Valiant U-20 MNT Effort Comes Up Short in PK Loss to Serbia

Zack Steffen Saves Pair of Penalty Kicks, but Serbia Outlasts USA in Shootout

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (June 14, 2015) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team saw its run in the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup come to an end at North Harbour Stadium after falling in penalty kicks to Serbia. The game went scoreless through regulation and extra time, but Serbia ultimately prevailed with a 6-5 shootout victory to advance to the semifinals.

Stout defensive performances from both sides limited scoring opportunities to a premium and the result was a 0-0 game when the whistle blew to signal the end of regulation. In extra time, play opened up, but valiant efforts from USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen and Serbian goalie Predrag Rajkovic held the 0-0 score line through the additional 30 minutes.

After a back and forth affair, where both the U.S. and Serbia survived must-make and must-save scenarios, it was Nemanja Maksimovic who sent a rocket of a PK into the upper left corner to propel Serbia on to the next round of the tournament.

The semifinal round will be played on Wednesday, June 17, at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand, where Serbia faces Mali and Brazil takes on Senegal.  

Goal Scoring Rundown:
None

Penalty Kick Summary:
USA: Rubio Rubin stepped up first for the U.S. and had his shot saved by Predrag Rajkovic. Desevio Payne sent a rocket into the left side on the USA’s next attempt to level 1-1. Paul Arriola punched in the third attempt by smashing in a shot to the left of the goalie. The captain, Emerson Hyndman ripped in attempt No. 4 to put the U.S. up 3-2. Gedion Zelalem sent in his PK into the right side for the fourth-straight score for the USA. Joel Soñora went for the upper right corner on U.S. attempt No. 5 but hit his shot off the post. Marko Delgado rolled in the next attempt to put the U.S. up 5-4. Cameron Carter-Vickers then sent his shot over the bar, and in the final round, John Requejo’s attempt was saved by Rajkovic.
SRB: Sasa Zdjelar followed the Rubin miss by blasting his PK into the top right to put Serbia up 1-0. Stanisa Mandic missed the target completely on the Serbians’ second attempt, which kept the score level at 1-1. Steffen guessed right on Srdan Babic’s attempt, Serbia’s third, but it rolled under him to level at 2-2. Marko Grujic hit in the fourth attempt to tie it 3-3. Andrija Zivkovic scored the must-make fifth attempt to keep Serbia alive. Predag Rajkovic called his own number for Serbia’s sixth attempt, which could’ve been the game-winner, but Steffen made a diving save to preserve U.S. hopes. Nemanja Antonov converted the next Serbia penalty to level 5-5. On Serbia’s next PK Steffen came up big again to keep the U.S. alive when he saved Milos Veljkovic’s shot. Nemanja Maksimovic sent a rocket into the upper left corner and out of Steffen’s reach to win the game for Serbia 6-5.

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Zack Steffen, 38th minute: Serbia’s Nemanja Antonov received a pass at the top of the box and decided to promptly rip a shot from 20 yards out. The left footed strike spun and rose from right to left and Steffen jumped and bumped it over the bar.

USA – Cameron Carter-Vickers, 54th minute: Good movement off the ball from Serbia led the team into a dangerous area in the penalty box. Serbia attempted a cross in front of goal, but Cameron Carter-Vickers stepped in just in time and cleared it far and away to safety.

USA – Zack Steffen, 68th minute: A foul set up Serbia with a free kick from 24 yards out, a range that they had buried from earlier in the tournament. Gacinovic’s strike was low and hard and bent toward the lower left corner of goal. Steffen dove and just reached the ball, knocking it out of bounds and preserving the clean sheet.

USA – Zack Steffen 82rd minute: Serbia once again attacked from the left and Stanisa Mandic freed himself up for a shot from the left. He sent a rocket of a shot across the mouth of the goal and towards the upper right corner, but Steffen made a diving save away where it was picked up by a U.S. defender

USA-Zack Steffen Penalty Kick Shootout: On two separate occasions where a Serbia goal would have ended the game, Steffen came up big, both times diving to his right and saving to keep U.S. hopes alive.

Additional Notes:

-U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Match Report-

Match: U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team vs. Serbia U-20 Men’s National Team
Date: June 14, 2015
Competition: 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup New Zealand; Quarterfinals
Venue: North Harbour Stadium; Auckland, New Zealand
Kickoff: 12:30 a.m. ET
Attendance: 10,826
Weather: 56 degrees, wind and rain

Scoring Summary:   1          2          ET1     ET2     F
USA    0          0          0          0          0
SRB      0          0          0          0          0

Penalty Kick Summary:
USA – Rubio Rubín (saved), Desevio Payne (goal), Paul Arriola (goal), Emerson Hyndman (goal), Gedion Zelalem (goal), Joel Soñora (missed), Marco Delgado (goal), Cameron Carter-Vickers (missed), John Requejo (saved)

SRB - Sasa Zdjelar (goal), Stanisa Mandic (missed), Srdan Babic (goal), Marko Grujic (goal), Andrija Zivkovic (goal), Predag Rajkovic (saved), Nemanja Antonov (goal), Milos Veljkovic (saved), Nemanja Maksimovic (goal)

Lineups:
USA: 1-Zack Steffen; 17-Desavio Payne, 4-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 5-Matt Miazga 3-John Requejo; 15-Marky Delgado, 8-Emerson Hyndman (capt.), 19-Gedion Zelalem, 7-Paul Arriola; 13-Tommy Thompson (10-Joel Soñora, 103), 9-Rubio Rubin
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Thomas Olsen, 21-Jeff Caldwell, 2-Shaquell Moore, 11-Bradford Jamieson IV, 16-Conor Donovan, 18-Erik Palmer-Brown
Head coach: Tab Ramos

SRB: 1-Predag Rajkovic (capt.); 3-Nemanja Antonov, 4-Sasa Zdjelar, 5-Milos Veljkovic, 6-Srdan Babic; 8-Nemanja Maksimovic, 9-Stanisa Mandic, 10-Mijat Gacinovic (7-Ivan Saponic, 68), 11-Andrija Zivkovic; 15-Miladin Stevanovic, 20-Sergej Milinkovic (16-Marko Grujic, 111)
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Filip Manojlovic, 21-Vanja Milinkovic, 13-Stefan Milosevic, 14-Vukasin Jovanovic, 17-Radovan Pankov, 18-Jankovic, 19-Stefan Ilic.
Head coach: Veljko Paunovic (SRB)

Stats Summary: USA / SRB
Shots: 8 / 19
Shots on Goal: 2 / 5
Saves: 5 / 2
Corner Kicks: 3 / 7
Fouls: 22 / 27
Offside: 1 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
SRB – Nemanja Antonov (caution)    64th minute
USA – John Requejo (caution)           66
SRB – Stanisa Mandic  (caution)       78

Officials:
Referee: Artur Dias (POR)
Assistant Referee 1: Rui Barbosa (POR)
Assistant Referee 2: Alvaro Daniel Carvalho Mesquita (POR)
Fourth Official: Ricardo Marques (BRA)

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: TBA