Fast Track to the Championship
by Allen Caldwell
Entering into the final day of competition, the Americans find themselves in the home stretch of the tournament. The only roadblock that stands in the way of Team USA’s journey to the final match is a semifinal showdown against Ireland’s U16 National team. The match started with the U.S. pushing the pedal to the metal on offense. Similar to Ireland’s U18 team, the U16 squad defensive presence was strong causing a few Two on Ones on Team USA. However, as we have seen throughout this tournament, the U.S. passing wreaked havoc on the defense.
As the match continued on, Team USA’s relentlessness on offense produced tons of goal scoring opportunities. These opportunities came in the form of corner kicks, free kicks, and kick-ins that broke down the Irish defense. As a result, the Americans scored eight goals in the first half and five goals in the second half. With a 13-0 victory over the Ireland U16 team, the U.S. cleared its roadblock and find themselves in the Championship.
Earning a Spot in the Finals
by Zak Schmoll
The semifinal matchup between the French Selection team and Vaucresson was destined to be arguably the best game in the tournament. Besides being the two teams from the host country, when the two faced off in pool play, they ended up in a draw.
The game began rather slowly. Vaucresson dominated possession, but they were unable to actually put one across the line. At times, the passes were there but they could not finish them, and at other times they got off clean shots but the Selection team was able to counter their efforts. The teams went into halftime at a 0-0 draw.
The second half started out much like the first, but eventually Vaucresson was able to put across the goal on a defensive miscue. This Selection team attempted to clear the ball out of the box, but the ball dribbled over to the weak side of the goal where it was promptly deposited for the first and only goal of the contest as Vaucresson triumphed 1-0 to earn a spot in the finals.
The Best in the World
by Sifat Baig
This is the moment that we all have been waiting for; the US played their last game in Paris for the championship against the French club team Vaucresson. The game started off sloppy for the US with two early two on one violations. This caused Vaucresson to gain some momentum on defense and stop the US attack on several set plays. The aggressive offense of Team USA caused Vaucresson to make crucial mistakes on defense leading to their first goal. This was the break that team USA was looking for and it allowed them to go into the half leading by three goals.
The second half started off similarly to the first half, with strong defense by Vaucresson. The US sprinkled in two more goals before the end of regulation, winning the game 5-0. This was one of the toughest games for the Americans in the whole tournament due to the tough defense brought on by Vaucresson. Their defense was only second to the Americans, which did not allow any goals in the entire tournament. The United States under 18 national team is truly the best in the world.