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Haji Wright and the United States lose World Cup opener to Nigeria

For Haji Wright and the United States, it was a disappointing opening match to the U17 World Cup. The US wound up on the wrong side of a 2-0 final score, dropping their first contest to Nigeria, the reigning U17 world champions. The US squad also finished the match with just ten players, though the damage was done prior to the sending off.

Wright was the only New York Cosmos player involved, starting for the red, white, and blue, and leading the line. Defender Alexis Velela was also named to the matchday squad, but went unused on Saturday.

Wright failed to convert the best chance of the match just 13 minutes after kickoff, while the score was still level at 0-0. Christian Pusalic played a beautiful ball across the face of goal for the Cosmos' forward, who unfortunately sent the shot over the crossbar, and out for a goal kick.

The US managed to keep Nigeria off the scoreboard in the first half, but the defending champs scored twice in quick succession early in the second 45 minutes, while the Americans looked less dangerous after Wright was taken off at the 64 minute mark. Things got even worse for the US when Austin Trusty was sent off with just a handful of minutes remaining, which will cause him to miss the next match, against Croatia, on October 20. Trusty's absence, however, could open the door for Velela to get some minutes. We'll have to wait to see what US coach Richie Williams decides to do.