United midfielder Chris Durkin and the U-17 U.S. Men's National Team finish group play at the FIFA U-17 World Cup on Thursday, taking on Colombia in Navi Mumbai at 10:30 a.m. ET. The match will be a showdown between Group A’s top two teams.
The U.S. sit alone atop the group with two wins and control their own fate after defeating host country India in their opening match and edging out Ghana on Monday. The Stars and Stripes have been dominant defensively through two matches, limiting opponents to just four shots on target, and are the only team in the tournament to not allow a goal thus far.
Durkin, United’s eighth-ever Homegrown Player, has played all 180 minutes for the U.S., scoring a goal off a corner and earning Man of the Match honors versus India. The Glen Allen, Va., native was also instrumental in the buildup play that resulted in the game-winning goal by substitute Ayo Akinola on Monday, forcing a Ghana turnover short of midfield and threading a pass to Christopher Goslin, who registered the primary assist.
Durkin and the U.S.’s next opponent are 1-1 in group play, most recently topping India 2-1. The Colombians received two second-half goals from Juan Penaloza in the win, and will need to steal points Thursday to secure their second-place standing in the table.
John Hackworth's U.S. squad have jumped out to an ideal start, something they lacked in their 2015 tournament in Chile, where they failed to advance past the group stage after going 0-2-1. Led by an exuberant and highly-talented group of players including Durkin, Josh Sargent, and others, the U.S. seem primed to advance to the round of 16 and potentially beyond.