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Soto brace helps USMNT U-20s rebound in win over Nigeria

The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team made one personnel change to its lineup on Monday, and the move paid off in a big way.

Center forward Sebastian Soto stepped into the starting XI for the U.S. Under-20s and delivered a pair of goals to help register a 2-0 win over Nigeria on Monday in Under-20 World Cup action in Poland.

Soto’s goals came on each side of halftime, with the striker scoring the winner in the 18th minute and an insurance tally almost immediately after the second half began.

The shutout victory gave the Americans their first three points in the tournament and helped them bounce back from the 2-1 loss they suffered to Ukraine last week. The United States remains in third place in the group, however, trailing both Ukraine and Nigeria but ahead of Qatar heading into the next round of games.

It was not all good news for the Americans on Monday, as centerback Chris Richards left the game at the hour-mark with an injury. Mark McKenzie replaced Richards, who walked off with a noticeable limp.

Replacing Brandon Servania in the lineup, Soto struck after just 18 minutes through a corner kick. Alex Mendez delivered the ball from the right on the play, and Soto capitalized on loose marking by nodding the ball home.

Soto found the back of the net again seconds after halftime, collecting a great through ball from sprinting left back Chris Gloster before firing a low shot past Nigeria goalkeeper Olawale Oremade.

The African side had some decent scoring chances, too, particularly at the end of the first half. Substitute attacker Aniekeme Okon had one of the clearest looks for Nigeria in the 39th minute with a hard shot from distance, but U.S. goalkeeper Brady Scott parried it away.

Kingsley Michael also hit a good effort that nearly got Nigeria on the board, unleashing a blast that pinged off the woodwork four minutes before halftime.

The Americans will wrap up group play against Qatar on Thursday while Nigeria faces Ukraine simultaneously.


  1. Did we see Pomykal in the middle?, did we see Weah @ LW?, did we see Mendez @ the 8? Did Dest play better D? If your answer is yes!, then you can see why I was cautiously optimistic after the loss to the Ukraine! I THINK the starting XI vs Quatar- LW- Lanez, 9- Soto, RW- Cerillo
    10- Pomykal, 8- Ledezma, 6- Servania, LB- Real, CBs- Mackenzie, Keita, RB- Araujo – and I hope the subs will be Mendez @ the 8, C-Durk @ the 6, and Rennicks 4 Soto! Players playing in the best position was great but I thought Ramos could’ve done slightly better with the subs in today’s match. As we say in the south, “This double 6 ain’t it!”

  2. Ukraine beat Qatar by only 1-0. That means if the US beats Qatar by 1-0 and Ukraine beats Nigeria or draws with Nigeria, the US goes through in 2nd place. If Nigeria wins it gets more complicated. If Nigeria wins by 1-0, the US needs to win by at least 2 vs. Qatar and will finish first. If Nigeria beats Ukraine by 2 goals, the US needs to win by 3 over Qatar to finish first. The first tie breaker is goal difference, so if Ukraine loses, even at only 1-0, they will be a 6 points with a goal difference of + 2. If the US beats Qatar, even 1-0, then they will be at 6 points and +3 and finish ahead of Ukraine. If the US draws, they need to have Ukraine beat Nigeria because a draw would give Nigeria 4 points, the US 4 points, but Nigeria would be in second because of goal differential due to their 4-0 drubbing of Qatar. Best is for the US to just win and they are certain to go through. And I probably missed a possible scenario.

  3. A nice win for the boys. Pomykal continues to build his resume. Weah and Konrad looked better with the space they had today. Mendez was amazing for the first 30 minutes. Backline was solid Dest looked more relaxed although he and Konrad got in each other’s way some. Floater looked good as well you can see why he’s playing up with Hannover II. Keita was good and Richards was outstanding. Durkin had a couple where was that pass going but overall better. Scott made some big saves even if they weren’t highlight reel plays. The question now is how many backups will we see starting the Qatar match. Still work left to do but Richards came off and Soto gotten up pretty good the last 30 minutes. Can McKenzie go 90 minutes, will will ever see Llanez or Ledesma? My biggest question might be how do you pronounce Ramos? I’ve always heard it Raw-mose, but Lalas who played with him kept saying Rae-mus?

  4. Refreshing to see a US team boss two quality opponents. So many more players look comfortable on the ball than previous teams. The future looks bright.

  5. Good win buy De La Fuente needs to step up I was expecting him to be a beast threat of a forward. I am not impressed at all, I dont know what Barcelona has seen in him. He dribbles to much instead of ripping those classic Barcelona screamer shots the goalkeepers have no chance saving. Instead of taking so many touches trying to fake people out ahoot the dang ball! Smh

    • Konrad is a year younger than the rest of the squad except for Araujo and Ochoa. Although he made an appearance for Barca B when other players were injured and on international duty he primarily played for the U19s. He appears to also be looking to get his teammates involved instead of calling his own number. Also if you noticed Fairjudge criticized Weah for doing what you wanted from Konrad so it’s thin line between being selfish and not selfish enough.

  6. Good game u.s. had most of the posession. Golster richards and destroy played great out of the back. Soto was the forward that was needed. Weah too selfish. There was two times where he could have crossed to soto but decided make a play himself. If weah can find a way to dribble away from the wing and send in crosses sacrificing for the team this would be much better for him and the team. Conrad de la fuente another great game just needs to cross balls in a bit better. Looking foward to next game vs quatar us will have to play with urgency and win and not leave anything depending on other games.


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