With debate raging over the road ahead for American soccer in the week after the US men's national team's failure to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Tim Weah, Andrew Carleton and the US Under-17 squad put in a performance Monday that suggests the future isn't all that bleak.
Now, we know who they'll face in the U-17 World Cup Quarterfinals on Saturday: England. The latter's match against Japan on Tuesday came down to a dramatic penalty shoot-out that even saw England goalkeeper Curtis Anderson step to the spot, converting his own attempt. England came out victorious with a final score of 0-0 (5-3), sending them to face the US on Saturday at 10:30 am ET on FS2 and Telemundo.
Atlanta United's Carleton and Josh Sargent also scored for the US, who have won three of their four matches at the tournament and will face England or Japan in a quarterfinal on Saturday. Carleton's pass also set the move in motion that led to Weah's 19th-minute opener:
it was still 1-0 before the floodgates opened in the second half. First Weah hit a sensational effort from distance reminiscent of the screamers father George used to score in European football and with the Liberian national team:
Carleton added his goal in the 63rd minute, before Sargent also scored in the 74th and Weah completed his hat trick in the 77th
The victory is only the second in the history of the U-17 program in the World Cup knockout round phase. They previously defeated Mexico 3-2 in a 1999 quarterfinal in New Zealand in a game that included goals by DaMarcus Beasley and Kyle Beckerman
The Americans haven't been to the quarterfinals since the knockout phase expanded to 16 teams and the tournament field grew to 24 following the 2005 edition in Peru.
Here's the full lineup the US sent out in New Delhi on Monday: