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U.S. U-20s reach quarterfinals with stirring comeback vs. France

Seventeen minutes were all that stood between the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team and a Round of 16 elimination, but a stirring comeback against a tournament favorite saw the Americans pull off a major upset.

Two goals in the final 16 minutes allowed the Americans to overcome a 2-1 deficit to defeat France, 3-2, on Tuesday. The equalizer came off the foot of Sebastian Soto in the 74th minute and Justin Rennicks fired in the winner on the rebound nine minutes later.

The win means the U.S. will face Ecuador on Saturday in the quarterfinals. The Americans have reached that round in each of the last two editions of the competition.

Soto got the impressive U.S. rally started, finishing of an exquisite through ball from Tim Weah that sliced open the French defense. Weah used the outside part of his right foot play Soto through, and the striker made no mistake for his second goal of the day.

In the 83rd minute, Rennicks pounced on a mistake from French goalkeeper Alban Lafont to put the U.S. ahead. Lafont spilled a shot from distance from Sergino Dest, and the alert Rennicks, who entered the game in the second half, raced to the ball first to fire it in from close.

The Americans let their initial lead slip away before coming from behind to pull out the victory. The U.S. found the opener in the opener in the 25th minute through a clinical Soto finish on the counter, but strikes from Amine Gouiri and Nabil Alioui in the 41st and 55th minutes, respectively, gave France the lead.

Gouiri netted on a direct attack from France, and Aloiui scored after a shot from Moussa Diaby hit the post.

The U.S. showed resiliency, however, firing two near the final quarter hour to record the stunning victory.


  1. What was impressive here is that A) France was the pre-tournament favorite and the U.S. had 2 regulars sitting out. The reality now is that the U. S. can win this thing if they can put forth their “A” game each time out and get an even number of breaks. Next opponent Ecuador only scored 1 goal on their own (+ 1 o.g.) in the group stage and was awarded 2 questionable P. K.s in their match against Group winner Uruguay, yesterday. With Top Guns, France and Uruguay out, the path is open for a march right to the W/C Final. If the U. S. can play against the rest of the field the way they did against Nigeria, a W/C may very well be in their immediate future!!!

  2. Dest by far his best game at this tournament. It looked as if he was fitting in with his teammates and the structure the Tab wants to implement. Weah is steadily improving and is best playing on the wing instead of as a CF. Having these two players up their games was what really stood out for me. A kudos to Ledezma for filling in well for Mendez. He had a good game but with his spate of injuries prior to this tournament is not fit for 90 minutes yet. Given the break between now and Saturday I am hoping that Dest and Weah get better due to more reps with their teammates in practices.

  3. Dest probably had the best game a RB could have. Weah was dangerous and Gloster scary solid. Only problem I had which wasn’t that big of a deal was Servania, a little sloppy. Pomykal was a little lost didn’t see much of him today.

    • The guy who has been scary solid this tournament for every second and every minute played is Chris Richards. He has the highest ceiling of any player there. Shocking just how good he is. When he signed for Bayern I thought he had entered the Bayern youth system black hole. Dare I say that he may one day be good enough for a team like that. He needs a loan. He needs to play against men. Haven’t seen a US defeder as flawless on a regular basis since Eddie Pope. You can’t teach what he has upstairs and physically he hasn’t matured yet.
      With hard work and determination, and no major injuries, he will play at a very, very good level. This isn’t a …. if he works this out, or if he gets lucky, the coach hates him, bias, if only someone would do this for him, blah, blah, blah. It will happen. Wonderful to see.
      Chris has improved big time. This performance made me take more note than the group comp. He “should” get a lot of time in B2 next year. Perfect for him right now. Finger crossed. He isn’t a Richards type propect IMO, but the kid has a real chance. Nice to see.

