Tim Weah became the first U.S. male to register a hat-trick in the knockout round of a World Cup.
NEW DELHI, India – It might be unfair to compare a teenager to his iconic father, but Tim Weah certainly took a giant step or two or three in that direction Monday.
Weah, the son of former FIFA World Player of the Year George Weah, struck for a hat-trick to power the United States to an emphatic 5-0 triumph over Paraguay to reach the quarterfinals of the FIFA Under-27 World Cup in front of 34,895 spectators at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
The former B.W. Gottschee standout and Rosedale, N.Y. native became the first U.S. male player to register a hat-trick in the knockout round of a World Cup.
The Americans rode a strong defensive performance in the first half and a breakout offensive display in the second to its second all-time win in the knockout Round and first quarterfinal appearance since 2005. Captain Josh Sargent and midfielder Andrew Carleton also scored for the USA, while Chris Durkin, James Sands (New York City FC) and goalkeeper Justin Garces anchored a U.S. defense that recorded its third clean sheet in four games at the tournament and the U.S.’s first shutout in a knockout-round game.
The teams traded opportunities early on before the U.S. began to establish possession and attack down the flanks, in particular via overlapping runs from Sergino Dest. The attacking posture paid off in the 19th minute when Weah staked the Americans to a 1-0 lead.
The physicality of the match picked up. Blaine Ferri took a knock after a tough challenge and had to be replaced by Indiana Vassilev in the 34th minute. Chris Durkin, whose grit and hustle in midfield helped shield the U.S. backline, picked up a yellow card that will see him miss the quarterfinals.
Weah, who plays for Paris St-Germain in France, added his second goal with a spectacular shot into the upper left-hand corner in the 53rd minute.
Ten minutes later Carleton, put the USA out of sight by finishing off a well-orchestrated attack.
Sargent made it 4-0 in the 74th minute before Weah capped the scoring and his hat-trick with the USA’s fifth a couple minutes later.
The U.S. will play the winner of Tuesday’s match between England and Japan at Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa, on Saturday (10:30 a.m. ET; FS2, Telemundo).
George Weah, who is running for the president of Liberia, is expected to face the country’s vice president Joseph Boakai, in a runoff for the country’s presidency, after no candidate gained an absolute majority in the Oct. 10 election.