The U.S.A. advanced to a Round of 16 matchup with New Zealand with this morning’s 1-1 tie against Saudi Arabia, topping Group F as Senegal and Ecuador played to a 0-0 draw in a match played simultaneously with the U.S. game.
Today’s results assure that Senegal and Saudi Arabia will join the Americans in moving on to the U20 World Cup KO rounds, although the U.S. victory was a costly one with Cameron-Carter Vickers, Derrick Jones, and Aaron Herrera all unavailable to Tab Ramos for Thursday’s Round of 16 match versus the Kiwi’s.
The Americans did well to tough out this result in South Korea despite playing the entire second half with 10 men after the card happy referee sent Cameron-Carter Vickers to the showers just before the intermission.
Real Salt Lake’s Liverpool loanee Brooks Lennon gave the Americans the lead when he alertly pounced on a rebound from Luca de la Torre’s shot in the 40th minute.
U.S. wonderboy Josh Sargent found de la Torre after taking a centering pass from Tyler Adams and when de la Torre’s effort was parried Lennon was first to the loose ball.
The Young Yanks knew that they were set for the KO rounds coming into the game but a win would clinch the top spot in the Group, a task that became much more difficult for the Americans when CCV was shown the line in the 45th minute for what seemed to be a routine challenge.
Led by a captain’s performance by center back Erik Palmer-Brown the U.S. appeared likely to hold out for the victory until Abdulelah Almari lost his mark on a corner kick and powered a header past Jonathan Klinsmann in the U.S. goal in the 74th minute.
EPB was not at fault for the Saudi equalizer and the Sporting KC man stood tall in the closing minutes to assure that his team would emerge with the valuable point, avoiding Mexico and setting up that June 1 showdown with New Zealand.
Also advancing to the Round of 16 were England and South Korea from Group A, Venezuela, Mexico, and Costa Rica from Group B, Group C representatives Zambia, Portugal, and Costa Rica, Uruguay, Italy, and Japan from Group D, undefeated and unscored upon France, as well as New Zealand from Group E, and the U.S. Senegal, and Saudi Arabia from Group F.