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Under-20 World Cup

Barrage of second half goals lead U.S. U-20s past New Zealand, into quarterfinals

Despite the absence of three starters, the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team didn’t miss a beat on Thursday morning en route to a knockout round win.

Following a first half goal credited to Josh Sargent, the U.S. blitzed New Zealand for two rapid-fire second half finishes in an eventual 6-0 win. The victory books a quarterfinal berth against Venezuela, marking the second straight World Cup the Americans have reached the final eight.

The U.S. broke through in the 32nd minute, scoring off a set piece to snag the lead. On a ball in, Justen Glad took a touch up to himself before volleying a shot on goal. The effort appeared to deflect off Sargent on its way in, giving the young forward his fourth goal of the tournament, tying Taylor Twellman, Eddie Johnson and Jozy Altidore for most goals scored by an American at a U-20 World Cup.

After a sustained bit of pressure from New Zealand to start the second half, Jeremy Ebobisse fired the U.S. to a two-goal lead with a magnificent finish. The Portland Timbers rookie took a perfect first touch down of a lofted ball, giving himself the chance to drive onto his left foot. Ebobisse unleashed a rocket of a shot into the back of the net to provide a little breathing room.

If Ebobisse’s finish provided that breathing room, Brooks Lennon allowed the U.S. to completely exhale just seconds later. Less than a minute after Ebobisse’s finish, Lennon got on the end of a through ball from Eryk Williamson before firing to the far post, making it 3-0.

Glad eventually did get his goal, though, but it certainly wasn’t as pretty as his earlier effort. On another corner kick, the Real Salt Lake defender headed a shot straight at New Zealand goalkeeper Michael Woud. The shot bounced off Woud’s hands and in, giving the U.S. a fourth and Glad a much-deserved goal.

Substitute Auston Trusty fired the Americans’ fifth, and it came just seconds after he was denied an earlier chance. On yet another corner kick, Trusty unleashed a left-footed finish.

The sixth and final tally came late in the second half from substitute Lagos Kunga, who easily fired past Woud to seal a dominant victory by Tab Ramos’ side.

Largely dominant in the first half, the U.S. was rarely challenged with Jonathan Klinsmann called in to make just one real save. On the other end, the U.S. was fairly active with Sargent leading the charge with several shots. In total, the U.S. maintained over 60 percent of the possession in the first half as they continued to harass the New Zealand backline throughout.

The second half saw New Zealand up the pressure, with one shot going just wide of Klinsmann’s far post. However, the eventual U.S. blitz sucked the life out of New Zealand as they exited in the Round of 16.

With the win, the U.S. now faces a much tougher challenge on very short rest. With two additional days off, Venezuela looms as the two sides collide on Sunday morning at 2 a.m. ET.

22 comments
  • dave

    Modest opposition, but impressive, solid performance. Now for a tougher game, but one we enter with a lot of confidence. Well done Boys!

    Like

  • BW in KC

    6 goals by 6 players. Nice. Venezuela has two more days rest so we’ll have to fight for this one.

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    • MidWest Ref

      I am not sure how FIFA scheduling works that the US – as a group winner – only has 2 days rest to face another group winner – Venezuela – who gets 4 days.

      On paper, it looks like Venezuela is the class of the tournament so far. Undefeated in a good group with Mexico (who also advanced) and Germany (scoring 3 in a losing effort), while the US group doesn’t look so good now – Senegal (beaten by Mex) and Saudi Arabia going out. The New Zealand group – Group E – doesn’t look to tough in retrospect with France being the only group leader to be beaten in the Round of 16.

      Hopefully the US boys have something left in the tank.

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      • Dennis

        The schedule was setup to favor home team South Korea who would have had the same rest advantage if they had won their round-of-16 game.

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  • KC

    Impressed with our confidence on the ball and work in the final third.
    Have to take into account that our boys played against white cones but still.

    Thank goodness CCV will be back. Certainly will need better marking.
    There were a few lapses that we got lucky on.

