The USA U-17 team erased all memories of their recent loss to Colombia, and moved on at the World Cup with a 5-0 win over Paraguay in the Round of 16. Tim Weah, son of all-time great George Weah, led the line for the US, scoring a hat trick, including one of the goals of the tournament with his second goal. Andrew Carleton and Josh Sargent also scored, as the US turned a 1-0 halftime lead into a 5-0 rout, with four goals in 24 minutes.
Chris Durkin once again started for the US, and once again, played all 90 minutes. However, he was moved back and played as a central defender, where he had played the opening game, against India. Against Ghana and Colombia, Durkin had played at a defensive midfielder, a more natural position for the 17 year old. However, against Paraguay, head coach John Hackworth relied on Durkin to help shut down Paraguay, who with 10 goals, was one of the highest scoring teams in the group stage.
The US had a narrow lead heading into the half, but the goal came from a wonderful play, finished off by Weah, who notched his first goal of the tournament. A nifty ball from midfield from Carleton played Ayo Akinola down the right hand side, allowing the Toronto FC academy player a chance to cross into the box. Weah, who is with the Paris Saint-Germain youth team, faded away from his defender, and slotted home for the lead in the 19th minute.
It was then Weah who provided some breathing room in the second half, with a goal to remember. Collecting a pass from Indiana Vassilev, Weah got near the Paraguay box, and cut in towards the middle on his right. Passing up opportunities to play to a teammate, Weah instead launched a shot towards goal, one that eluded the keeper as it crashed into the net for a two goal advantage.
Carleton, who was the first homegrown signing for Atlanta United, then capped of his wonderful game with a neat finish in the 63rd minute. After Sargent picked up a pass in the box, the striker turned, and laid a pass back towards the top of the box. Carleton was all alone, but did well to pass the ball into the back of the net with an inch perfect shot, as the US were well away to an easy victory.
Sargent, who had only one goal to his name this tournament, after scoring several times while playing in the U-20 World Cup earlier this year, got his name on the scoresheet in the 74th minute. A perfectly timed run from Sargent was rewarded with a precise through ball from Carleton, and Sargent smashed hit shot home.
And Carleton was once more a provider in the 77th minute, as Weah completed his hat trick. After Akinola lost possession near the Paraguay box, Carleton collected the ball, and without even looking up, passed to the other side of the box, where he knew Weah was, unmarked. Weah then just had to beat the keeper, and the youngster did just that, giving the US the final lopsided scoreline.
With the victory, the US move on to the quarterfinals of the tournament for the first time since 2005. They will play again on Saturday morning, against either Japan or England, who play on Tuesday.