Needing only a tie to secure a place at the 2017 U20 World Cup the U.S. went one better Friday night, defeating El Salvador 2-1 in San Jose Costa Rica behind first half goals from Emmanuel Sabbi and Eryk Williamson.
The Americans were up for the challenge and that showed early with Tab Ramos’ crew flying out of the traps. With a quick turnaround since Monday’s 1-0 win over Mexico the U.S coach made some changes to his lineup, including playing Sabbi up top and that move paid early dividends.
Williamson took a good entry pass from Auston Trusty, receiving his first start, and smartly slipped a pass to send Sabbi in alone on goal. The Las Palmas, La Liga prospect did the rest, with a cool, clinical finish and after just 18 minutes the U.S. were on track for South Korea.
Seven minutes later a trip to South Korea was more or less assured when Williamson scored the goal of the tournament on long range rocket. A cross from Brooks Lennon, who is enjoying a fine tourney, fell to to Williamson 25 yards from goal and University of Maryland midfielder let fly leaving El Salvador keeper Mario Martínez with no chance.
Marvin Marquez got one back for the underdogs in the 35th minute taking a cross from Josue Rivera and beating Jonathan Klinsmann in the 35th minute. With his father looking on from the stands the keeper got a touch on the ball and but could not keep it out of the net.
The second turned scrappy and El Salvador finished the match with just nine men on the field while just 10 Americans were on the pitch for the final whistle. El Salvador’s Kevin Reyes was shown a second yellow card ten minutes from time before U.S. midfielder Sebastián Saucedo and El Salvador’s Marcos Rodríguez were booted in the 89th minute.
It was a sloppy end to the match but the U.S. will take it and move on, hoping to claim a first ever CONCACAF title at this age group with a win versus Honduras on Sunday at 4 P.M. ET.
But win, lose or draw the U.S. has qualified for a third consecutive U20 World Cup under Ramos and its 15th overall. After a dreadful performance in a 1-0 opening match loss to Panama on February 18 the Americans rebounded to reel off four wins on the trot and Ramos must be credited with keeping his young squad calm and turning things around.
Now Ramos will try to claim that first ever CONCACAF U20 title before leading his team into the World Cup in Korea Republic which runs from May 20 June 11.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 0 2
SLV 1 0 1
USA – Emmanuel Sabbi (Eryk Williamson) 18th minute
USA – Eryk Williamson 25
SLV – Marvin Marquez (Josue Rivera) 35
USA: 1-Jonathan Klinsmann; 2-Marlon Fossey, 4-Tommy Redding, 6-Justen Glad, 13-Auston Trusty; 8-Tyler Adams, 5-Erik Palmer-Brown (Capt.) (11-Sebastián Saucedo, 32), 7-Eryk Williamson; 17-Brooks Lennon (16-Jeremiah Gutjahr, 80), 18-Emmanuel Sabbi (19-Coy Craft, 72), 10-Luca De La Torre
Subs not used: 12-JT Marcinkowski, 3-Danny Acosta, 9-Jeremy Ebobisse, 15-Jonathan González, 20-Jonathan Lewis
Head coach: Tab Ramos
SLV: 1-Mario Martínez; 2-Oscar Menjivar, 3-Roberto Domínguez (Capt.), 15-Denilson Rosales (16-Diego Chávez, 21); 5-Josue Santos, 6-Diego Cartagena (14-Marcos Rodríguez, 66), 7-Kevin Reyes, 13-Fernando Castillo (11-Jonathan Aguilar, HT), 17-Walter Chiguila; 10-Marvin Marquez, 19-Josue Rivera
Subs not used: 18-Alan Carrillo, 4-Ronald Gómez, 8-Héctor Quinteros, 9-Brayan Paz, 12-Enrique Contreras, 20-Amilcar Bermúdez
Head coach: Eduardo Lara
Stats Summary: USA / SLV
Shots: 14 / 7
Shots on Goal: 6 / 3
Saves: 2 / 3
Corner Kicks: 5 / 2
Fouls: 30 / 23
Offside: 2 / 4
USA – Auston Trusty (caution) 31st minute
USA – Brooks Lennon (caution) 44
USA – Tommy Redding (caution) 49
USA – Justen Glad (caution) 61
SLV – Kevin Reyes (caution) 67
SLV – Mario Martínez (caution) 70
SLV – Kevin Reyes (caution) 80
SLV – Kevin Reyes (sent off) 80
SLV – Josue Santos (caution) 82
SLV – Marcos Rodríguez (sent off) 89
USA – Sebastián Saucedo (sent off) 89