner, 3- John Requejo Jr.; 7-Rubio Rubin, 5-Guy Kabala (14-Steven Echevarria, 65), 20-Christopher Lema , 10-Junior Flores (19-Danya Kafai, 78); 13-Corey Baird (16-Kevin Polit 90+1), 9-Wesley Wade (11-DeAndre Robinson, 65)
Substitutions Not Used: 8-Angel Heredia, 12- Adonis Amaya, 15-Jorge Calix, 17-Dembakwi Yomba, 18-Evan Louro
Head coach: Wilmer Cabrera
BRA: 1-Guilherme; 2- Kaue (13-Derlan, 83), 3-Marcel, 4-Eriks (capt.), 6-Abner; 7-Walney (16-Linik, 46), 8-Ze Augusto, 5-Matheus Queiroz; 10-Gabriel (15-Gabriel Barbosa, 87), 11-Joanderson (14-Ian, 65), 9-Bruno (18-Renan Gorne, 83)
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Fellipe, 14-Ian, 17-Kaique
Head coach: Emerson Rodriguez de Avila
Stats Summary: USA / BRA
Shots: 9 / 3
Shots on Goal: 4 / 4
Saves: 3 / 1
Corner Kicks: 2 / 5
Fouls: 17 / 16
Offside: 3 / 4
BRA – Abner (caution) 24th minute
BRA – Kaue (caution) 33
USA – DeAndre Robinson (caution) 84
BRA – Ze Augusto (caution) 90
BRA – Zerlan (caution) 90
Referee: Matthew Forrester (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Mark Cahen (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Sims Meredith (USA)
Fourth Official: Terry Vaughn (USA)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Junior Flores