In what began as a horror show for the United States under-20 national team has ended in a dream win at the 2017 CONCACAF Championship. Losing to a 10-man Panama side in the first group match of the tournament had many worrying about the U.S. making it out of their group at all. Tab Ramos’ side responded by winning five straight matches, qualifying for the World Cup, and winning the regional tournament for the first time ever.
In what was a rather uneventful match against Honduras in the final, the U.S. captured their first U-20 title on penalties after surviving a slew of injuries in regulation time. Luck was on their side as this tournament format goes straight to penalties instead of extra time. With the match scoreless and all three subs already used, captain Erik Palmer-Brown gutted out the final 10 minutes basically on one leg to get the U.S. to the finish line.
In the shootout, the U.S. made all of the attempts, including Danny Acosta who converted in the fifth and final round to win the tournament after Honduras missed in the previous. This is a huge accomplishment for this group who will now look to May and the World Cup.