US U-17s show defensive frailties in 4-3 loss to Portugal
It was a similar story for the US Under-17 national team on Sunday as they closed out their annual year-end "Nike Internaitonal Friendlies" tournament with a 4-3 loss to Portugal at Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
The U-17s put together another impressive attacking performance against the Portuguese, but some leaky team defense proved costly for the second straight match.
WATCH: US U-17 postgame reaction
Portugal took a 3-1 lead into halftime but goals by defender Peter Schropp and forward Alan Winn inside the first 20 minutes of the second half equalized the match at 3-3. Portugal claimed the game-winner six minutes from time to emerge as the top team in the competition.
"We weren't solid enough in the defensive end to win the game," US manager Richie Williams said.
The US closed out the three-match tournament with the third-best record at 1-1-1. Prior to the loss to Portugal, the US U-17s beat Turkey 4-1 and then tied with Brazil in a 4-4 shootout.
"What we get out of the tournament is that we realize we have to defend better," Williams continued. "We have to be better on the defensive side of the ball as a team. If we do that better, we have the ability to be a great team."