The USA U-17 team is one win away from qualifying for the U-17 World Cup as they currently lead Group A for the automatic berth to Chile later this year. The U-17 USMNT has beaten Guatemala, Cuba, and Trinidad & Tobago, and drew with Honduras to set up a final group stage match with Jamaica, who is currently third in the group. The US has also clinched a spot in the 2nd place Group A vs 3rd place Group B for a spot in the World Cup in case they do not win the group, and it looks like they would face either Panama or Costa Rica in that game if the US does not win the group. Beating Jamaica and qualifying automatically is the goal without a doubt though. The team was unfortunate to give up a late equalizer against Honduras otherwise they would have already clinched a spot.
Overall, the Young Yanks have been quite impressive, outscoring opponents 13-3 so far. Their attack is fluid and creates tons of chances, with great performances from Christian Pulisic, Luca De La Torre, Josh Perez, and Joe Gallardo in particular. All of these players have been dangerous and have both created and finished chances, with Josh Perez really being the danger man over the last few matches.
I have been most impressed overall with both of the outside backs and the Young Yanks’ keeper. Both John Nelson and Matthew Olosunde have looked really good at left and right back respectively, in terms of their one-on-one defending, their organization, their positioning, and their confidence on the ball going forward. Nelson in particular has been willing to take guys on, beat them, and then make the right pass regularly. William Pulisic has been huge in net, coming up with multiple big saves against both Honduras and Trinidad & Tobago. The defense as a whole has been quite solid, with only a couple mistakes. Kickoff today between the US and Jamaica is at 4 PM PST, on Fox Sports 2. Here what coach Richie Williams and both Pulisics have to say about the final group game below.
U-17 World Cup qualification is within reach for this team, and look for them to attack early and often against Jamaica in their quest to lock up a World Cup spot in Chile in fall 2015.