Tournament veterans USA got their 14th FIFA U-17 World Cup campaign off to a strong start, seeing off potentially their toughest group challengers Czech Republic, with a 3-0 victory at Estadio Torreon. The Americans took an advantage almost immediately through Alejandro Guido, while Esteban Rodriguez and Alfred Koroma each found the back of the net in the second half.
The Americans came out of the gate assuming control, giving the Czechs little opportunity to settle into the match. Within five minutes Guido took advantage of an error from Patrik Svoboda, hammering home a powerful shot to give the US an early lead. Czech Republic began searching for an equaliser with defender Michael Lueftner the first to try his luck from a header.
As the first half wore on, the Czechs had a quick series of chances created by Svoboda, who worked his way into the United States’ penalty area to slot a pass to Luca Julis. The forward’s attempt, however, was parried away with difficulty by US goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh. Not willing to lose their lead after an onslaught of Czech attempts, Kellyn Acosta responded with a wayward shot of his own at the other end.
Unable to find another breakthrough before the interval, the United States again came out at the restart content to boss the match. Pelosi fired a powerful shot from outside the area that flew just over the bar within four minutes of the second half's start. The Americans then added a cushion to their lead as Paul Arriola passed to Rodriguez, who made no mistake.
Still looking for a goal of their own, the Czechs started to increase their offensive efforts only to be met by a stubborn US rearguard. Travnik notably hit a long-range shot in the 79th minute, but it was the Americans who finished their last-chance as substitute Koroma scored with a low-drive that went under goalkeeper Lukas Zima.
USA, who are now level on points with New Zealand, will meet Uzbekistan in their second group match in Monterrey on Wednesday 22 June. Czech Republic, on the other hand, perhaps have an even more difficult challenge ahead as they are scheduled to face the high-flying Kiwis.