U.S. U-17s enter critical stage, Mix's wondergoal, and USOC 2019
May 07, 2019
THE EARLY PART OF the week has brought some interesting news in American soccer as the U.S. U-17 national team is now into the their most important games of the cycle and there was some Americans abroad news to report.
U.S. U-17s win Group
The United States U-17 national team won Group F of the CONCACAF U-17 Championship/World Cup qualifying with a perfect nine points from three games. But that will be for nothing unless it wins its next two games. The U.S. U-17 team must advance to the semifinals of this tournament to earn a ticket to Brazil for the World Cup later this year.
On Thursday the United States will face Guadeloupe in the Round of 16. If successful against Guadeloupe, the U.S. will face the winner of Panama and Guatemala on Sunday for a ticket to the World Cup.
Overall, the United States has been playing well in this tournament aside from a rough few minutes against Canada where it conceded the first two goals of the game in quick succession. The perspective of this team needs to be viewed that new head coach Raphael Wicky is still learning how to work with this group of players after only taking the job in March and having just one minicamp in April to meet his players.
In a sense, this is a trial by fire and Wicky is still trying to build his team. This qualifying team is just about getting through the next two game and then play with houses money. The 6-1 win over Barbados didn’t really reveal much other than many of the goals came from set pieces.
In the 3-0 win over Guatemala, the United States struggled at times but took over on individual talent alone. The two goals from Griffin Yow and one from Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez were all that was needed.
Yow x2! Mazy run by Gio Reyna and Yow finishes a simple header. 2-0 US early in the 2nd half. pic.twitter.com/ngxkK357j3— Future USMNT (@FutureUsmnt) May 6, 2019
With a few days between games, Wicky should have a sense of what is working with the team. Here are a few of our observations.
Busio and Reyna combo: It will be interesting to see how Wicky finds a role for both of these players. Reyna likes to dribble at defenders and make plays. He hasn’t had a high success rate, but doesn’t need a high rate to impact a game. Eventually, he seems to be able to find a few occasions where he can tilt a game. The same can be said with Busio although he hasn’t been that effective in 1v1 situations with the ball. He does read the game and get into dangerous positions.
The big question for Wicky is whether or not Busio or Reyna have to play on the wings – where it is not the best position for either.
Ocampo-Chavez and Pepi: It doesn’t seem that Wicky will play a 4-4-2 with this team because U.S. Soccer seems to want its teams to play the same way throughout the all age groups. But this team isn’t build for a 4-3-3 since it doesn’t have great wingers, it has two really good center forwards, and a wealth of central midfielders. The 4-4-2 seems like an obvious direction.
But in a 4-3-3 which central forward will Wicky use in the important games ahead? Pepi came in with a huge profile and a lot of hype but hasn’t gotten going yet. Ocampo-Chavez has been a little bit more productive.
Leyva: Seattle Sounders midfielder Daniel Leyva has looked impressive when either starting for coming off the bench. After the GA Cup, he’s been riding a nice wave of momentum and can pass the ball effectively. Look for him to continue to get important minutes.
Backline: There are more questions here than answers. Kobe Hernandez needs to get moved to left back but it remains to be seen what is the best central defense combination. Also, can Joseph Scally raise his game to be one of the best right backs in this tournament during the knockout stages? The good news is that regardless of the above, Damian Las is a very good goalkeeper.
Diskerud scores a goalazo
Mix Diskerud has been great for Ulsan Hyundai of South Korea’s K-League. He’s also helped the team in the AFC Champions League and on Tuesday, Ulsan defeated Sydney FC behind a great goal from Diskerud in the 60th minute.
In the AFC Champions League Ulsan Hyundai downs Sydney FC 1-0 thanks to a very nice 60th minute back-heel goal from American mid Mix Diskerud. Ulsan Hyundai are heading to the knockout stages after clinching Group H. Check out this goal from @MixDiskerud pic.twitter.com/Br6hPbrEKf— American Soccer Now (@ClassicASN) May 7, 2019
With the win, Ulsan Hyundai are assured of winning Group H of the AFC Champions League and heading to the knockout stages.
US Open Cup tonight
There are going to be a lot of games around the country in the U.S. Open Cup. If you live near where a game is going to be played, definitely check one out. ASN will be at Montclair State tonight to watch the Red Bulls U-23 team take on FC Motown.
8??4?? Teams— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) May 6, 2019
1??????????????#USOC2019 kicks off tomorrow May 7 with 10 First Round games LIVE on @espn+ #UpForTheCup ???? '5 Things to know' » https://t.co/gYrVyNE7Ji pic.twitter.com/wngbkkUMPS