USA Looks to Clinch Group vs. Saudi Arabia | 5am ET | FS1, Telemundo

Watch the U.S. U-20 Men's National Team take on Saudi Arabia on Sunday at 5 a.m. ET on FS1 and Telemundo.

The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team continues the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup with its third and final Group F game against Saudi Arabia on Sunday, May 28. The match kicks off at Daejeon World Cup Stadium in Daejeon, Korea Republic at 5 a.m. ET and will be broadcast on FS1 and Telemundo. Fans can also follow along on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.

After a wild, opening 3-3 draw vs. Ecuador and a strong 1-0 victory against Senegal on Thursday, the U.S. sits atop Group F with four points. While results in Saturday’s matches could see the U.S. through to the Round of 16 before it faces Saudi Arabia, Tab Ramos’ side enters Sunday needing a win or tie to guarantee a second-place finish in the group. Through a variety of scenarios, the U.S. could potentially finish second or third in Group F with a loss and still advance to the Round of 16.

“We know that we control our own destiny,” U.S. U-20 head coach Tab Ramos said. “If we win the next game, we are first in the group. That doesn’t happen very often, so we’ll be happy to do that.”

Saudi Arabia comes into the match with three points after splitting their first two Group F contests. The Green Falcons opened group play with a 2-0 loss to Senegal before bouncing back with a stunning 2-1 win against South American power Ecuador. With a win vs. the USA, Saudi Arabia would guarantee its advancement to the Round of 16.

2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup Group F Standings

Team

GP

W

L

D

Pts.

GF

GA

GD

USA

2

1

0

1

4

4

3

+1

Senegal

2

1

1

0

3

2

1

+1

Saudi Arabia

2

1

1

0

3

2

3

-1

Ecuador

2

0

1

1

1

4

5

-1

2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup Group Pairings:
Group A: Korea Republic (host), Guinea, Argentina, England
Group B: Venezuela, Germany, Vanuatu, Mexico
Group C: Zambia, Portugal, Iran, Costa Rica
Group D: South Africa, Japan, Italy, Uruguay
Group E: France, Honduras, Vietnam, New Zealand
Group F: Ecuador, USA, Saudi Arabia, Senegal

U.S. U-20 MNT’s Group F Schedule:
May 22, 4 a.m. ET: Ecuador 3, USA 3; Incheon Stadium, Incheon
May 25, 7 a.m. ET: Senegal 0, USA 1; Incheon Stadium, Incheon
May 28, 5 a.m. ET: USA vs. Saudi Arabia; Daejeon World Cup Stadium, Daejeon

RED HOT JOSH SARGENT

After becoming the youngest U.S. player to score at a FIFA U-20 World Cup (beating out current Men’s National Team striker Jozy Altidore for the distinction), Josh Sargent continued his role as designated scorer vs. Senegal by burying the game’s only goal on Thursday. Heading into Sunday’s group finale, Sargent’s three strikes place him one behind Venezuela’s Sergio Córdova for the tournament’s Golden Boot lead. 

Sargent also sits one goal behind Taylor Twellman (1999), Eddie Johnson (2003) and Jozy Altidore (2007) for most goals scored by a U.S. player (four) at a single FIFA U-20 World Cup.

A SEA OF RED RETURNS

After wearing white jerseys in their opening match against Ecuador, the USA donned its all-red kit against Senegal. The wardrobe change marked the U-20 MNT as the first U.S. Youth National Team, to wear the red jerseys, and the side will once again wear the red kit against Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

The newer look was first revealed by U.S. Soccer at midnight on Valentine’s Day earlier this year and debuted by the senior U.S. Women’s National Team when they defeated Germany 1-0 in the opening match of the 2017 SheBelieves Cup on March 1. The U.S. Men’s National Team first wore red in a 6-0 World Cup Qualifying win against Honduras on May 24.

U.S. U-20 MNT Roster by Position (Club; Hometown)

GOALKEEPERS (3): Jonathan Klinsmann (University of California; Newport Beach, Calif.), J.T. Marcinkowski (Georgetown; Alamo, Calif.), Brady Scott (De Anza Force; Petaluma, Calif.)

DEFENDERS (7): Danny Acosta (Real Salt Lake; Salt Lake City, Utah), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur FC; Westcliff-on-Sea, England), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake; Tucson, Ariz.), Aaron Herrera (University of New Mexico; Las Cruces, N.M.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City; Lee's Summit, Mo.), Tommy Redding (Orlando City SC; Oviedo, Fla.), Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union; Media, Pa.)

MIDFIELDERS (5): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls; Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), Luca de la Torre (Fulham FC; San Diego, Calif.), Derrick Jones (Philadelphia Union; Philadelphia, Pa.), Eryk Williamson (University of Maryland; Alexandria, Va.), Gedion Zelalem (Arsenal FC; Bethesda, Md.)*

FORWARDS (6): Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers; Bethesda, Md.), Lagos Kunga (Atlanta United FC Academy; Tucker, Ga.) Brooks Lennon (Real Salt Lake; Paradise Valley, Ariz.), Emmanuel Sabbi (Unattached; Columbus, Ohio), Josh Sargent (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri; O'Fallon, Mo.), Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake; Park City, Utah)

*Gedion Zelalem suffered a knee injury during the USA’s opening match against Ecuador and has been ruled out for the remainder of the tournament.


