FFAS > News > OFC U-17 Championship Preliminary > American Samoa in U-17 upset

American Samoa in U-17 upset

The territory’s U-17 squad is in control of their own destiny and need to win against Tonga during their last match of the tournament scheduled for Saturday, January 26, local time.
They are tied with Samoa with four points each in the competition as the latter won against Tonga 3-2.
American Samoa and Samoa drew 2-2 when they met on the first day of the tournament.
However, American Samoa is in pole position by a differential in goals (2-1) and would need to maintain that lead even should Samoa win in their last match against Cook Islands.
Led by team captain Rueben Luvu Jr., field general Kaleopa “Kap” Siligi and a Tongan version of Chariots of Fire in Sinisa Tua, the team dominated all aspects of the Cook Islands match.
Ball possession, shots on goal and set plays, American Samoa led the way in these areas.
They also brought a physicality to the soccer field that Samoans are well known for in the rugby world and have been dubbed by many as the more physical of all four teams competing in the tournament.
Leading by example has been the back four of Ne’emia Kaleopa, Johnny Sione, Luvu Jr. and Paul Collins, being the last line of defence and dominating any and all forwards hoping to score.
“We made a few changes in our lineup for this game in preparation for the speed that we saw Cook Islands have when they beat Tonga 7-1 during their first game,” explained the territory’s U-17 head coach, Junior Mikaele.
“And the coaching staff and I are very glad to say that it worked out.”
One of those changes was moving Luvu Jr. back to his regular position after playing as a midfielder against Samoa and he negated the Cook Islands speed up front with an even faster pace of his own.
Field general “Kap” Siligi had defenders dancing to a tune of his own making with smooth and very deceiving dribbling skills that eventually led to the opponents tripping him inside the box for a penalty kick.
Siligi converted the penalty himself to give American Samoa a 2-0 advantage in the first half.
But it has been Tua stealing the show by continuously telling the coaches and his teammates to “fire up the engine” and living up to those promises.
He scored two goals for American Samoa and with the team firing up the engine by sending long balls down field he created havoc against the Cook Islands defenders.
Tua headed in a Siligi corner in the 19th for the first goal before Siligi’s PK before the break gave American Samoa a 2-0 edge.
Tua then slammed in a rolling cross from Henry “Iotamo” Lameta in injury time to complete the game’s final tally of 3-0.
FFAS president Iuli Alex Godinet arrived in Samoa two hours ahead of kick-off and was able to watch the young side in action.
“I want you to know that you’ve just made us very proud with what you have achieved today,” Godinet said.
“You’ve also made your parents proud and American Samoa as well.”

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