    Like

  • Brian

    Can someone post how they were lined up to start the match? Wasn’t able to watch the game.

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    • Benjamin C.

      A 4-4-2 with Adams and Williamson centrally in midfield, De La Torre left wing, Lennon right wing, Sargent and Ebo up top, Redding and EPB central defenders, Glad and Acosta fullbacks, Klinsy in goal.

      Like

  • Benjamin C.

    If you’re Tab, do you give any thought to keeping Glad in at right back against Venezuela? He is certainly more sound defensively, and gives another aerial threat on set pieces in the box.

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    • don Lamb

      If he’s healthy enough to play back to back 90s with a relatively quick turnaround, it’s not even a question in my mind.

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    • wychijeff

      I was thinking the same thing. Only downside, Glad was pretty terrible when he went forward and tried to put in crosses but I felt more confident with him in there on defense. Although, it was tough to really judge how he did defensively in that position because NZ barely had the ball in our half.

      Like

  • I scored three goals in one game

    Adams had a great game and that’s where he should have been played from the beginning, in his role that he plays at club level. Also leave Glad at RB

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  • jay

    Having three more rested players is great and Ebobisse played pretty well. His goal was excellent and we’ll need him to play as Sargent is eventually going to be exhausted.

    Speaking of, Sargent – 17 years old – is currently the top scorer and has a decent shot at the Golden Ball if the US event gets to the Semi’s. That’s amazing! I wonder if he’ll go to the u-17 World Cup in the Fall.

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    • Benjamin C.

      Ebobisse’s goal, hold up play, and touch has to give Tab confidence to at least use him as a sub going forward if, like you said, Sargent tires out against Venezuela, or even to switch into a 4-4-2 again if the 4-3-3 isn’t working. This is a very versatile squad that can play a number of different ways with different player combinations. I’ve been critical of him before, but Tab has done a good job this cycle.

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      • don Lamb

        Pleasantly surprised with Ebobisse’s play. He had a bit more space playing with two up top than he might playing 3 up top, and maybe that made the difference for him. Agree that is adds another dimension to this team.

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    • Johnnyrazor

      I had a similar thought, but with being unable to join any club in Europe until February, I imagine he probably still will play with the U17s.

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      • I scored three goals in one game

        I don’t know the rules for USL but could Sargent sign and atleast play some professional soccer until next spring early summer then make a move over seas. Without having played any professional socer I would think it would be advantageous to get some pro experience. Is it possible to sign a six month or year deal to non MLS league then make his move.

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      • don Lamb

        Not completely necessary for him to get minutes in USL before heading overseas. He’s going to be going into a U19 team, not a first team. If he were staying stateside, USL would be a good spot for him to get some games, but he’ll have a good path and be right on time in terms of development when he does go.

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    • Benjamin C.

      Three goals, I’m not sure what the details were, but both Haji (Cosmos) and Taitague (Richmond) played lower level soccer before heading over to Germany. Whoever Sargent signs with might want him to train/play with a team like that here in the U.S., but I don’t know what the rules are concerning those types of agreements.

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  • Benjamin C.

    I really like the energy of this squad. They seem to play hard for each other and enjoy being out there. Lennon and Adams literally never stop running, EPB has been a rock for this defense after a shaky Ecuador match, and Sargent has been relentless up top. Lots of other great performances as well individually that have coalesced into a solid group effort. Whatever happens going forward, I’ve really enjoyed watching the team in this tourney.

    Like

  • Aaron

    I can’t decide whether to keep ebobisse up top as a second forward, or insert Derrick Jones back in as a holding midfielder, and let Sargent run solo up top.

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    • Benjamin C.

      I would probably go with the second option and go back to the 4-3-3, and have Ebobisse available if you want to tactically switch to a 4-4-2.

      Like

  • Scott e Dio93

    Bravo che (Tabare)!

    Good to see individuals talent being develop and less of collective. It was tough for Tabare so many players in Europe and South America not being let go by their clubs, but manage to pull this off.

    Like

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