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US U-17s lose to Colombia, finish third in Group A

3-1 loss, combined with resounding Ghana win, drops the US into third place

The USA U-17 team had a disappointing end to their group play at the U-17 World Cup, falling 3-1 to Colombia, With the loss, the US finish third in their group, despite being the first team in the tournament to qualify for the second round. A simple tie against Colombia would have ensured the US finished top of their group, but a poor 90 minute performance doomed the US to third place, helped by Ghana’s 4-0 win over hosts India.

Colombia had struggled at times through their first two games, but were ahead immediately against the US, in the third minute. A long throw into the box was poorly dealt by the Americans, after a missed clearance by D.C. United’s Chris Durkin. Keeper Justin Garces was slow to react, allowing Juan Vidal to pounce, sending a deft finish past Garces for the 1-0 lead.

It was a poor start for the Americans, but by the 24th minute, they had their response. Atlanta United midfielder Andrew Carleton got to the end line and sent a cross through the middle of the box. The ball reached George Acosta, who was making his first start of the tournament. Acosta’s shot skipped under the keeper, leveling the scores, a result which the US would have been looking for to win the group.

But that was as good as things got for the US in the game. Colombia’s breakthrough came in the 67th minute, with an audacious goal from Juan Penaloza. A foul committed just outside the box on the left hand side seemed like a perfect opportunity to cross the ball into the middle. Instead, Penaloza took aim at goal, and whipped in a perfectly placed shot, that just kissed off the underside of the crossbar, to give the Colombians a 2-1 lead.

At that point, the US still would have won the group, based on goals scored. But as they pushed forward for an equalizer, everything fell apart. The US couldn’t convert a corner kick, and Colombia quickly pushed back the other way. Eventually Deiber Caicedo slotted home, putting Colombia up by two goals. Meanwhile, at the same time, Ghana scored twice against India, meaning they would now top the group on goal differential.

The third tie breaker, head to head, meant that the loss to Colombia put the US third in their group, despite leading after two games. With the result, the US will play next on Monday, either against Paraguay, the winners of Group B, or Iran or Germany, either of which who could win Group C.