USA's Ashley Sanchez (white jersey) and Sakura Nojima of Japan battle for possession during their FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup match at Amman International Stadium on October 8, 2016, in Amman, Jordan. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
AMMAN, Jordan (Oct. 8, 2016) - The United States (1W-0D-2L, 3 points) was eliminated from the 2016 FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup after a 3-2 loss to Japan (3-0-0, 9) on Saturday at Amman International Stadium saw it finish third in Group D.
Only the top two teams in each of the four groups advanced to the quarterfinals, leaving the Americans out of the final eight for the fourth straight edition of the competition. They didn’t qualify in 2010 and 2014, and completed 2012 group play in third place.
The U.S. took a 1-0 lead in the 33rd minute, when a goal kick by goalkeeper Laurel Ivory glanced off a Japanese defender's head and skipped behind the back line. Ashley Sanchez squeezed through two defenders to race towards goal and slotted the ball just inside the left post from 17-yards out. It was the first goal conceded in the tournament by the Asian runner-up.
Japan leveled eight minutes into the second half, reacting quickly off its own corner kick. After U.S. defender Jordan Canniff headed an initial attempt off the line, Riko Ueki was there to head home from the edge of the six-yard box.
A neat interchange at the top of the U.S. box gave put Japan ahead 2-1 in the 75th minute. Hinata Miyazawa one-touched a pass into the penalty area for Oto Kanno, who – despite the presence of four defenders – had the time to pick her spot from 10-yards out.
Miyazawa netted an insurance goal in the 77th minute by brilliantly drilling a 20-yard shot with her right foot into the left side of the net off Ivory’s outstretched hands.
Ivory kept the Americans in the game with a trio of outstanding saves in the 79th, 88th and 89th minutes as Japan maintained an offensive onslaught that ultimately yielded 22 total shots.
In the first minute of stoppage time, Sanchez converted from the penalty spot after she was tripped by Nana Ono, but the CONCACAF champion needed two more goals in order to prevent Ghana (2-0-1, 6) from capturing second place.
2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup
October 8, 2016: Amman International Stadium -- Amman, Jordan (Att: 2,580)
Japan-USA 3-2 (1-0)
Riko Ueki 53’; Oto Kanno 75’; Hinata Miyazawa 77’ / Ashley Sanchez 33’, 90’+1 pen
Japan: Momoko Tanaka; Nana Ono, Reina Wakisaka (Seira Kojima 62’), Hana Takahashi, Nanami Kitamura, Saori Takarada (Remina Chiba 87’), Hinata Miyazawa, Fuka Nagano, Oto Kanno, Sakura Nojima (Mayu Karahashi 82’), Riko Ueki. Head Coach: Naoki Kusunose
USA: Laurel Ivory; Kiara Pickett, Karina Rodriguez, Naomi Girma, Isabel Rodriguez (Adrienne Richardson 79’), Jordan Canniff (Frankie Tagliaferri 63’), Jaelin Howell (Sophia Smith 70’), Brianna Pinto, Alex Spaanstra, Ashley Sanchez, Civana Kuhlmann. Head Coach: B.J. Snow
R: Yeimy Martinez (Colombia); AR1: Luzmila Gonzalez (Colombia); AR2: Liliana Bejarano (Bolivia); 4th: Sandra Braz (Portugal