MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (Jan. 24, 2015) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team clinched a spot at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup with a 2-0 victory against El Salvador in its playoff match at the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.
Ben Spencer scored a first-half goal and Paul Arriola added a tally in the second half to help the USA advance to its 14th appearance at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, which takes place May 30-June 20 in New Zealand. The tournament draw will be held Feb. 10. With the win, the USA earns third place for the qualifying tournament.
The U.S. U-20 MNT capped off the tournament with four straight shutout victories to clinch its World Cup berth. Goalkeeper Zack Steffen came up with a clutch penalty kick save early in the second half against El Salvador to maintain the USA’s one-goal lead at the time.
Earlier Saturday, Honduras defeated Guatemala 2-1 in the other playoff match to clinch a World Cup berth. Later Saturday, Group A winner Panama and Group B winner Mexico competed in the title match of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship. Mexico earned its 13th CONCACAF title at this age group, defeating Panama 4-2 in a shootout after playing to a 1-1 score line in regulation. Heading into the match, both teams clinched a berth to the U-20 World Cup by winning their respective groups.
Romain Gall scored five goals in the tournament and shared the golden boot honors with Mexico's Hirving Lozano. Gall and Shaquell Moore were also named to the CONCACAF U-20 Championship All-Tournament Team. The USA as a group won the tournament's Fair Play award.
Sixteen of the 24 spots are now set for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup:
- CONCACAF (4): Mexico, Panama, Honduras, USA
- AFC (4): Korea DPR, Myanmar, Qatar, Uzbekistan
- CAF (4): Teams qualify from the 2015 African U-20 Championship
- CONMEBOL (4): Teams will qualify from the 2015 South American Youth Championship
- OFC (2): Fiji, New Zealand (host)
- UEFA (6): Austria, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Serbia, Ukraine
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Ben Spencer, 37th minute: After a slow first half that featured just one USA shot up to that point, the USA capitalized on a set piece. Emerson Hyndman took his free kick from the right side and found Spencer in the middle of the box, Spencer’s header struck off of the crossbar. The U.S. striker followed his own rebound, heading the ball back in from eight yards out into the upper left corner of the frame for his second goal of the tournament. USA 1, SLV 0
USA – Paul Arriola, 68th minute: Second-half sub Junior Flores had an immediate impact with the attack down the right side of the box, dribbling near the end line and crossing in for Bradford Jamieson IV who one-timed his shot. Carlos Cañas reacted to make the save, and the ball bounced to Arriola above the box. Arriola followed with a left-footed shot that trickled past two El Salvador defenders and Cañas and into the net for his first goal of the tournament. USA 2, SLV 0 (FINAL)
Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
SLV – Carlos Cañas, 13th minute: El Salvador’s defense had to back track on a USA counter attack, led by Emerson Hyndman’s through ball to Romain Gall. Gall’s touch was a tad too heavy and Cañas read the sequence well, rushing up from his line and disrupting the U.S. offense near the top of the box to clear before Gall could get a shot off.
USA – Zack Steffen, 52nd minute: El Salvador did not have a single shot through the first half, but the team earned a penalty kick chance when the USA committed a hand ball in the box. Jose Villavicencio went to the spot, and Steffen dove to his right for his biggest save of the tournament. El Salvador did have a corner kick chance afterward, but the U.S. eventually cleared.
SLV – Carlos Cañas, 62nd minute: Off of Emerson Hyndman’s free kick from the right, he drove the ball over to a lunging Matt Miazga who headed the ball from 10 yards out. Cañas deflected the shot just enough as the ball clanked off of the crossbar.
- The USA moved to 4-3-1 all-time against El Salvador in this tournament. Saturday’s win also marked the third time in the past seven CONCACAF U-20 Championships that the U.S. directly clinched a FIFA U-20 World Cup spot by virtue of a victory against El Salvador. The previous meetings clinched berths to the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship and the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup .
- For a third straight game, U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos went with the identical lineup as the USA’s Group A wins against Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago.
