The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team simply didn’t show up to the first match of World Cup qualifying, but Tab Ramos’ side certainly stepped up in a big way on Tuesday with their World Cup hopes on the line.
After conceding an early goal, the U.S. rattled off four unanswered finishes of their own to cruise past Haiti, 4-1, in the second match of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship group stage. The win gives the U.S. a favorable path to the final as a win over St. Kitts & Nevis on Friday would all but certainly send the U.S. through thanks to goal differential.
The match started poorly for the U.S. U-20s, who saw themselves down a goal early thanks to some inexcusable defending. A seemingly harmless cross worked its way through the U.S. backline in the 16th minute, giving Kenley Dede a free chance to send Haiti into an early lead.
From that point, the U.S. picked up the slack a little bit before eventually breaking through in the 29th minute. Following a foul on Jonathan Lewis inside the Haiti box, Brooks Lennon stepped up to bury the penalty kick.
In the second half, though, the floodgates finally opened. Just a few minutes into the second 45, Luca de la Torre pushed the U.S. into the lead, pouncing on a loose ball in the box following a save by Haiti goalkeeper
Just one minute later, the U.S. provided the best attacking sequence of the game, as Lewis, Ebobisse and Lennon combined on a goal from the Real Salt Lake loanee. Lennon completed has hat-trick just a few minutes later, firing home a rebound to push the scoreline to 4-1 in favor of the U.S.
The second half barrage came after a relatively quiet first half, aside from Lennon’s penalty kick goal. Ebobisse created the team’s best look late in the half only to see a shot trickle just wide of the far post.
The U.S. returns to action on Friday against St. Kitts & Nevis for the third and final game of the group stage.