The Canadian U-17 national team fell 3-2 in a close battle against their U.S. counterparts in the opening match for both nations in Group H 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 other two Group H teams, Guatemala and Barbados, opened group play with a 1-1.
Canada got goals in quick succession from Montreal's Jérémie Omeonga Nkoy and a beautiful 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 rising star 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.
Canada nearly scored a late equalizer after striking the crossbar in stoppage time through Toronto FC forward Jayden Nelson.
Canada and the USA are back in action in Group H on Saturday, May 4 against Guatemala and Barbados, respectively.
- CAN - 21' - Jérémie Omeonga Nkoy
- CAN - 22' - Jacen Russell-Rowe
- USA - 49' - Gianluca Busio
- USA - 63' - Axel Alejandre
- USA - 69' - Giovani 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 FC), Gianfranco Facchineri (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Deylen Vellios (Vancouver Whitecaps FC) -- Jérémie Omeonga Nkoy (Montreal Impact), Julian Altobelli (Toronto FC), Damiano Pecile (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), 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