- Zack Steffen earned his fourth cap of the event with the start in goal.
- The defense featured John Requejo at left back, Shaquell Moore at right back and the center back combination of Cameron Carter-Vickers and Matt Miazga.
- The midfield of the USA’s 4-4-2 formation included Tommy Thompson on the right, Romain Gall on the left, Russell Canouse at defensive midfield and Emerson Hyndman in the attacking role. Canouse wore the captain’s armband for the fourth time in the tournament.
- Ben Spencer and Bradford Jamieson IV were paired up front together for a fourth-straight match.
- During a 42nd-minute attacking sequence, Spencer collided with El Salvador goalkeeper Carlos Cañas, forcing medical staff to take a look at his leg. Spencer was able to trudge through the remainder of the half, but Ramos utilized his team’s first substitution to open the second half, bringing in Paul Arriola.
- Junior Flores entered the match in the 62nd minute for Gall, the USA’s leading goal scorer with five tallies in the tournament.
- The USA’s final substitution was Lynden Gooch for Hyndman, who was receiving attention from the medical staff shortly after the U-20 MNT’s second goal.
- El Salvador played the final 12 minutes and stoppage time down a man when Andres Flores was called for an intentional foul from behind against the USA’s Junior Flores in the 79th minute.
- The USA outscored its opponents 14-2 during the qualifying stage.
- Hyndman led the team with three assists.
- Carter-Vickers and Requejo played in all 540 minutes of six games at the tournament.
- Heading into Saturday night’s final of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, Gall is tied with Mexico’s Hirving Lozano for the tournament goal-scoring lead with his five goals.
- Gall has nine-career goals with the U-20s in 14 international matches.
- U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Match Report -
U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team vs. El Salvador
Date: Jan. 24, 2015
Competition: 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship; Playoff
Venue: Montego Bay Sports Complex; Montego Bay, Jamaica
Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET
Weather: 81 degrees, light rain
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 1 2
SLV 0 0 0
USA – Ben Spencer 37th minute
USA – Paul Arriola 68
USA: 1-Zack Steffen, 2-Shaquell Moore, 3-John Requejo Jr., 4-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 5-Matt Miazga; 16-Russell Canouse (capt.), 8-Emerson Hyndman (18-Lynden Gooch, 70), 9-Romain Gall (10-Junior Flores, 62), 11-Tommy Thompson, 19-Bradford Jamieson IV, 20-Ben Spencer (7-Paul Arriola, 46)
Subs Not Used: 12-Ethan Horvath, 13-Tyler Turner, 14-Conor Donovan, 15-Fernando Arce, 17-Amando Moreno
Head coach: Tab Ramos
1-Carlos Cañas; 2-Nelson Moreno, 4-Bryan Tamacas, 12-Cesar Flores (20-Romilio Hernandez, 46), 17-Juan Barahona; 6-Narciso Orellana (capt.), 8-Alvaro
Guardado (16-Eduardo Merino, 65), 9-Byan Perez, 11-Jose Villavicencio (19-Julio Amaya, 85), 14-Andres Flores; 15-William Canales
Subs Not Used: 5-Edwin Cuellar, 10-Josue Martinez, 13-Jonathan Miranda, 18-Nicolas Pacheco
Head coach: Mauricio Alfaro
Stats Summary: USA / SLV
Shots: 9 / 5
Shots on Goal: 3 / 2
Saves: 2 / 1
Corner Kicks: 6 / 2
Fouls: 25 / 17
Offside: 2 / 0
USA – Ben Spencer (caution) 38th minute
SLV – Narciso Orellana (caution) 38
SLV – Eduardo Merino (caution) 71
USA – Tommy Thompson (caution) 73
USA – Cameron Carter-Vickers (caution) 76
SLV – Andres Flores (sent off) 79
Referee: Fernando Guerrero (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Rangel (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Garnet Page (JAM)
Fourth Official: John Pitti (PAN)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Emerson Hyndman