Saudi Arabia U-20 MNT Roster by Position (Club)

GOALKEEPERS (3): Amin Albukhari (Al-Ittihad FC), Saleh Alohaymid (Al Nassr FC), Mohammed Alyami (Al Ahli SC)

DEFENDERS (6): Abdulelah Alamri (Al Nassr FC), Mohammad Albassas (Al Ahli SC), Awn Alsaluli (Al-Ittihad FC), Hassan Altambakti (Al Shabab FC), Mohammed Alzubaidi (Al Ittifaq FC), Anas Zabbani (Al Hilal SFC)

MIDFIELDERS (10): Ali Alasmari (Al Ahli SC), Nasser Aldawsari (Al Hilal SFC), Abdulrahman Aldosari (Al Nassr FC), Yousef Alharbi (Al Ahli SC), Ayman Alkhulaif (Al Ahli SC), Sami Alnaji (Al Nassr FC), Hassan Alqayd (Al Shabab FC), Fahad Alrashidi (Al Hilal SFC), Khalid Alsaamiri (Al-Ittihad FC), Naif Kireiri (Al Hilal SFC)

FORWARDS (2): Mansour Almuwallad (Al Ahli SC), Abdulrahman Alyami (Al Hilal SFC)

USA ROSTER’S PREVIOUS WORLD CUP EXPERIENCE

Six players from the USA’s 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup roster have previous youth World Cup experience. From the USA’s 2015 U-17 World Cup squad: defender Auston Trusty as well as midfielders Luca de la Torre and Tyler Adams took part in the USA’s trip to Chile. Returning from the USA’s 2015 U-20 World Cup quarterfinal finish in New Zealand are defenders Erik Palmer-Brown, Cameron Carter-Vickers, and midfielder *Gedion Zelalem.

U-20 WORLD CUP HISTORY

The U.S. is making its 15th appearance at a U-20 World Cup and ninth in the last 10 cycles.

The USA’s best performance came when they finished fourth at the 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship in Saudi Arabia. Future MNT goalkeeper Kasey Keller backstopped the side in that tournament, earning the Silver Ball as the competition’s second best player.

The U.S. has run to the quarterfinals four times: 1993, 2003, 2007 and most recently in 2015. Two years ago U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos’ side earned group stage wins against Myanmar (2-1) and New Zealand (4-0) before defeating Colombia 1-0 in the quarterfinals. The side saw their tournament run end in heartbreaking fashion as they fell 6-5 on penalty kicks after playing eventual champions Serbia to a 0-0 draw.

Saudi Arabia is making their eighth appearance at the U-20 World Cup, and first since 2011.  The Green Falcons’ best finish also came in 2011 when they made it to the Round of 16. After two shutout wins against Croatia and Guatemala helped the team earn a second place finish in the group stage, Saudi Arabia was drawn with eventual World Cup winners Brazil, to whom they fell 3-0.

HOW THEY GOT HERE

The USA capped its qualifying run at the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship with five-straight wins. After opening the tournament with a 1-0 loss against Panama, the team went on to defeat Haiti and St. Kitts and Nevis by matching 4-1 score lines, earning first place in Group B and advancement to the classification stage. There, the U-20 MNT used a 29th minute header from Erik-Palmer Brown to earn a 1-0 victory against rivals Mexico, breaking El Trí’s 20-match unbeaten streak at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship.

Ramos’ side followed up that victory with a 2-1 win against El Salvador to punch its ticket to Korea Republic and also advance to the tournament final against Honduras, where the team won 5-4 on penalty kicks after a 0-0 deadlock.

Saudi Arabia qualified by finishing as the runner-up at the 2016 Asian Football Confederation U-19 Championship in Bahrain. Drawn into Group A, Saudi Arabia finished second in the four-team group to advance to the Quarterfinals, where they played to a 2-2 draw with Iraq before winning 6-5 on penalty kicks to advance to the Semifinals and simultaneously clinch a spot at the World Cup. Saudi Arabia won a wild Semifinal encounter with Iran, 6-5, to advance to the Final, where they played to a 0-0 draw with Japan before falling 5-3 on penalty kicks. 

DAEJEON WORLD CUP STADIUM

After facing Ecuador and Senegal in its first two Group F games at Incheon Football Stadium in Incheon, the USA’s third and final group match against will be played at Daejeon World Cup Stadium in Daejeon, Korea Republic.

Located in the Yoosung neighborhood of western Daejeon, the Daejeon World Cup Stadium holds 39,654 spectators. At the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the stadium was the site of the USA’s third group game against Poland, where current U-20 MNT assistant coach Brad Friedel set a tournament record by saving his second penalty kick of the group stage. The stadium also famously witnessed striker Ahn Jung-hwan score the golden goal in Korea Republic’s 2-1 Round of 16 win against More recently, supporters of its resident club, Daejeon Citizen FC, have nicknamed it “The Purple Arena.”

TOURNAMENT FORMAT

The 2017 tournament begins in a group stage, with 24 nations split into six four-team groups. After the initial round-robin schedule, the top two teams from each group, plus the four best third-place teams, will advance to the Round of 16, where the single-elimination knockout games begin. After the Semifinals, the winning teams play for the World Cup, while the two losing teams will compete in the Third-Place Match. In total, 52 games will be played to decide the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup champion.

VIDEO ASSISTANT REFEREE

FIFA referees will be using a video assistant referee (VAR) system for the first time at an underage event during the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

The tournament is set to play an important role in developing the future of the game with live VAR tests taking place at all 52 games and six venues, being used to support referees with ‘match-changing’ decisions. These include serious incidents such as goals, penalty decisions, direct red cards and cases of mistaken identity.

VARs will be given access to all broadcast feeds inside a video operations room, enabling them to provide information to the referee on the field of play in order to correct any clear mistakes in these situations.

The VARs will play a supporting role along with the assistant referees and the fourth official, but the referee will continue to make the first as well as the final decision on the field of play.

The system was first trialed at a FIFA tournament during the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2016 last December and has since seen testing conducted in competitions around the world – with