Gallardo, Wright lead U.S. U-17s in rout of England

U.S. U17 MNT vs Portugal

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

Following a tough 2-1 defeat to Portugal on Monday, the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team channeled their anger into a complete performance against another European foe.

U.S. forward Joe Gallardo scored a hat-trick in 85 minutes, while attacker Haji Wright added another two as the U.S. U-17s thrashed England, 5-1, in their second game of the Nike International Friendlies. The lone goal conceded by the USA came just two minutes after halftime on a beautifully taken free kick by England midfielder Marcus Edwards.

In eerily similar fashion to the match against Portugal, the U.S. opened the scoring against England in the 13th minute as left winger Pierre Da Silva dropped into the box unopposed, crossing to the far post where Gallardo met the pass with a sliding shot that sent the ball slowly over the line.

Three minutes later, Gallardo put the U.S. up two goals when he took advantage of a turnover in midfield, cut into the box, and finish with a powerful strike past England’s goalkeeper Ryan Sandford. The U.S. began to sit back following this, and England had two or three chances throughout the rest of the first half, though the Americans looked solid on the counter attack.

England could have grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck when they cut the deficit in half two minutes into the second half. A dangerous free kick at the top of the box was beautifully curled home by Edwards, and then in the 55th minute, England had the chance to tie the game when they were awarded a penalty kick.

However, Will Pulisic stepped up to the challenge and saved the penalty kick, giving the U.S. a renewed sense of hope. Substitute Luca de la Torre had a huge impact in the second half as did fellow substitute Christian Pulisic, and de la Torre in the 72nd minute dribbled through the England defense, finding Wright at the far post for a tap in to put the U.S. up two goals again.

Wright scored his second eight minutes later as the U.S. took advantage of another turnover and after some shifty moves by the LA Galaxy academy member, Wright fired past Sandford for the fourth goal of the game and his third in two days.

The U.S. completed the 5-1 rout in the 85th minute when a free kick fortuitously bounced in the direction of Gallardo, who finished through a defender’s legs in the box to earn his hat-trick.

Earlier in the day, ten-man Brazil tied Portugal, 1-1, in a feisty affair that saw the referee whistle for 33 fouls. Marcelo de Souza put Brazil up a goal in the 10th minute but Portugal answered back nine minutes later through Benfica product Ricardo Mangas. Brazil suffered a blow after two reckless fouls from Caique da Silva meant he was due for an early bath, receiving his second yellow card in the 26th minute. Despite playing more than an hour with an extra man, Portugal weren’t able to take advantage as the two sides settled for the draw.

With the win, the U.S. moves up to third place in the Nike Friendlies standings with three points, one behind both Portugal and Brazil, who are on four points. England sit at the bottom with zero points. If the U.S. wants to win this year’s tournament, they’ll need England to hold Portugal to either a draw or loss on Friday afternoon, before the USA take on Brazil in the tournament’s finale.

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What did you think of this match? Impressed with Gallardo and Wright? Glad to see the U.S. score goals against a European opponent? How do you think Barbir played in central defense?

Share your thoughts below.

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32 Responses to Gallardo, Wright lead U.S. U-17s in rout of England

  1. Shawn Wallace says:

    i missed it, is there going to be a re broadcast? Also our youth has promise, i just heard about this barbir guy so thats him and kyle gruno that attracting big interest from big clubs, thats a good sign for our defense. Also Wright is a beast along with gallardo.

    • Steven C says:

      If it’s anything like the Portugal match, US Soccer’s YouTube channel will upload the entire match to view in a day or two.

      • whoop-whoop says:

        Seeing that US Soccer was spawned in a country and culture at the apex of self promotion, I am amazed at what a poor job they do of marketing the sport, their teams and games. Inexcusable really. Even with the top USMNT….. if I weren’t putting in the effort to actively seeking them out, like 90% of the nation, I would be completely unaware they exist through mainstream media channels. Living in So Cal, it stings even more when I hear radio commercials promoting El Tri.

    • bryan says:

      de La Torre should be up there with the best of them. he simply looked better than most players out there. hopefully his growth continues.

  2. Joamiq says:

    Ha, some of these kids look 12. Good job by them today though.

    • Sharkbait says:

      Haha, I was just about to say the same thing! In the photo they had up for the preview of the Portugal-USA match the Portuguese kid looked at least 5 years older than the American.

    • Increase says:

      It just means we’re old now.

    • Anthony says:

      These guys are like 14/15. I watched the highlights for the Portugal game and the announcer said that these guys are all eligible for the 2015 under 17 World Cup and the oldest of these guys born in 1998. Wow…I’m getting old.

      I cannot put much stock in these games, but so much happens to players between 16 – 23, and that has always been our issue developmentally.

