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USMNT U-20s face stiff test against unbeaten France at Under-20 World Cup

The U.S. Under-20 national team is set to face off against France in the World Cup Round of 16 on Tuesday (11:30 a.m. ET, FS+).

The United States finished second in Group D behind Ukraine, losing its opening match to Ukraine 2-1 before rallying with back-to-back shutout victories against Nigeria 2-0 and Qatar 1-0.

France will be a much tougher proposition though, coming in with a perfect 3-0 record after beating Mali, 3-2, with Michael Cuisance and Amine Gouiri scoring their second goals of the tournament.

U.S. midfielders Alex Mendez and Chris Durkin will miss Tuesday’s match in Bydgoszcz due to yellow card accumulation.

The missing duo will raise questions for head coach Tab Ramos entering the knockout rounds, as both Mendez and Durkin started every game for the United States this tournament.

Paxton Pomykal should return to the starting lineup after being rested against Qatar, leaving Brandon Servania, Richard Ledezma  and Edwin Cerrillo vying for starting central midfield roles with Pomykal. Servania has seen substantial minutes during the tournament,  starting and scoring a goal on Matchday 1 against Ukraine. Cerrillo is the only pure defensive midfielder on the roster, and could step in to provide some defensive toughness to combat France’s imposing attack.

Eyes will also be on American forwards Timothy Weah and Sebastian Soto, who have driven the U.S. attack in this World Cup. Soto scored a brace against Nigeria on Matchday 2, while Weah scored the lone goal in a tense affair with Qatar to help the United States advance to the Round of 16.

In the defense, Chris Richards, Aboubacar Keita, and Chris Gloster, who started each of the United State’s three matches this tournament, will have their work cut out for them against France, which scored an impressive 7 goals in this campaign.

The winner of Tuesday’s match will go on to face Ecuador in the quarterfinals. Ecuador defeated group stage stalwarts Uruguay on Monday 3-1.



  1. You can tell the professional players apart from the amateurs from a few years ago. They had intensity and a sense of urgency about them as if their livelihood was at stake. It should be that way.

  2. 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.

  3. Kids showed a lot of composure. Keita got beat for speed, but the kid competed and his distribution was good out of the back.

  4. Indiana Hoosier Rennicks with the go ahead goal in the 80th minute. Regardless of commentary about their style and quality of play in the first round, the USMNT U-20s are leading pre-tournament favorite and unbeaten France late in the game.

  5. At 61th minute, Keita got beat by the speedy Diallo on the left again. Fortunate, there’s no one from the French side to finish in front of the goal. He needs help from the left midfielder.

  6. Speed kills. Keita does not have it. Got badly beat by pure speed on the left on France’s second goal. He should have committed a professional foul on the France winger outside the box to avoid the goal. Keita also showed the lack of recovery speed on France’s first goal in the first half.

  7. Half time 1-1. US-20 MNT did an excellent job absorbing France’s pressure and hit back where it hurt with Soto’s goal in the first half. Ledezma and Weah had great chance too. Weah almost created a world class goal if not the France defender’s last second block. Go U20 MNT!

  8. Mendez will be missed. Have been impressed with his vision and long unlocking passes especially to Weah. Pomykal, really needs to put his imprint on this match. Be a boss box to box and show up at all opportune times to shine at both ends. This could be a game where Pomykal earns a Euro club contract.
    Keita, concerns me with a lot of mental mistakes by not reading the game.

  9. Weah-Soto-Konrad
    Dos Santos

    Llanez first off the bench at ’70

      • Yeah I considered that but I didn’t know if Llanez was match fit yet. He looked great in a brief appearance. Konrad has had his moments but overall I agree he hasn’t been great and was possibly overhyped due his club academy situation. But he’s also the youngest on this team. I’m still high on him.

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