BRADENTON, Fla. – The U.S. Under-20 men’s national team set a team scoring record at the Concacaf U-20 Championship, defeating U.S. Virgin Islands 13-0, to send claim top spot in Group A at IMG Academy Saturday night.
Ulysses Llanez recorded a hat-trick and added three assists in the first half nine goal scorers found the back of the net.
The Americans took the group lead at the qualifying tournament for the 2019 U-20 World Cup in Poland.
Llanez’s dazzling first half began early when his cross from the left picked out Griffin Dorsey at the back post for the opening goal in the fourth minute. Llanez added another assist in the 20th minute, finding Ayo Akinola, who headed home from close range.
With two assists in hand, Llanez went about collecting his hat-trick. In the 23rd minute, Dorsey cut inside and laid off the ball, allowing Llanez time and space to curl a right-footed effort inside the top right corner. On the half-hour mark, Manny Perez progressed down the right, providing Llanez with an open lane to goal and a clean finish past goalkeeper Connor Querrard. In the 39th minute, he battled off the challenge form Jett Blaschka to complete his hat trick.
In the 41st minute the Lynwood, Calif., product brought down the curtain on an impressive first half, playing a quick combination with Anthony Fontana, who finished past Querrard to send the USA into the locker room with a 6-0 lead.
Llanez was replaced by Justin Rennicks at halftime and the Indiana University product picked up the production, playing a part in a four-goal outburst over the course of seven minutes.
It began in the 62nd minute, when he nodded home a close-range rebound after Querrard saved a powerful shot from Dorsey. One minute later, he flicked on an Alex Mendez cross before Mark McKenzie finished. Rennicks again put his name on the scoresheet, slotting home Mendez’s low free kick from the right in the 66th minute, before playing the pass to send Paxton Pomykal on a great run through the U.S. Virgin Islands’ back line three minutes later. Pomykal’s goal gave the USA a 10-0 lead, setting a team record for goals in one match at the Concacaf U-20 Championship. The mark was a 9-0 win against Dominican Republic in 1975.
The USA extended the record in the closing minutes. Mendez put home a 78th-minute penalty kick and McKenzie finished his second chance of the match three minutes later. Manny Perez also put his name on the score sheet with a nice individual effort in second-half stoppage time to cap the scoring at 13-0.
Group A’s other Matchday Two action saw Trinidad & Tobago defeat Puerto Rico, 5-1, and Suriname down Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. 2-1.
The U.S. faces its toughest first-round test, taking on Trinidad & Tobago Tuesday. The battle of two of Group A’s undefeated sides kicks off at 7:45 p.m. ET and the match can be seen live on UDN and the Concacaf Go app.