When U.S. players walked onto the field for their opener at the Under-17 World Cup against India in New Delhi, they were greeted by India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, dressed in white, in front of a crowd of 46,312.
“I think it was amazing. I know walking out of the tunnel I had a smile on my face,” U.S. defender Chris Durkin said after scoring the second goal in the Americans’ 3-0 victory Friday. “It presented a tough game for us, because I could tell the Indian players were obviously very confident “
Josh Sargent converted a penalty kick in the first half, and Chris Durkin and Andrew Carleton added goals in the second.
“We didn’t play great, to be fair. I think we can play much better,” U.S. coach John Hackworth said. “Our execution wasn’t good in the final third.”
Sargent, a forward from O’Fallon, Missouri, who signed with Germany’s Werder Bremen last month, was tripped in the penalty area and beat Dheeraj Moirangthem to the goalkeeper’s right with a penalty kick in the 30th minute.
Durkin, who debuted for D.C. United in the 2016 U.S. Open Cup, doubled the lead in the 51st with a left-footed volley from just past the penalty spot that deflected in off a defender after India failed to clear Blaine Ferri’s corner kick.
Carleton, who made his Major League Soccer debut for Atlanta United in May, rounded Moirangthem to score on a counter in the 84th after an Indian shot hit the crossbar and George Acosta collected the ball and made a through pass.
“It was a little bit frustrating. I felt like I almost had a couple earlier in the game.” Carleton said. “I feel like we were persistent, like we fought through it.”
The U.S. outshot India 19-8 and leads Group D on goal difference over Ghana, which opened with a 1-0 win over Colombia. The Americans play Ghana on Monday in New Delhi and Colombia on Thursday at Navi Mumbai.
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