Classy USA ease past China to reach semi-final

December 7, 2017


The USA eased into the semi-finals with a comfortable win over a China side who battled but are now on the brink of elimination.

Captain Angel Iniquez led by example with a hat-trick and provided more than one assist in the game which also seen goalkeeper Mateo Pena-Sanchez score from long range right on the first half hooter. Other goals came from Kevin Estrada (2), Devin Brown (2), Ronaldo Michel (2), Kamaran Mojabi (2), Daniel Tremillo Cazares, Max Martinez-Mendoza and an own goal.


The USA started and settled quickly into the game with a neat close-range drive from the captain Angel Iniquez inside the first 90 seconds but was saved by China goal keeper Xingsen Zhang.  Minutes later he made two or three close range saves in succession from Iniquez, Devin Brown and Kevin Estrada. 


Four minutes in though the first goal came for the USA. Brown's lovely ball from the right was pinged across for Estrada to bury into the back of the net.  Less than a minute later he scored a sensational, acrobatic overhead kick after a one-two with Devin Brown, who lobbed the return for the US captain's amazing effort.

Iniquez got his second and the third for the USA after around seven minutes when Estrada flicked through a net ball and while a tight angle the space was there for the finish.   


One or two further efforts peppered the goal including from Daniel Tremillo Cazares - his effort from close range was saved but from the resulting corner the ball arrived in the centre of the area for him to slot home. 4-0 to the USA. 

Quick fire goals followed soon after when Tremillo Cazares provided this time for Ronaldo Michel to pile drive from just inside the China half into the top corner. Seconds after kick off Michel and Uillian Garduno exchanged passes which lead to Garduno's ball flicking off defender Zihao Wu for an own goal.  10 minutes it was 6-0.

There was a bit of a rest from the goals, thankfully for China, however Robert Michel-Reyes did have a couple of good efforts that did lead to a couple of saves from Zhang in goal.

More goals would come though. Next a second for Kevin Estrada when a quick kick-in on the left, lead to him motor down the centre with a one-two with Tremillo Cazares on the right and finished low into the net.

Two goals in the final 90 seconds added extra first half gloss to the scoreboard with a great passing move, which Estrada was pulling the strings then triggered the pass for Max Martinez-Mendoza. Then incredibly in the final split second the goalkeeper Mateo Pena-Sanchez scored!  His long ball out was milliseconds before the half time klaxon, it went over the heads of everyone, without a touch from friend or foe and went in. After a quick consultation the officials gave the goal.  The USA number 1 getting an ovation walking off at the break.


Half Time: USA 9-0 China


Goals continued at a fast pace right from the off. In fact, 20 seconds into the half it was 10-0. Captain Iniquez completed his hat-trick when he recieved the ball, danced for space and when his intial shot was saved he won the ball back and with the help of a short pass from Estrada, tapped in.   Devin Brown, who has been in the goals already in this competition, then rattled the woodwork before seconds later after a few passes he was in the centre for Iniquez to deliver the ball and put by the China keeper.


Xingsen Zhang would stop further goals for a while with various saves from efforts from goal from Iniquez, Estrada and Tremillo Cazares.  However two further quick-fire goals would follow...

Devin Brown had the hunger after his first goal when he would jaunt his way from half way into a position where he cheekily tapped in on the line after his pass to Max Martinez-Mendoza seen the number four strike towards goal by the keeper and Brown snuck in at the back to post to make sure! 

13-0 soon followed when Tremillo Cazares on half way picked out a low driven pass which cut open the defence for Ronaldo Michel to get his second.


China carried on to brave out the constant attacks, unfortunately they couldn't conjure up much attacking threat. The side looked tired after their earlier game in the morning v Australia. However the USA didn't take the foot off the gas despite the half time score, so credit to China for working hard in the second half.


With six minutes to go, number 14 went in. Robert Michel and Kevin Estrada combined well and Estrada on the right delivered and it was Kamaran Mojabi from inches out to finish, adding his name to the lengthening list of scorers.  In fact he'd get his second, three minutes later. Ronaldo Michel-Reyes on the left played a beautiful lobbed cross ball to Uillian Garduno who had time to pick out Mojabi waiting to get another tap in. 

There was still a real impatience from the players and USA supporters as they wanted to keep adding to their tally. semi-finals were secured but the placings order is important and goal difference could be crucial.

In the end China held out and tried to break forward late with Jiawei Liu but US keeper Mateo Pena-Sanchez rushed out and the threat of a consolation fizzled out. The full time hooter went. Comprehensive for the USA.


Full Time: USA 15-0 China


USA Man of the Match: Angel Iniquez - A top captain performance. A hat-trick, assists equaling a terrific performance overall for him and his side.


China Man of the Match: Xingsen Zhang - Despite the goals conceded it could have been many more. A few fantastic saves at full stretch or sliding along the floor!


USA Magic Moment: The goalkeeper scoring is something but Captain Iniquez scoring an overhead beauty has to be the highlight!


China Magic Moment: Out of all the saves Xingsen Zhang did make one sliding one which felt like metres (it wasn't really!) to stretch and keep the ball from crossing the line early in the second half was one that stayed in the memory banks! 

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