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U.S. U-20s ride pair of Gall PKs to shutout win over Jamaica

Ben Spencer U-20 USMNT Jamaica


Romain Gall stayed hot, the defense stayed compact, and the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team stayed in the picture to qualify for this summer’s World Cup.

The U.S. continued to climb up the standings in Group A of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship on Sunday night, riding a pair of Gall penalty kicks on each side of halftime to post a 2-0 victory over hosts Jamaica.

The victory at Montego Bay Sports Complex leaves the Americans in third place and with their fate in their hands going into the group-stage finale vs. Trinidad and Tobago. It also eliminated Jamaica from the tournament.

Gall scored in the 34th and 69th minutes, giving the Columbus Crew youngster five goals in the last two games. Tommy Thompson drew the first spot kick after being clipped in the penalty area while on a breakaway, and Bradford Jamieson earned the second on a similar play.

Both fouls could’ve seen Jamaica go down a man for denial of clear scoring opportunities, but only yellow cards were issued to defender Allando Brown and goalkeeper Nicholas Nelson for the infractions. The Reggae Boyz still finished the game with 10 men, however, after substitute forward Daniel Roberts was shown a red card for a tough tackle Lynden Gooch.

U.S. head coach Tab Ramos returned to goalkeeper Zack Steffen and the back four that he used in the first two games of the competition after resting them in Wednesday’s 8-0 triumph over Aruba, but the front six from that match remained in tact.

The Americans won more of the possession battle as the game wore on and were the better team, but they again lacked sharpness in the final third and were unable to score from the run of play. Aside from the drubbing to overmatched Aruba, the U.S. has only scored via dead-ball situations.

The U.S. defense continued to hold firm, though. It has surrendered only two goals through four games.

Ramos and his side will now head into Wednesday’s Group A finale against Trinidad and Tobago looking for at least a draw to secure advancement to the next round of the tournament. The Americans cannot finish in first place of the group, so they will need to qualify for the World Cup via one of the two knock-out round games.


What did you think of the U.S.’s 2-0 win over Jamaica? Which players impressed you? How concerning is it that the Americans have struggled to score from the run of play in this tournament?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. El Salvadore referee, the US, Jamaica in Jamaica, who did everyone think would get the benefit of every questionable call? The only let-off the US got was at the end of the game when the extracurricular pushing led to yellow cards rather than an expulsion.

    The 2 OGSO’s on the PK calls were text book sending-offs that were not made by the referee.

    On at least one case a US player was given a yellow card when he had the bad luck to be fouled by a Jamaican player.

  2. In general, the US looked better than against Panama and Guate, but, of course, Jamaica was particularly unskilled. Their speed might have caused some problems but the US managed to stay organized on defense enough to shut down all possible threats. While watching the game, I had to wonder what it would take to actually get sent off. Two take downs in the box weren’t enough. I guess a boot to the groin was adequate, but only after the result was already ensured. These u20 matches have been pretty grim affairs. I understand the urge to win at all costs and have admired the tenacity of teams like El Salvador and Guatemala, but this style of play will continue to hold concacaf teams back from getting to the next level once they get to the next stage.

    • Games lately have felt like they were trending back towards 80s or 90s attitudes. No blood no foul.

      I preferred that era to the recent, easy foul calls up against people diving which we try and even up with simulation. Is this touch football?

      • I don’t mind it at all.
        It’s not pretty but it’s all part of the learning process. If you want to contend you’ll have to learn how to overcome this type of overly physical teams. If the players can’t handle it then they’re not national team material.

  3. interesting that teams in the U20 Concacaf field 20 player rosters. Teams for the U20 Conmebol tourney being played in South America have 23 player rosters (including Uruguay with Diego Fagundez)… different FIFA rules?

  4. With the gift of two PKs the US U-20 moves on to their perennial non-winning spot in CONCACAF Sub-20 tourneys. Thanks god they don’t have to play Guatemala again for the WC spot, but be wary of EL Salvador and Honduras; those boys really have balls and are nastily hungry, something our Under 20 lacks.

    • Rab,

      I hear ya with having to be tougher, even pushing the envelope on a few plays where that they could go into a bit harder. However, history of CONCACAF refereeing tells us that any Nat team would be carded extensively for this kind of play. Moreover, I’m getting a sense, and proof from your posts, that your a passionate fan, most likely of some FMF team, and you are here to simply troll. This is not the place to Troll. Please go back to Yahoo News and comment on “the climate change hoax” or something else where people sound off.

      Thanks Captain.

  5. I think the poor fowls conforms always hurt the U.S. They still lack that nastyness most central American teams have to won ugly games.

    • Maybe it’s I’m from Texas but we had rough play in our select leagues and we even dealt some of it out. I’d be surprised if our players hadn’t encountered it before. Since it’s the way senior teams play also we need them used to it. I don’t know if we need to be steel cage match per se — although I’d like to see more bite in all our NT backlines — but even if you’re going to play a chill game you have to be able to execute it with lumberjacks a’choppin’. This game is a perfect example, nothing easy, chop you down if you get a break. Take your two goals, win, go on to the next one.

