U.S. Soccer’s 2018 U-20 Men’s Invitational Tournament kicked off on Friday, with the hosts impressing in the first matchday.
The U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team started its domestic tournament well, defeating Jamaica 3-1. Hannover 96 forward Sebastien Soto opened the scoring in the 8th minute and doubled his tally nineteen minutes later. Soto’s first-half brace was followed by a goal from Toronto FC attacker Ayo Akinola, who scored just five minutes after the break.
The young Americans nearly secured a clean sheet, but their would-be shutout was erased when Jamaica scored just moments after the 90 minute mark. 17-year-old Nicque Daley was the Reggae Boyz goalscorer.
Elsewhere, the U-19 MNT drew its first match of the tournament. Facing off against Venezuela’s U-20 side, the U-19 American group took an early 2-0 lead but later gave up two unanswered goals.
Midfielder Taylor Booth scored the first goal of the game in the 62nd minute after a slow first-half. The youngster’s goal was quite impressive, as he showed great technique in receiving a throw-in, turning towards goal, and unleashing a rocket that flew into the back of the net. Booth’s 2017 U-17 World Cup teammate Blaine Ferri added to the American advantage through a volley in the 71st minute.
Despite a quiet first 80 minutes, Venezuela came alive late in the game. La Vinotinto scored in the 87th minute through Carlos Ramos and equalized in the 93rd minute through a penalty converted by Christian Makoun. Makoun’s strike from the spot was the second goal a U.S. side allowed in stoppage time on Friday.
Going forward, the U-20 and U-19 US teams will go head-to-head at 4:30 p.m. eastern time on Sunday, while Venezuela and Jamaica will both look to get back to winning ways earlier in the day.