The United States under-17 men’s national team handled Honduras, 3-0, to all but clinch a berth into the World Cup. Andrew Carleton and Chris Goslin both started once again and shined in the victory. Josh Sargent scored a brace and Ayo Akinola added a third to complete the comprehensive performance.
The U.S. dominated the first half in both possession and dangerous scoring chances. Atlanta’s Chris Goslin had an adventurously negative and positive opening 15 minutes. He picked up a dubious yellow card in just the sixth minute of the match, but almost atoned for it minutes late with the first good chance. He collected a loose ball near the top of the box and blazed a shot just wide of the left post.
The American’s domination paid off just before the half-hour mark when Andrew Carleton’s free kick from the right flank found an unmarked Josh Sargent to tap in his fourth goal of the tournament.
Honduras would attempt to come out of their shell on occasions, but never mounted any dangerous opportunities. Carleton again would try to make something happen to extend the lead before the break. On two separate occasions he almost created a goal with his astonishing dribbling skills.
Just a minute later, he was at it again with his fancy footwork, taking on nearly 8 separate defenders and somehow getting a shot off. Incredible individual work by the 16-year-old.
The second half saw much of the same domination of territory for the U.S. with Honduras content to sit back and be patient. However, it wouldn’t be a smart gameplan with the Americans scoring a second in the 65th minute through Ayo Akinola. The Toronto FC academy star raced onto a ball over the top, eluded the goalkeeper’s attempt to collect it, and slotted into the empty net.
Through the last 20 minutes of the match, the U.S. farcically held onto possession near midfield with Honduras unwilling to come out of their shell. They finally did in the 81st minute and paid for it as Sargent got behind their backline and clinically finished his second of the match.
With three points and a massive goal differential advantage over Friday’s opponents, Cuba, the U.S. isn’t mathematically guaranteed a World Cup spot, but it would take a disaster of epic proportions for it not to happen at this point.