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U17 vs. Germany Match Report

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November 2023
The United States fell valiantly to Germany three to two in the round of 16 at the 2023 U17 World Cup. The boys showed resilience, heart and toughness against one of the best teams in the tournament, but in the end, the more physically dominant and talented team won. The United States started the game with a disadvantage due to three players being unavailable because of suspension. Two of the three players were center-backs, which forced the United States to play their best midfielder, Pedro Soma, at center-back.

Those personnel challenges proved costly in the end. Soma did his best, but the first goal was scored off of a free kick that was conceded by Soma in a dangerous position and the second was scored after Soma lost his man for a split second and was just a tad late to disrupt the strike. After each of Germany’s first two goals, the United States fought back to tie the game, but the final goal was late and too much for the United States to overcome with a depleted bench. 
The starting eleven for the United States U17 team walk out to take on Germany in the round of 16.

Match Report



Similar to the tournament that this team competed in a few months ago in the Czech Republic, the United States showed great resilience after going down early in the game. They never lost their belief, they never lost their bravery and they never lost their want to play from the back and attack. They kept themselves in it to the end. The toughness, effort and resiliency of this team was evident throughout the tournament and is a testament to coach Gonzalo Segares and the character of these kids. 

Set Plays

Once again, the United States delivered good balls in and flashed danger in many of their set plays. The second goal came off of a tricky ball by David Vazquez and a good job by Micah Burton to disrupt the keeper's focus, allowing Vazquez’s ball to find its way into the back of the net.

Ball Progressions

The United States did a good job of finding space and combining in the midfield to open up transition moments. They were able to stretch Germany’s lines and find a lot of space going forward.


Final Third Execution

The United States struggled to deliver that final incisive ball. They did well to get the ball to the final third, but once they got there, they often turned the ball over needlessly and made questionable decisions. In the end, I thought the team was too reliant on their youngest player, Nimfasha Berchimas, and it was too much to ask him to be the main difference maker against a side like Germany. 

Defensive Breakdown

In the end it was a poor challenge in a dangerous spot, losing track of an attacker for a split second in the final third, getting beat to the endline in a one on one situation, and poor near post positioning by the keeper that led to the three goals for Germany. All these goals required Germany to do a lot to make these goals happen, but the United States helped with some key mistakes. 

Personnel Management

The mismanagement of the squad during the last game was damaging to the United States chances to beat Germany. This team should have never been in a position to lose two center-backs in that game and while both Tyler Hall and Noahkai Banks do deserve some blame, the majority should go to coach Segares. He could have minimized the risk in a somewhat meaningless game by taking Banks out at half. 

Additionally, I thought the decision to start Aiden Harangi was a questionable one. While he was more effective getting forward, he had struggled all tournament staying in front of bigger and more athletic wingers and that ended up being the case on the final goal. I would have preferred to see Oscar Verhoeven start on his natural right side and bring in Tahir Reid-Brown on the left who is a more defensive minded full-back. While he struggled going forward for most of the tournament, he has a better profile to match the talented wingers that Germany deployed.

Top Performers

Matthew Corcoran (Man of the Match)

Corcoran was the best player on the field in this game for the United States and he played great on both sides of the ball. He had the difficult task of shadowing Germany’s best player, Noah Darvich and he essentially eliminated him from the game. He was physical and excellent in his duels with Darvich.

On the ball he was good as well. He was fairly ball secure, had good moments in progression and nearly had two world-class goals that would have tied the game down the stretch. One shot was a beautiful driven and curling shot that barely grazed the fingertips of the German keeper. The other was a free kick from around 30 yards out that just went wide of the post. 

Oscar Verhoeven

I really appreciated the way Verhoeven competed defensively against a very good German winger and I love the intensity he brought to the match. He didn’t do a ton in the attack, but he was committed and focused defensively for the majority of the match. 

Stuart Hawkins

A steady performance by Hawkins who didn’t make any critical mistakes defensively. He also did a great job of forcing the German midfield into defensive decisions by driving the ball forward in possession. I thought that tactical shift in the second half was key in helping the United States open up Germany. 

Cruz Medina

Medina was solid again and this performance capped off a promising tournament. He got into dangerous spots and was poised and incisive on the ball. 

In Summary

Overall I would consider this U17 World Cup a success. Getting out of the group is still the low bar for any United States team at a World Cup and this group accomplished that with two good wins over quality opponents South Korea and Burkina Faso. They also competed well against two world powers in France and Germany. 

This wasn’t the most talented U17 group that the United States has assembled, but it was a resilient and unified group that played competently. They didn’t have enough difference makers across each line and lacked a bit of physicality and cutting edge. What this tournament did show that the United States is growing more depth with each class. Gonzalo Segares played all but their third keeper and everyone was able to contribute admirably. That’s a good step forward at the U17 level. The next step is to start developing more players that can be clear difference makers on the global stage. 

The next U17 class could be a turning point. The 2008 and 2009 class has the potential to be the strongest back to back class we have seen, potentially ever. They’ll get their first chance to show what they can do at the U17 Concacaf Championships in the next year or so. That group could be led by the likes of Nimfasha Berchimas, Cavan Sullivan, Jude Terry, Maximo Carrizo, Julian Hall, KK Spivey and many others. 

As for the 2006 and 2007 class, they’ll now look to try and get themselves into the next U20 pool. The next U20 cycle will be led by the 2005 class, but both the 2006 and 2007s will have an opportunity to develop in their professional careers and show that they can add value to the next group.  

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