FIFA U17 World Cup: USA lost the game in quick transition play, reflects manager John Hackworth
Two second-half goals from Colombia derailed USA's perfect start in the FIFA U-17 World Cup to hand the Americans their first loss of the tournament. Coming on the back of two solid performances, the USA fell short against a spirited Colombian side which was fighting to qualify for the knockout stages. The USA lost the game 1-3 which meant that the American manager, John Hackworth had a lot to answer in his post-match press conference.
The USA were guilty of throwing away possession by incessantly playing out from the back even in avoidable circumstances. But Hackworth was defiant in his reply as he believed that it was the way they have played until now. He said, "It is our style to start our attacks from the back and I don't think the boys were at fault for sticking to the strategy. Our defenders are good with the ball at their feet and I have always encouraged them to take risks."
Colombia displayed two different sides to their game in two different halves of the game. The first half saw a Colombian side making too many mistakes and not playing to their strengths. But the second half was an altogether different story as the boys from South America came all guns blazing to blow away the Americans with a sensational second-half performance.
Praising his opponents, Hackworth reflected, "They (Colombia) pressed really well in the second half. At times, we couldn't cope up with the press which caused a lot of errors from our side. They were extra aggressive in the second half and sadly we couldn't match their intensity in the final 45 minutes."
Hackworth was also critical of his side's timid display in the second half and explained that there are a lot of areas to ponder upon before his side plays in the knockout stages. "Quick transitions in play was the area where this game was won and lost. We are usually good in transitions but were not upto the mark today", he added.
Hackworth continued, "I am surprised as to why we were so passive in the first 10 minutes of the second half. This was exactly the opposite of what was decided in the locker room. We need to discuss what happened at the start of the second interval. And frankly, we do not have many positives to take from this game."
There is a lot of time before the USA next take the field in their round of 16 game and similarly, there are a lot of issues to reflect upon for this young group of boys from the United States of America.