      • I agree 100%, Richards is good and played great thus far. Dest took a beating by people after the game against Ukraine but has has played great since then. He shut down that side of the pitch today and should be applauded, not taking away from any other player, he stood out to me. They all played good today except for Pomykal and Servania who I thought weren’t that good but that’s just my opinion.

    • I thought Pomykal was super clutch. He didnt have an assist or anything today, but he was excellent defensively he was a thorn in the French Side all game. I thought he was amazing at breaking things up and winning balls back. without Pomykal we would have almost certainly lost this one.

  4. Absolutely great result. The USA played like a team specially in the second half they never gave up and fought with that true American grit. USA all the way. Bring it against Ecuador LLanez > De la fuente in that game. De la fuente has great talent but lack crossing and a bit more physicality.

  5. Really liked what I saw from Pomykal at #10 and Dest at RB in this game. Pomykal has a good first touch and is crafty for sure. He transitions from defense to attack very quickly and pushes the ball forward putting defenders on their heels and opening it up for the wings to run. Very promising for a u20. I like it want to see more.

  6. Cardiac Kids. Thats that USA heart and stick-to-it-ive ness, thats been missing. Full credit to Tab Ramos. Personally, he was my choice to see him with the senior squad. Hes pretty much, next up, when that job comes open again

    • ….so a guy who only got into coaching because the person who is godfather to his son, Sunil Gulati, let him sit on a few benches, and then gave him the full time job with no experience is good enough for a full time Nat job? His teams were very poor in the NJ youth leagues. He got the job because of connections, and he really isn’t hard worker, by his own admittance, and has no experience running a large organization, or understands any of the complexities.
      He has never dealt with men, and has never had any pressure on him, because Sunil is one of his best buds, has virtually no real experience, and has been described as a JK junior by many who know him…..just a pragmatic version, and not a used car salesman narcicsstoc dick. Politician and philosopher first, coach second, not a hrd worker, no real hand on experience dealing with a large entity, never coached men, never been under pressure. I could go on….but NO THANKS. We are here in the first place because so many self loathing, desperate, inexperienced, easily manipulated by BS fans…and our resident in over his head academic Sunil…fell for th predator JK. Who now in hindsight just shows how bad he was, wherever he has been….yes, even Germany wanted fore him before the WC, until Ballack and Lowe cn fronted him about changing his naive system as they were getting beat badly before it began. Then the Bayern disaster. the he turned TFC into a farce, then he slowly degraded us. The guy many worshipped that actually is getting mocked now in Germany as he tries to plant stories, as usual, as to how much interest there is in him. No one wants him anywhere….yet you want to put someone less experienced, even if he isn’t dick into the full Nats role. Brilliant. It is always obvious when you run into folks who have never run anything of importance in there life and never will.

      • I prefer facts to opinions and like to look at results. The youth teams under Ramos are doing better than before. A good part of that, of course, is due to the fact our player pool is getting better, but we have seen other youth coaches screw things up before, so Ramos is doing at least as well as can be expected, so your statements have no credibility to me. As for Klinsmann, he took a very young German team to 3rd place in the WC and the word at the time was that few in Germany expected them to do even that well, and certainly no one expected them to do better. As for his time at Bayern, I think he was like 2 points out of first when he was sacked. So, it’s not like he was a disaster. If you check the record you will see a lot of good coaches get sacked from Bayern, even when they do well. As for 2014, most observers outside of the US and a lot inside, thought the US would not go through to the knockout round. In qualifying for the WC the US under Klinsmann had its highest score ever in the Hex.

      • He’s been the coach of the U20s USMNT, since 2011. The US hasn’t won ANY youth tournaments @ ANY level, until 2017. CONCACAF U20 tourney started in 1962. All the players, the fans are excited about played 4 Tab. The biggest win since 2007 U20s WC, when ‘Murica beat Uruguay, (Cavani, Suarez). 2 Continental titles, plus 3 Quarter-finals, consecutively. Let’s not get into how many 6 figured players, (who aren’t old enough to buy beer?), he has helped to develop! Sargent, Adams, Amon are eligible. Mendez & C Durks out. No need 4 a Johnathon Gonzalez or Tim Tillman. When ever Ramos leaves to have another coaching opportunity, there won’t be a run like this! This has nothing to do with Sunil Galati! Come 2 2019, my friend, WE ARE W8TIN 4U.

