USMNT U-17’s down Guatemala to clinch FIFA World Cup berth
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USMNT U-17’s down Guatemala to clinch FIFA World Cup berth

The U.S. Under-17 men’s national team overcame a few scares in its quarterfinal showdown with Guatemala before eventually hanging on to clinch its fourth-consecutive FIFA U-17 World Cup berth in style.

Keyrol Figueroa continued his impressive tournament with two goals while Taha Habroune delivered the final blow in a 5-3 victory over hosts Guatemala on Tuesday night. Brian Romero and Aiden Harangi also delivered goals of their own as Gonzalo Segares’ squad remained perfect at the Concacaf U-17 Championship.

The USMNT U-17’s struck first as Charlotte FC’s Romero needed only seven minutes to break the deadlock. David Vazquez’s pressure on the Guatemala backline led to an error at the back before Vazquez’s cross to a wide open Romero was tapped home.

Figueroa continued his hot run in front of goal to double the Americans lead in the 28th minute. Vazquez’s cross into the box was gathered by Figueroa before the in-form forward drilled a low shot into the bottom corner for a 2-0 advantage.
Guatemala cut the deficit to 2-1 before halftime after Pedro Soma was called for a handball in the box allowing Olger Escobar the opportunity to score from the penalty spot.

The USMNT U-17’s kept their feet on the gas in the second half with Harangi scoring his first goal of the tournament in the 50th minute. Harangi’s long-range strike into the bottom-left corner extended the Americans lead to 3-1.

Not long after Gabino Vasquez made it 3-2, the USMNT U-17’s regained its two-goal lead with Figueroa netting his second goal of the match. His deflected shot landed in the top-right corner, propelling the Americans in front 4-2.

Guatemala continued to fight to keep its World Cup hopes alive, cutting the deficit to 4-3 following Carlos Aguilar’s headed finish in the 74th minute. However, Taha Habroune came off the bench to deliver the eighth and final goal of the match after a great set up from Paulo Rudisill.

Duran Ferree finished the match with two saves in goal as the USMNT U-17’s would hang on to set up a semifinal showdown with either Canada or Puerto Rico on Friday.

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