The US Under-17 national team lost their group stage finale at the FIFA U-17 World Cup 3-1 to Colombia on Wednesday, giving up two second half goals to move to 2-1-0 in Group A.
Unlike their senior national team counterparts, however, the Baby Nats didn’t have their World Cup derailed by the defeat.
The US finished third in Group A with the loss, but still secured a spot in the Round of 16 by clinching one of the top-four third-place finishes in the tournament. Group A winners Ghana and runners-up Colombia also finished the group stage with 2-1-0 records, but finished ahead of the US on tiebreakers.
Colombia raced out to an early lead in the third minute, when the US failed to deal with a long throw into the box and allowed Juan Vidal to sneak onto the ball and tap home from close range.
George Acosta brought the US level in the 24th. Atlanta United winger Andrew Carleton set up the goal, driving past several Colombian defenders to get to the end line before cutting back a cross to a wide-open Acosta who finished with his first touch from the left side of the box.
Colombia scored twice in the second half to earn all three points, getting a free kick goal from Juan Penaloza in the 67th before Deiber Caicedo finished the US off with a goal following a sloppy turnover in the 87th.
The US now must wait to learn their Round of 16 opponent. They’ll play their Knockout Round match on Oct. 16 or Oct. 17.