  7. Diaby is incredible. But we persevered. Great result. Love Llanez. McKenzie doesn’t look like he belongs. Second game in a row he whiffed a clearance. Odd to see a US team where the goalie doesn’t look strong. Weah had his best game. Dest was great.Soto making bank.

  8. Proud of our boys! Soto, Ledezma, LLanez, Weah, Richards, Dest all put in consistent, great performance for the U20 MNT today. I’m glad Sargent stayed home with the senior team for the GC, or else Soto wouldn’t have had the chance to shine in the tournament and showed the scouts he’ could be a world class finisher. I was also impressed with The Imperative Voice’s boy, Tim Weah’s performance today, Weah showed great vision and touches unlocking France defense with inch perfect passes in the final third. He almost scored a wonderful goal splitting two French defenders with speed and skills in the first half. Unfortunately, one of the defenders was quicker to clear the ball before Weah sent it home. Weah did learn something from watching Neymar and Mbappe operating in the final third, Our senior team desperately needs that kind of vision and skills near the box.

  9. A pretty remarkable victory. The US played pretty well, but the French looked to be a bit quicker and more skilled. I think the French tired more in the second half than did the US players and that was the difference. I’m trying to think of a bigger upset in international tournament play and all I can come up with at the moment is when the US beat Spain in the 2009 Confederations Cup. Congratulations to this young American team.

  10. Fantastic game. Showed a great combination of skill and American grit.
    From the opening whistle, they seemed fearless.

    When they gave up that 2nd goal, I thought that was it.
    Well done.

    Slow start in the group stage but got the results and like all World Cup winning teams, hopefully will improve after each game.

    Hate to pick on him but Keita seems to be a liability.

    Still believe it will be a failure if we do not make the semis with this team.

      • I still think I want McKenzie starting back there against Ecuador, want that leadership and strength back there.

      • Oh yea, definitley competed. And you may be right about distribution. But I think its been more than being beat by speed. Positionally at times, puts himself in no man’s land.

        The first goal, you can argue he was hung out to dry with a 2 v.1 situation but I thought he comitted to the ball too early and, again, put himself in no man’s land when the attacker slided the ball in to his teammate. He had the help from the middle if he stuck towards the runner to on his left. Harsh criticism probably.
        Other times, I felt he got lucky that he wasnt beat.

        I recall some situations in the group stage. (although I didnt see the Qatar game).

        It is what it is.
        And I dont know enough about McKenzie to say that he should be the starter.

        But was watching today thinking, damn, too bad we couldnt have had a CCV or Miazga with this group.

  11. Very impressive performance. France was clearly the superior team, and had many more chances and possession, but our boys showed great resolve and skill. I honestly thought it would turn into a blow out when France took the lead in the 55th minute. Here’s to hoping we don’t blow this opportunity to make a deep run after such a great win.

    I was shocked when Tab subbed out Ledezma as I thought he was our best midfielder. Maybe he was injured or running on fumes.

    • Have to disagree….I thought France were the better team in the first half but completely outplayed in the second. Soto rounds the keeper properly its 4-2. Other than Diaby, player for player the US were better all over the field.

      • I’d agree that the teams were more even in the second half (the first half was all France with 70/30 possession), but France still had more shots and possession. The US got back into the game in the last 20 minutes. Soto, who had a great game, should have finished with a hat trick. I’m sure he’s getting noticed by lots of scouts in Poland.

    • Have to disagree….I thought France were the better team in the first half but completely outplayed in the second. Soto rounds the keeper properly its 4-2. Other than Diaby, player for player the US were better all over the field.


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