The United States' slumped to a disappointing last minute draw against Guatemala, then were stunned by Panama to start the CONCACAF U-20 Championships. With just one point from two matches, they desperately needed to turn things around and they did just that against Aruba, thrashing the overmatched side, 8-0, to get back on track in the tournament that also serves as U-20 World Cup qualifying.
The U.S. actually almost conceded first as they got caught up and a pass over the top put Aruba in alone on goal, but the shot went wide. That would prove to be it for Aruba though because shortly after, the Americans took control. Tommy Thompson's nifty flick unlocked the Aruba defense, then Bradford Jamieson got to the ball and crossed for Romain Gall to finish.
Two minutes later, a corner kick was nodded off of the crossbar, but Ben Spencer headed the rebound on goal and Jamieson touched it over the line to make it 2-0. Tyler Turner was then fouled in the box and Gall buried the penalty in the 23rd minute before Thompson headed home a corner kick in the 26th minute to give the Americans a 4-0 lead.
With a four-goal advantage and an Aruba side that didn't have a single player as good as the Americans' worst, things were over, but the U.S. kept pushing. Emerson Hyndman intercepted the ball at midfield then dribbled all the way into the box before finishing, then he set up the next ball with some great dribbling and a through ball to Gall. Gall finished and had his hat trick to give the U.S. a 6-0 halftime lead.
Jamieson got back on the scoreboard after the break as he just out-ran the Aruba defenders then crushed a shot near post for the goal. Six minutes before the final whistle, Aruba finally stopped a Jamieson shot, but that just left a fat rebound for Amando Moreno to knock home and the U.S. had themselves an eight-goal win.
It's tough to take too much from a match so uncompetitive. Hyndman bossed the midfield and Gall was clinical in front of goal, while Jamieson flashed his athleticism, but really, everyone played well. It was impossible for anyone not to and they all took care of business.
With four points from three matches, the U.S. is into third place in six-team Group A. The first place team in the group will automatically qualify for the U-20 World Cup, while second and third place will go into a playoff. That leaves the Americans with work to do, and things won't be easy in their next two matches as they take on hosts Jamaica then Trinidad and Tobago.