Chicago Fire Academy goalkeeper Damian Las got the start in net on Thursday as the US Under-17 national team came back from a 2-0 halftime deficit to defeat their Canadian counterparts 3-2 in the opening match of the 2019 Concacaf Under-17 Championship in Bradenton, Florida.
Four nations will qualify from the tournament to the FIFA Under-17 World Cup to be played in Brazil later this year. The top three teams from the group will advance to the knockout stage Round of 16. The counterparts to the United States and Canada in Group H - Guatemala and Barbados - opened group play with a 1-1.
Canada got goals in quick succession from Montreal's Jérémie Omeonga Nkoy and a curler from Jacen Russell-Rowe midway through the first half to take a two-goal lead into the break.
But the USA stormed back in the second half, led by a goal from Sporting Kansas City's Gianluca Busio, who got the Americans on the board. Defender Axel Alejandre pounced on a rebound in the box to equalize 2-2 and NYCFC academy product Giovanni Reyna netted the winner on a free kick to complete the turnaround.
The USA and Canada are back in action in Group H on Saturday, May 4 against Barbados and Guatemala, respectively.
- CAN - 21' - Jérémie Omeonga Nkoy
- CAN - 22' - Jacen Russell-Rowe
- USA - 49' - Gianluca Busio
- USA - 63' - Axel Alejandre
- USA - 69' - Giovanni Reyna
USA: Damian Las (Chicago Fire) -- Joe Scally (NYCFC), Axel Alejandre, Kobe Hernandez-Foster (LA Galaxy), Adam Armour -- Daniel Leyva (Seattle Sounders), Giovanni Reyna, Bryang Kayo (D.C. United) -- Gianluca Busio (Sporting KC), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas), Griffin Yow (D.C. United)
- 64' Jack de Vries (Philadelphia Union) for Griffin Yow
- 73' Gilbert Fuentes (San Jose Earthquakes) for Giovanni Reyna
- 92' Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (Seattle Sounders) for Ricardo Pepi
CANADA: Marc Kouadio -- David Amla (Montreal Impact), Nathan Demian (Vancouver Whitecaps), Gianfranco Facchineri (Vancouver Whitecaps), Deylen Vellios (Vancouver Whitecaps) -- Jérémie Omeonga Nkoy (Montreal Impact), Julian Altobelli (Toronto FC), Damiano Pecile (Vancouver Whitecaps), Tomas Giraldo (Montreal Impact), Matt Catavolo (Montreal Impact) -- Jacen Russell-Rowe (Toronto FC)
- 27' Rohan Goulbourne (Toronto FC) for David Amla
- 65' Jamie Dunning for Julian Altobelli
- 71' Jayden Nelson (Toronto FC) for Jacen Russell-Rowe