    • I believe the tie breaker is goals against the team you are tied with. Meaning if T&T beat us they win the tie breaker. It only goes to goals for if it is a tie.

      • Short answer is yes. Who cares how you qualify, there are no points for qualifying through a playoff or winning 5 qualifiers. Just ask the Mexican men’s national team last year or the US women’s national team 4 years ago. Stop being a troll to these kids and learn how to spell. Whine has an H.

      • My guess is you actually are a Mexico fan, which would explain a lot. Next time I see Graham Zusi, I will give him your regards and thanks for saving your team’s butt last year

      • What, should they quit? We should give up because we lost a game early in the round robin when we still control our destiny?

      • What an obvious troll. And uninformed, too. There are numerous cases in sport where a team just barely qualifies and then proceeds to do well in a major tournament. Klinsmann has pointed out that the year his German team won the World Cup, they just barely scraped by in qualifying. UConn won the NCAA basketball tournament a few years back as a 7 seed and only got into the tournament by winning their conference tournament. Oakland won an NFL championship one year when it was a wild card. And so on.

  6. To be fair, we finish both of those opportunities from the run of play if Jaimica doesn’t take out our players.

    Not having Acosta is a bummer but Canouse has been fantastic. Requejo continues to impress and if not for turning off on the Panama goal, I would say he has been stellar.

  7. We really need to be able to bag regular goals against teams like this instead of just getting pks. Ot wouod be better if we scored actual goals to prove we CAN compete at this level in concocaf.

    • are PK’s not “actual goals”? If team A beats team B 4-3 but it was 4 deserved PK’s opposed to 3 World Class finishes did the wrong team win??

      • I this case they were actual goals. sometimes they are not.
        When the keeper is beaten and takes you out blatantly and there is no one who could have stopped you, that is just a good as a goal from the run of play. this was not a case of an incidental foul. The only way we don’t score is by blatant cheating.

      • in this particular game, there was poor awareness on runs in the box when a player would running at the goal from the end line, I do agree you have to be sharper in dangerous situaitons

        hopefully they are up for it against T&T

        Tommy Thompson was/is fantastic, that kid can play

      • Penalty kicks during the match are “actual goals” and count just like any other. Penalty kicks used to decide a knockout match are something different. That could be what confuses people like the poster above and the poster below.

      • Just think about that Dempsey CR goal in the snow where it richochets around and ends up in. We win, qualify, etc. (but they go deeper in Brazil) The late Panama goals by AJ when that game looked over and them in instead of Mexico. The ability to win ugly can help at the margins.

      • +1 Very true. Look at all the great clubs and NT’s of the past few years and you’ll find at least one game during their tournament run (etc) where they found a way to win ugly. Similarly, teams that light it up with elegant soccer through the group stages often fall apart sometimes when things start to become less easy (this happens to the Dutch fairly often)

      • I really care about wins and goals. Style points are overrated. Jamaica cynically traded men on the field and PKs for what might have been breakaway goals anyway (hoping either the play isn’t called or the PK saved), in which case the whole “not in the run of play” thing is a little unfair. Yes, I am concerned at the run of play scoring drought (save Aruba) but this is not the game for the argument. The first two were.

    • WOW!! I am fairly certain you did not watch that particular game. Those kids got CONCACAFed like I haven’t seen in a looong time and for them to win that game was something.

      At this level winning should not matter as much as most want it to, that aside they won a game in which the opposition didn’t come to play soccer. But beyond that the kids showed discipline and a respectable maturity when the idiot in the middle had no idea how to ref a soccer match. The kids knew what was on the line and they delivered to keep their destiny in their hands. Regardless of whether they make the tourney or not I was very impressed with how those kids dealt with the farce that that game turned out to be.

      There is more to the development of our kids than winning and the kids showed some great promise tonight. For those who only like the wins – you got it. It may not have been the W you wanted but if that’s all you’re in it for then you have something. For those looking for a bit more, well, there was plenty of that too. Hats off to the lads for getting a result in that “game”.

      • Good points. The second penalty kick was almost text book red card and it was scandalous that it wasn’t ;given. For those who didn’t see it, a poor back pass led to the US player getting to the ball before the GK and the goalie missed the ball and totally took out the attacker. There were no other defenders around and the GK was clearly the last man and yet the ref gave only a yellow.

      • That referee was an out and out crook and Jamaica should have ended with 8 players. If the US players had done anything close to what those Jamaician players did it would have been a ‘2 second red card’. This has been going on since the 1960’s so don’t even come up with that whinning crap bud. You don’t know s–t!

      • I oppose and despise terrible refereeing wherever it occurs. So, you think it’s okay for a ref to let a team get off with a yellow when by rule it’s a clear red?

    • I agree. Not an impressive result against Jamaica. I watched most of the game and am not impressed with the build up. Seems like the plan is accidental offense rather than controlled buildup


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