  3. Bean says:

    It was an entertaining match, and was a close one until the last 20 minutes when both sides changed out a bunch of players. The teams went back and forth with good pace, and the Americans seemed to suffer from the humidity quite a bit. Lots of cramping up. The midfielders kept playing very good through balls to the forwards who did well to create space.

  4. Dennis says:

    Wow, these guys do look young. That likely means they will continue to improve and aren’t there just because they are the most athletic 16 year-olds available.

  5. Sabella says:

    I love the fact we spanked England.

    • Tk says:

      Bingo. England is the Mexico of Europe. Hype, bluster, arrogance to the point of deusion.

      Hell, that is disrespectful to Mexico actually when you look at their youth teams and results. Any win over those delusional clowns is great.

      • Ali Dia says:

        Unlike Mexico, they will not have us around to bail them out when they lose to Costa Rica this summer.

        And I’m half English.

      • bottlcaps says:

        Well no, the Mexican senior team, yes. The youth teams can be arrogant (but they are not) as they have won several youth World Cups and the Olympics, beating Brazil several times.. England youth teams has trouble getting qualified or out of the group stages. Thye are at the bottom of the totem pole here and the 5-1 drubbing was not expected, but not unlooked for either

  6. Greg says:

    Watched the game and it was an absolute blast! Our kids are showing on-the-ball skills that I’d argue many of our top mnt players didn’t have at this age.

    Couple of kids to watch:
    Pulisic (goalie) is a stud! Beyond the PK he stopped he made amazing decisions all night long, rimando esque with his heads up stuff off his line
    Gallardo was fabulous, incredible instinct for the goal
    Da Silva has wheels and a helluva knack for the cross
    And what can I say about Wright?! Wow!

    Having said all that, I honestly believe the best kid on the field was playing for England, remember the name Marcus Edwards folks, he is the real deal, owns the ball like a tiny Afro-wielding Neymar.

    US boys dominated and we all have a ton t be proud of!

    • AcidBurn says:

      Charles Renken was dominant in friendlies like these for the US too a few years ago. So temper your enthusiasm a bit.

      • TomG says:

        We all know these kids are just that.. kids, and an awful lot of them won’t pan out or reach their potential but I don’t think Greg was out of line. He was excited about the overall skill level and didn’t predict the next Messi or anything.

        • whoop-whoop says:

          I agree wholeheartedly when it comes to individual “stars in the making”… that rise and fall has played out countless times. However…. as they say, a rising tide lifts every ship. What is encouraging to me is the level of skill, field awareness and feel for the game seems to have risen on the whole.

    • bryan says:

      agreed about Edwards, he was a class above. he tired as the game wore on, but he was breaking ankles left and right. then a fantastic free kick goal to boot.

  7. Goalscorer24 says:

    Good result but it has very little correlation to whether any of these kids will be good at the next level.

    • Raymon says:

      Um, no. I would have to disagree. This totally means we’re gonna win back-to-back World Cups in 2022 and 2026. Unless Portugal does.

  8. mike says:

    what was the score of the Portugal Brazil match?

  9. bbstl says:

    How does this age group generally translate to the full USMNT? Is this a preview of what we will see in the future, or do these kids generally fall off when their peers catch up in terms of skill level or when they decide to pursue other things?

    • Boyd says:

      Most of this kids are as good as they’ll ever be.
      The better ones may end up playing for MLS unless one of them gets lucky and finds his way to an European (not England) or South American Academy

      • TomG says:

        Wow! You must have spent months traveling the world, scouting these kids and interviewing insiders about them, huh? How lucky we are that we have someone so qualified to make these sweeping judgements.

    • Strider257 says:

      There are just too many variables for this young group to translate too well to the full USMNT. Some of these kids are here because they have just developed more quickly than their peers and will be surpassed when everyone is a bit more mature. Some will get injured and never achieve their full potential, a la John O’Brien (sure wish he had stayed healthy and had a full career). Most kids that are serious enough about soccer to be on a team like this are unlikely to switch to another sport, but some do just shift to another interest whether its girls or education or whatever. Of course the other thing is that some will be able to play against boys, but not have the strength (size is not really an issue if you have speed and skill) to play against more mature opponents. So, to sum up, this age group does not predict what will happen later very well.

      • Matt says:

        You seem to suggest that none of these kids will make it professionally or, even then, to the national team. Given that Jozy Altidore was out there 7 years ago, I don’t follow.

        • MN Footie says:

          It’s a probability thing. For every Jozy out there, there are seven or 8 guys you’ll never hear from again.

  10. Laszlo says:

    Today’s online issue of The Sun has a small blurb that Birmingham have recalled Will Packwood from Bristol Rovers.