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U.S. U17 National Team readies for World Cup Qualifiers at IMG Academy

IMG Academy
Junior Flores outraces two Trinidadian players.

U-17 World Cup Qualifying is just around the corner, and the United States U-17 National Team is playing in a series of friendlies at IMG Academy to ready them for what’s ahead. The teams they are facing are fellow CONCACAF participants, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados.

In the two matches against Trinidad and Tobago, the U.S. U-17s’ first string won comfortably in a 4-0 drubbing. The U.S. U-17s’ second string had a much nervier affair in a 2-2 draw.

Early in the game, the U.S. went down 1-0, but battled back when the U.S. centerback rose highest to head home a corner kick to tie the game at one-all. Soon after the break, the U.S. gave up another early goal after a Trinidad and Tobago forward beat the offside trap, rounded the keeper and slotted the ball into the net. The U.S. pushed for the game tying goal, and in extra time they found it, but not without controversy. After a corner kick bounced around the area, it fell to a U.S. player who released a shot on frame. The ball slammed into a Trinidad and Tobago defender and the ball looked to have trickled just over the goal line before being cleared. The linesman saw the same and ruled it a goal, much to the displeasure of Trinidad and Tobago. Soon after, the final whistle blew to secure the draw.

“It’s good for all our players to play an international match against international competition, and against a good Trinidad team,” said Head Coach Richie Williams. “It was a battle for our guys. At the end of the day it was really good exercise for both teams going into qualifying.”

The U.S.’s final match before heading to Panama for World Cup Qualifying will be against the Barbados U17 National Team on April 1 at 4:00 p.m. The Barbados U17 National Team will also face the IMG Academy U18s on April 3 at 4:00 p.m. on the West Campus of IMG Academy.