Quinn Sullivan is firing on all cylinders for the U.S. Under-20 men’s national team and its coming at a perfect time for Mikey Varas’ squad.
Sullivan scored a brace on Saturday as the USMNT U-20’s breezed past Nicaragua 5-0 in Round of 16 play, setting up a quarterfinal showdown against Costa Rica on Tuesday. Diego Luna and Jalen Neal also found the back of the net for the Americans, which earned a second-straight win and third overall in the Concacaf U-20 Championship.
The USMNT U-20’s owned possession in the first half but were kept at bay for majority of the opening 45 minutes. Nicaragua defender Cristhian Herrera denied Cade Cowell an opening goal in the 35th minute, diving low to clear the forward’s shot off of the line.
Diego Luna got the nod in the starting lineup and dazzled by setting up the opening goal of the match on the verge of halftime. Luna raced his way down the left wing before unleashing a cross that Quinn Sullivan headed home for his fourth goal of the tournament.
The USMNT U-20’s upped their pressure after halftime and were rewarded with a penalty kick opportunity in the 56th minute after Sullivan drew a foul in the box. Nicaragua’s Kurt Thomas hauled down Sullivan allowing Luna the chance to slot home his first goal of the tournament for a 2-0 Americans lead.
Sullivan continued his hot run of form in the 64th minute, slamming home a low cross from Cowell on the left wing to extend the USMNT U-20’s lead to 3-0.
Caden Clark entered the match as a second-half substitute and wasted little time making an impact. His cross in the box deflected off of Nicaragua defender Dylan Pineda and soared into the back of the net for a 4-0 scoreline.
Jalen Neal added a fifth and final goal for the USMNT U-20’s, as the defender slammed home a rebound in the final minutes of the match. Neal became the 16th different goalscorer for the USMNT U-20’s in this tournament.
The USMNT U-20’s will next face Costa Rica in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.