CARSON, California (July 16, 2014) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team won its second game in the 2014 Men’s National Training Center Invitational early Wednesday evening, defeating Bermuda 4-0 on the strength of three first-half goals and a stout defensive performance.
With the win, the U.S. is tied with Australia with six points atop the standings, but holds the top spot on goal differential. The U.S. and Australia square off on Friday at 7 p.m. PT at StubHub Center (live on ussoccer.com) in what has become the deciding game of the NTC Invitational. With the goal differential situation, the USA can win the event with a draw or victory against Australia on Friday.
On Wednesday, the U.S. started off quickly against Bermuda, pressuring from the start and dominating possession for most of the first half. Forwards Andrija Novakovich and Zach Pfeffer were dangerous for the U.S., creating chances early on multiple occasions.
The U.S. broke a scoreless tie in the 27th minute when defender Caleb Smith made his way down the left sideline and fed across the face of the goal, where he found Novakovich alone in front of the goal for the tap in. It was Novakovich’s second goal of the tournament.
Pfeffer converted a penalty kick in the 39th minute to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead after Novakovich was fouled in the box by Bermuda defender Jaylon Bather. Novakovich had the advantage on the defense and was readying himself to shoot as he was taken down, leading to the penalty kick. Pfeffer converted as he placed the ball into the left corner, out of Bermuda goalkeeper Jahquil Hill’s reach.
The U.S. extended the lead to 3-0 in the 45th minute when forward Tommy Thompson, a late addition to the U.S. U-20 MNT roster for this event, took a cross in the middle of the box, dribbled once to his right and fired a shot past Hill and into the right corner of the net.
The second half was comparatively dominant as the U.S. allowed few scoring chances and continued to lead the possession battle. The U-20 MNT picked up its fourth goal in the 85th minute, an own goal, off of a corner kick that ricocheted off the right upright then hit a Bermuda defender and ended up in the back of the net.
The U.S. outshot Bermuda 26-2, including 12 shots on goal, and took 13 corners compared to just three for Bermuda.
Bermuda had its first shot on goal in the 74th minute when Zaire Burchall got behind the U.S. defense and forced U.S. keeper Zack Steffen to come off his line to deflect the shot, which the U.S. defense then booted out of bounds for a Bermuda corner kick.
The NTC Invitational comes to close on Friday, July 18. Bermuda faces Chile at 4 p.m. PT at StubHub Center and the USA takes on Australia at 7 p.m. Both games will be streamed live on ussoccer.com.
-U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team Match Report-
Match: U.S. U-20 MNT vs. Bermuda
Date: July 16, 2014
Competition: 2014 Men’s National Training Center Invitational
Venue: U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center, “Mooch” Myernick Field; Carson, California
Kickoff: 4 p.m. PT
Weather: Clear, 80 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 3 1 4
Bermuda 0 0 0
USA – Andrija Novakovich (Caleb Smith) 27th minute
USA – Zach Pfeffer (penalty) 39
USA – Tommy Thompson 45
USA – Own goal 85
USA: 1-Zach Steffen; 13-Chris Odoi-Atsem, 4-Conor Donovan (5-Michael Amick, 46), 17-Jesus Vasquez, 20-Caleb Smith; 24-Tommy Thompson (9-Benji Lopez, 64), 14-Jacori Hayes, 15-Marco Delgado (capt.) (6-Russell Canouse, 64), 11-Zach Pfeffer (2-John Requejo Jr., 73); 10-Romain Gall (16-Fernando Arce, 64), 19-Andrija Novakovich (8-Lynden Gooch, 79)
Subs Not Used: 3-Shaquell Moore, 7-Paul Arriola, 12-Santiago Castano
Head Coach: Tab Ramos
BER: 1-Jahquil Hill; 6-Dakai Grant, 16-Jaylon Bather (10-Rai Simons, 52), 3-Terrance Webb, 20-Mauriq Hill (2-Oliver Harvey, 61); 19-Jair Minors (7-Jaz Ratteray Smith, 52; 11-Chae Brangman, 81), 4-William White, 17-Willie Clemens, 18-Lejuan Simmons (capt.) (8-Jibri Lawrence Salaam, 52); 9-Zaire Burchall, 15-Zeiko Lewis (5-Alanzo Parson, 81)
Subs Not Used: 12-Detre Bell, 14-Shakeem Albouy, 21-Neildante Smith
Stats Summary: USA / BER
Shots: 26 / 2
Shots on Goal: 12 / 2
Saves: 2 / 9
Corner Kicks: 13 / 3
Fouls: 13 / 12
Offside: 2 / 2
BER – Lejuan Simmons (caution) 42nd minute
Referee: Victor Rivas (USA)
Assistant Referee: Ramon Bermudez (USA)
Assistant Referee: Eduardo Mariscal (USA)
Fourth Official: Nima Saghafi (USA)