BIELSKO-BIALA, Poland – The U.S. Under-20 men’s national team rebounded with a strong 2-0 win over Nigeria at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup behind two goals from Sebastian Soto and a shutout from the U.S. defense led by goalkeeper Brady Scott.
The USA (1-1-0, 3 points) sits third in Group D after two match days, tied on points with Nigeria (1-1-0, 3) but trails on goal differential by one. Earlier in the day, Ukraine (2-0-0, 6) beat Qatar (0-2-0; 0) to take control of the group but must still face Nigeria, while the U.S. will close out Group D against Qatar Thursday, May 30 at 2:30 p.m. ET (FS2, Universo).
In a much more wide-open match than its previous game, the USA carried play throughout the day, amassing 59 percent possession via 460 passes compared to 313 for Nigeria. Although the U.S. did well to dictate the pace of play, it needed an outstanding game from Scott, who made five saves. He was called into action early to deny a creative volley from Nigeria.
The majority of the goal-scoring chances were created by the Americans, who broke through via a back-post header from Soto in the 18th minute.
The U.S. nearly doubled its lead on multiple occasions. First, Tim Weah got free on a break away but Olawale Oremade got enough of a deflection on the shot to send it around the far post. Then on the half hour mark, Weah’s initial header was saved and a resulting scramble for the rebound was stabbed home by Soto. The goal was disallowed after a video review determined Weah was offside on the initial header.
Scott made several saves to defend the lead. A diving save to his right kept out a fierce volley form the top of the box by substitute Aniekeme Okon in the 39th minute. Nigeria’s surge saw Okon put a blistering shot off the wood work from distance a minute later. Scott denied Nigeria yet again with another save in the 42nd minute on a blast right toward the center of goal.
The U.S. took its own chances when Weah had a pair of attempts late on in the half that were deflected, one of which dropped onto the cross bar and out.
After the break, it took the U.S. less than 30 seconds to grab a second goal. Chris Gloster got free on the dribble and played Soto into the box where he sent a deft chip over the onrushing Oremade for the final margin.
While no more goals were scored, the U.S. was fortunate to see a penalty kick awarded to Nigeria in the 64th minute called back due to an offside that occurred before the PK call.