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USA vs. France, U-20 World Cup: Recap and Reaction

The young yanks pull off a massive upset

Germany U20 v USA U20 - International Match Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images

The US U-20’s pulled off a shocking result with their thrilling 3-2 victory over France’s U-20’s on Tuesday. The win sends France home while the US will face Ecuador on Saturday (11:30 AM ET on FS1).

France completely dominated the first twenty minutes of the match. The US hardly saw any possession and looked like they were going to really struggle. Still, the breakthrough came from the US on the counter in the 25th minute. Richie Ledezma drove through midfield on a sensational run and slipped a lovely ball through to Sebastian Soto who picked out the bottom right corner to beat French keeper Alban Lafont.

The goal seemed to give the US some confidence, but the French still displayed their quality. Just before halftime, PSG product Moussa Diaby raced at Aboubacar Keita and forced him into no man’s land with little help. Diaby played in Amine Gouiri to beat Brady Scott and level the score. It would remain 1-1 heading into the break.

The second half started with France completely dominating once again. The go-ahead goal that seemed inevitable for France came in the 55th minute. Diaby raced in on goal and his strike clanged off the post. Teammate Nabil Alioui was there to finish the rebound and put France up 2-1. The French continued to control the match until Ulysses Llanez came on and injected some life and fresh legs into the attack. In the 74th minute, Llanez received the ball in a pocket of space and beat his defender. He found Timothy Weah who slipped a gorgeous through-ball to Sebastian Soto. The 18-year-old put it away to level the score.

In the 83rd minute, the US went in front. Sergino Dest struck it well from outside the box. Lafont spilled what looked to be a routine save and Justin Rennicks took advantage on the rebound to put the US up 3-2.

The US did well to run out the remaining time and pull off likely the biggest upset of the tournament.

The Positives

The US pulled off a huge win to reach the quarterfinals of this tournament for the third consecutive time. Many of the French players are already seasoned professionals and some are already playing for huge clubs. The Americans did not let it phase them, however. They showed tremendous fight and composure in the face of adversity. Richie Ledezma took advantage of his starting opportunity and was an impact player before being subbed off. His assist to Soto truly set the tone that the Americans were ready to play today. Sebastian Soto is now tied for second place in the tournament with four goals after his brace today. He also showed off a few moments of quality hold-up play. Alex Mendez and Chris Durkin both missed out today with yellow card suspension, but they will be available against Ecuador.

The Negatives

The US did struggle to win the ball in midfield and/or maintain possession for large chunks of this game. Konrad de la Fuente was largely ineffective in creating offense while he was on the field. The US was somewhat fortunate not to give up more than the two goals. France missed several opportunities to capitalize on the space that the US afforded them. Still, it is a great win and the Americans advance

Hit the comment section to discuss the big win and which performances stood out for you.