Impressive start for U.S. at U-17 World Cup 

June, 21, 2011

TORREON, Mexico -- Coming into the FIFA under-17 World Cup, it was tough to know what to expect of Wilmer Cabrera's American team. So it was a bit of a surprise that the U.S. began with such a convincing victory over a respected European side on Sunday, dismantling the Czech Republic to the tune of 3-0.

But then again, quick starts seem to be the norm for Cabrera's team. Two years ago, they took only two minutes to grab the lead in their opening World Cup match. This time, the U.S. was on the scoreboard within five minutes of the opening whistle against the Czech Republic. The senior team might want to take notes.

The U.S. wasn't entirely dominant on a sun-baked afternoon, but the team came together about as well as could have been hoped in cruising to victory. On the strength of an early goal from midfield creator Alejandro Guido -- a laser from just outside the penalty area -- and two second half strikes, the Americans held off the heat and the Czechs, on paper their stiffest competition for the top spot in Group D.

"It's a very important result for us," said Cabrera. "It's our first game, in a World Cup competition, against a great European team. To play well is going to give us confidence. We take all the teams we're going to play seriously, but the Czech Republic is a great team, that's why the whole game we had to be calm and organized, and we never changed our script."

Brent Latham is a soccer commentator who covers the youth national teams for Based in Guatemala, he has attended youth World Cups from Peru to Egypt, and places in between.