India face the USA test on Friday in their opening Group A game of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi.
USA coach John Hackworth in an exclusive interview to Goal has claimed that his side go into the game as favourites and are expected to progress into the knockout rounds of the competition.
India coach Luis Norton de Matos would hope that his boys take his lessons in organization to heart and do not get jittery when they take the field for the very first time in a packed stadium.
There will at least be one chance coming towards India’s way or there is a possibility of someone committing a horrible error which India needs to capitalize upon. Can India make the most of the half chances?
Every team in the world has certain areas which can be targeted upon. This USMNT Under-17 team is no different.
Goal USA’s chief correspondent Ives Gallarcep pointed that USMNT U-17’s Achilles heel could be the central defence. The reason being that both James Sands and Chris Durkin are not centre-backs by trade.
Sands is New York City FC’s first homegrown player and is a highly regarded prospect by coach Patrick Vieira. However, he is more of a right-back and defensive midfielder at the club level as opposed to being a central defender. Another point to note is that although he is very technical, he isn’t a big defender.
Chris Durkin is among the taller players in the USMNT U-17 squad. He is a defensive midfielder but has been asked to operate as a central defender due to injuries. The 16-year-old is already part of D.C.United’s squad in the Major League Soccer (MLS). Although a highly regarded prospect and being scouted by several clubs in Europe, he isn’t a natural central defender.
Having two players who aren’t central defenders fill in the crucial role could prove to be an area of concern for coach John Hackworth. USMNT U-17 could face problems if they come up against big strikers, something which Matos would take note of.