USA won their first match of these U-17 world finals in Nigeria, downing debutants Malawi 1-0 in their second Group D encounter in Kano. Playing an organised game against the inexperienced Africans, Wilmer Cabrera's man had Alex Shinsky's odd second-half strike to thank for the three-point haul.
The Americans dominated the first half, but couldn't quite find the finishing spark they needed to open the scoring. At the other end, however, their offside trap was working to perfection, with the Malawians being caught ahead of the play no less than eleven times in the opening period.
The US had an early chance to score, after only four minutes, but Nick Palodichuk's header from a corner flew right at goalkeeper Cuthbert Seengwa. The Africans, for their part, had a pair of chances in the first 45 minutes that could have led to goals. After 16 minutes, Mike Kaziputa slammed a powerful shot only for the ball to fly into the side netting. Then, four minutes before the break, Kaziputa was again up in the attack, laying on the ball to Maxwell Mwanyongo who had his try from close-range well saved by the USA keeper.
USA put themselves firmly in control at the start of the second half, gaining control of the ball and pushing forward. Just seconds in, Shinsky went on a meandering run and wriggled his way into the penalty area. The effort came to nothing, but in the 54th minute Shinsky was at it again. This time his weak effort somehow eluded Seengwa, the ball going through his legs and nuzzling in the back of the net.
The Malawians never recovered from the goal and fell to their second straight defeat at their first U-17 finals. The Americans, riding high after their first win, will take on UAE in their final game on 1 November while the Africans close out their group campaign against Spain.