After cruising through their first two matches of the NTC Invitational, the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team faced their first bit of adversity during Sunday’s de-facto final against Japan. However, a comeback win saw them handle that adversity while claiming a trophy.
The U.S. toppled Japan, 2-1, in Sunday’s match to seal the championship of the NTC Invitational and a perfect three-game run through the tournament. Prior to the win over Japan, the U.S. knocked off Costa Rica, 2-0, and Panama, 4-0.
After conceding a ninth minute opener to Japan’s Ritsu Doan, the U.S., who was playing without playmaker Luca de la Torre due to obligations with Fulham, battled back into the game with a 20th minute equalizer from Sebastian Saucedo. Jeremy Ebobisse, who provided the assist on Saucedo’s finish, pushed his team into the lead in the 56th minute, and the U.S. would never look back.
Ebobisse, who plays for Duke, proved to be the U.S.’s best player throughout the NTC run, scoring three goals in as many games while adding a trio of assists. Saucedo also contributed two goals and an assist throughout his team’s run.
Following the tournament, the U.S. will reconvene at the end of July before taking on the New York Cosmos and Red Bulls II.