BRADENTON, Fla. – The U.S. Under-20 men’s national team completed its sweep of Group A of the 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship with a 7-0 victory over Suriname at IMG Academy Stadium Friday night.
The Americans (5-0-0, 15 points), who won the group by outscoring their foes, 39-2, advanced to the qualification stage. They will face Group E winner, Costa Rica and Group C winner, Honduras, on Nov. 16 and 19, respectively. The top two teams will qualify for the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, with the winner advancing to the final.
For the fourth time in the five group games, the USA took a lead within seven minutes of the kickoff, courtesy of Alex Mendez, who curled in a left-footed free kick over the wall and into the side net from 22 yards.
The USA had a chance to double the lead in the 22nd minute, but goalkeeper Rivaldo Soesman saved a penalty kick by Griffin Dorsey. Minutes later, Mendez set up the second goal, working a quick corner kick with Paxton Pomykal before getting the ball back and whipping in a cross into the box. Centerback and captain for the night Mark McKenzie out-jumped his mark and connected on a header, sending the ball past the goalkeeper for his third goal of the tournament.
The Americans put the game away with two quick strikes from Ayo Akinola, who got on the end of passes from Griffin Dorsey and Paxton Pomykal from close range to stretch the lead to 4-0 before halftime.
With continued long stretches of possession and little challenges defensively, the USA added three more goals in the second half. Juan Pablo Torres guided a shot through traffic at the hour mark, second-half substitute Justin Rennicks added his fourth of the tournament and Mendez completed the rout by converting his second penalty kick and fifth goal of the group stage.
As winner of Group A the USA is matched with the winners of Group C and E in the next round, forming Group G. Group H will consist of Panama (winner, Group D), El Salvador (winner, Group F), and the winner of Group B, which will be decided Saturday between Mexico or Jamaica. After another round robin, the top two from each group will qualify for the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup and the winners will meet in the 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship final on Nov. 21.
The U-20 USMNT will face Costa Rica Friday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. ET and Honduras Monday, Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. ET at IMG Academy Stadium in Bradenton, Fla. The matches can be watched live on Univision Deportes Network and the ConcacafGo app.
|2018 CONCACAF U-20 Championship Group A Standings|
|Trinidad & Tobago||5||3||2||0||9||12||1||-2|
|St. Vincent and the Grenadines||5||1||4||0||3||8||-7||-4|
|U.S. Virgin Islands||5||0||5||0||0||2||38||-36