The United States under-20 men’s national team have clinched a berth in the World Cup quarterfinals for the second straight tournament. A dominant 6-0 victory over New Zealand will give the U.S. some confidence heading into a difficult match against Venezuela on Sunday.
Possession was the name of the game in the first half. The U.S. controlled 61 percent of the ball in the opening 45 minutes. It took them a bit of settling down the early nerves to get their rhythm, but once they did their dominance really showed with intricate moves around the box.
They’d enjoy a few half chances like Josh Sargent heading a Brooks Lennon cross right to the New Zealand goalkeeper or Lennon firing over the bar from just outside the box. Their pressure finally paid off just after the half-hour mark when a corner kick bounced its way to Justin Glad near the top right of the penalty area. His low shot snuck past the goalkeeper to open the scoring. Replays showed that the shot deflected off Sargent in front of goal and he would eventually get credit for his fourth goal of the tournament.
Set-pieces would be the only danger for the Kiwis. Their strategy of overloading the six-yard box with attackers on corner kicks was dealt with nicely by the USA.
Coming out of the halftime break, New Zealand would get a better grip on the match and would dig out the best chance of the first 10 minutes, but a shot from near the penalty spot would squirm wide of Jonathan Klinsmann’s goal.
The U.S. settled back down and regained control and would extend their lead to an insurmountable margin thanks to a rapid back-to-back goal flurry. Jeremy Ebobisse celebrated his first start of the tournament with a fantastic goal to make it 2-0. Collecting a ball at the top of the box, he turned his defender and unleashed a ferocious left-footed laser that left the goalkeeper with no chance.
Just a minute later and the American lead would be pushed to 3-0 after a great individual effort by Brooks Lennon. Racing onto a ball down the right flank, he outpaced his defender, went in on goal and finished nicely.
The U.S. onslaught would continue on as the half ticked down. Justen Glad would get his deserved goal to make it 4-0 in the 75th minute as he found himself unmarked in the box and headed a shot that hit the goalkeeper and trickled into the net.
It wouldn’t end there. Second half substitute Auston Trusty got in on the goalscoring fun in the 84th minute as a corner kick was played into the box on the ground. The Philadelphia Union defender blasted a first-time left-footed shot into the roof of the net.
The pride of Atlanta United’s youth academy, Lagos Kunga, would polish off the comprehensive victory with a nice finish in stoppage time.
The U.S. advances to play Venezuela in the quarterfinals on Sunday (2:00 a.m. ET).