U.S. U-17s concede stoppage-time winner to Portugal in opening match of Nike Friendlies

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By DAN KARELL

For about 90 minutes, it looked as though the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team would walk away from Monday’s opening match of the Nike International Friendlies with Portugal with a well-earned point and some experience under their belt.

Instead, with a momentary lapse of concentration, Portugal turned a stoppage-time free kick into a goal via the head of Goncalo Vieira to take a 2-1 victory in the dying moments. Viera’s header completed a Portugal comeback that started when midfielder Generoso poked home from inside the box in the 27th minute.

Before there was any comeback though, the U.S. got off to as good a start as U-17 head coach Richie Williams could ask for. American midfielder Alejandro Zendejas took the ball in an advanced position, cut inside, and played teammate Haji Wright into the box. From there, Wright instinctually sent a blast into the upper 90, fooling Portugal goalkeeper Fabio Duarte and sending the Americans into the lead.

Despite conceding the goal, it actually seemed as if Portugal settled into the game more following the goal. Though the U.S. still created a few chances, they never seemed as dangerous as the overlapping runs of the Portuguese wing backs Joao Simoes and Pedro Ferreira, who caused the U.S. defense plenty of issues.

In the 27th minute, it was Simoes who played a ball into the center of the box that Generoso chested well into space, before finishing past an out-of-positioned Kevin Silva in goal for the U.S. to tie the match.

Heading into the second half, the U.S. looked a bit fresher but again, Portugal settled in once more and looked much more dangerous in attack. Luca de la Torre and Wright continued to be sharp but many of the U.S. players started to run out of ideas. It surely seemed headed towards a 1-1 draw before the USA conceded a free kick in stoppage time, which ended up in the back of the net.

Bruno Pereira stepped up as the U.S. was building their wall and floated a ball into the box. Viera rose highest to meet it and powered it past Silva to give all three points to Portugal.

Following Brazil’s 2-1 victory against the England U16s, both Portugal and Brazil are now tied with three points each, while the USA and England are bottom with no points.

The U.S. next play England on Wednesday while Brazil face Portugal.

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What did you think of this match? Disappointed in the result? Think the U.S. deserved at least a point?

Share your thoughts below.

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8 Responses to U.S. U-17s concede stoppage-time winner to Portugal in opening match of Nike Friendlies

  1. downintexas says:

    Only saw the last 30 min. We kept possession for most of it, We looked the better of two teams in that time

    Lost the game cause they put 4 men in the wall instead of 2.

    • bryan says:

      i knew they were going to score because the chaos surrounding the set up of the wall was insane. so many Portugal players unmarked. it was baffling.

  2. M says:

    I thought Portugal was the better team in the 1st half and the US was better in the second. Both teams had maxed out on subs by the end, so I wouldn’t make too much of the lost.

    Portugal appeared to have a few players that were bigger and stronger and created a lot of problems for the US. Both teams showed excellent technical skills. Based on one game I would say this is the least athletic but most skilled US team, as a whole, I have watched at the Nike friendlies since the Gyau, Renken, Lletget and Gil team

  3. Karl L says:

    The US U-Why-Bother National Team

  4. bryan says:

    i watched the whole game, the 1st half was pretty much dominated by Portugal with Silva making some BIG saves to keep it level at 1-1. much better 2nd half, per usual with US teams, though. De La Torre looked fantastic and by far the best US player. Wright was solid as well and did well when he moved to RW, although he had two open headers he should have done better on when he was playing up top. Olosunde also looked strong at RB when getting forward and was solid enough on defense. but he certainly got worked a few times by Sambu.

    Perez was just ok for me on the left, had a pretty heavy touch and failed to make too much of an impact. Calvillo, the #6, was disappointing as well. overall, good showing from the US, specifically the 2nd half. but what a TERRIBLE way to give up the goal to go down 2-1 in stoppage time. awful marking, awful foul by Da Silva (who was playing CB…?). and the US got punished for it.

    hopefully they can build off that performance and take care of England tomorrow.

  5. Shawn says:

    Yeah we seem to have a good crop of u-17ers. Btw did the cb who is suppose to join Man U play? Or do you think he will play vs england