With a thin roster and several expected players missing from selection, the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team was expected to have a tough test ahead of them at the 2018 Concacaf Championship. Thursday saw the U.S. U-20’s shrug off any doubt with a lopsided win to start off play in the qualifying tournament.
Tab Ramos’ side downed Puerto Rico 7-1 in Bradenton, Fla. with five players getting on the scoresheet. Ayo Akinola and Justin Rennicks each tallied braces while Alex Mendez and Paxton Pomykal also found the back of the net.
It was a quick start for the hosts who got an opening goal after five minutes through the form of Rennicks. Mendez doubled the U.S.’ lead in the 11th minute, slotting home for his first goal of the tournament. A fantastic solo effort by Pomykal extended the U-20’s lead to 3-1 before Puerto Rico pulled one back ahead of halftime.
Akinola finished off Jaylin Lindsey’s pass in the 49th minute to kick off the second-half from Bradenton. Rennicks secured his brace in the 57th minute, scoring from the penalty spot after Pomykal was taken down inside of the box. TFC product Akinola added to his impressive day, heading home Ulysses Llanez’s cross in the 70th minute.
Llanez capped off the perfect day for the U-20’s, heading home a cross to ice the result.
Philadelphia Union defender Matt Real wore the captains armband while Brady Scott, Brandon Servania, Juan Torres, and Chris Gloster all received starts.
Sitting at 1-0-0 and a +6 on goal difference, the U.S. U-20 MNT are next in action on Saturday against the U.S. Virgin Islands.