Home > Uncategorized > USA U-17 vs. Malawi: recap and player ratings.

USA U-17 vs. Malawi: recap and player ratings.

In a generally soporific display, the US U-17 men’s team blundered into a 1-0 win over Malawi Thursday.

The US dominated possession against a poor Malawi team that barely had a sniff at goal all game (and that was called offside 18 (!) times). Yet despite their clear technical and physical superiority, the Americans managed to create only a few dangerous scoring chances. The lone US goal came off a fluke mistake by the Malawi goalkeeper.

Striker Jack McInerny, who decimated CONCACAF competition earlier this year, had a sluggish performance, managing only one real effort on goal. His strike partner, Victor Chavez, was active up top but always seemed a step behind his teammates, often making poor decisions that killed the US attack.

Luis Gil, Marlon Duran, and Nick Palodichuk did well to control the middle of the pitch, but will need to attack the goal with more urgency against the UAE. It’s great to see a US team adept at the passing game, but all the possession means nothing if they can’t kill off the opposition.

The win was clearly not convincing. The US has the talent to progress in the tournament, but needs to start showing the kind of grit and determination that the senior team has been showing lately. The UAE is nothing to sneeze at and should prove a more dangerous foe than Malawi. Let’s hope the kids really come to play on Sunday.

Player Ratings:

Earl Edwards (GK) 5. Not really tested by a Malawi team that seemed to have lost its depth perception before the game.

Jared Watts 4. Watts and his partner Zavaleta were mostly solid in the back, but on the few occasions Malawi managed to get forward they looked a little shaky.

Eriq Zavaleta 4. Like Watts, not really tested, but shaky at times. The pair needs to communicate better especially on fast breaks. On more than one occasion Malawi players were ready to sneak past the back line, only to be a foot or so offside.

Zachary Herold 5. The tall right back was solid throughout and strong going forward. His crosses leave a little to be desired.

Tyler Polak 5. Was dangerous on the attack, and his whipping, left-footed crosses should have been pounced on more hungrily by the attackers.

Luis Gil 6. Gil impressed with his second solid game of the tournament. His cheeky backheel flick  created the US goal. Unfortunately, his searching through balls never seemed to cut deep enough through the Malawi defense—although this was as much the fault of McInerney’s sluggish movement and Chavez’s failure to read the pass. Tends to pass back too much, and needs to press forward with more urgency.

Marlon Duran 5. A quiet but strong performance. Provided some excellent balls lofted behind the defense.

Nick Palodichuk 5. Much like Duran, did well to direct the ball through the midfield, but never looked threatening going forward.

Alex Shinsky 4. Did well to get off the shot that lead tot he goal, but the goal was still a fluke. Committed too many turnovers in the final third. Considering his poor showing against Spain, I’d like to see Martinez get the start against the UAE.

Victor Chavez 2. Not sure why Chavez got the start after his fairly poor performance against Spain. His quality seems to deteriorate the closer he gets to goal, and his turnovers in the first half almost single-handedly killed the US attack. Stefan Jerome should get another chance against UAE.

Jack McInerny 3. A disappointing game for the talented youngster.  Looked sluggish and tired, especially in the final third. The player who lit up the CONCACAF tournament earlier this year seemed to be missing entirely. Let’s hope it’s just jet lag.


Carlos Martinez (66′ for Shinsky): 5. Held the ball well. Did not commit as many turnovers as Shinsky, but also did not look as dangerous going forward.

Andrew Craven (54′ for Chavez): 3. Not much of an improvement over Chavez. Where was Jerome?

Boyd Okuono (87′ for Watts): N/A. Didn’t play enough. May find himself starting against UAE if Watts’ injury is serious.

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