UNDER-17 CONCACAF CHAMPIONSHIP: With the easy 4-1 victory on Thursday the U.S. are now on the verge of qualifying to the Under-17 World Cup in Chile.
By Jorge Belon, Managing Editor
The United States record improved to 3-0 after Joshua Perez guided the Yanks with hat-trick performance in their 4-1 victory against Guatemala on Thursday at Estadio Francisco Morazán in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
The stars and stripes had a quick start against the Chapines and grabbed the lead in the 10th minute of the match. Perez took a free kick from the right side of the field that curved into the bottom of the net.
The movement of the ball confused the Guatemalan goalie, Gilder Lemus, as the ball flew by his hand and the U.S. took the 1-0 lead. The Yanks took control and Perez’s showcase started.
Ten minutes later he went at it again. This time he showed composed footwork as he controlled a chip pass from teammate Christian Pulisic. Perez then took of with the ball racing past two Guatemalan defenders and getting ready to shoot. In between two defenders and in full stride the 17-year-old forward blasted a knuckle shot to the bottom right hand corner of the net. Once again the movement and the pace fooled the goalie, as he mistimed his dive and the score was 2-0.
He completed his hat-trick right before the half ended with a penalty kick to give the Americans a 3-0 lead going into the break.
The Chapines looked in a daze as the second half started and it got worst before they scored. Three minutes into the second half U.S. striker Pierre Da Silva would make a hard run into the left side of the box to receive a pass from Lucas Del La Torre. Immediately he blasted a shot into the left corner, squeezing the ball in between the goalie and the post to make it 4-0 at the 48th minute.
The Guatemalan’s pushed after conceding their fourth goal, they managed to take 10 shots in the match and they became the first team to score on the American in the tournament.
At the 65th minute, Erick Soto found a ball bouncing into his path, and not wasting a second he blasted a volley shot from outside the penalty box and into the right of the net to make it 4-1. This ended the Yanks 245 minutes shutout streak in the process.
The Yanks looked to lock up group A and punch their ticket for the World Cup in Chile by defeating Honduras on Sunday at the same location.
Highlights provided by CONCACAF