USA Aims to Take Down New Zealand in 2017 U-20 World Cup Round of 16 | 7am ET | FS1, Telemundo En Vivo

The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will look to advance to the Quarterfinals of the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup when it meets New Zealand on Thursday, June 1, at Incheon Stadium in Incheon, Korea Republic. The match will be broadcast live on FS1, FOX Sports GO and Telemundo En Vivo with kickoff set for 7:00 a.m. ET. Fans can also follow the match live on twitter at @usscocer_ynt.

The USA finished first in Group F, after tying Ecuador (3-3), handling Senegal (1-0) and drawing its final match to Saudi Arabia (1-1) with ten men for the entire second half. Meanwhile, New Zealand enters the match after finishing second in Group E with a 1-1-1 record, after it drew Vietnam (0-0), beat Honduras (3-1) and lost its final group match to France (0-2).

Three USA players will not be eligible to play against New Zealand, per FIFA’s Yellow card accumulation rule which requires players sit out one game should they accumulate multiple (2) yellow cards before the Quarterfinal stage. Any lingering cautions a player has accumulated from before the Quarterfinals are reset to zero at that stage of the competition.

U.S. defender Aaron Herrera and midfielder Derrick Jones both received their second yellow card of the group stage in the USA’s 1-1 tie against Saudi Arabia. Additionally, defender Cameron Carter-Vickers’ two cautions against Saudi Arabia resulted in his being sent off and a one-game suspension which he will serve when the U.S. meets New Zealand.

Head coach Tab Ramos addressed the holes the team would need to fill after the Saudi Arabia game.

“It’s difficult, anytime you go down a player,” Ramos said. “We lost Gedion (Zelalem) and now we have a few guys suspended but, I believe in this team. So, whoever has an opportunity to play, I'm sure they're going to do a great job and we're ready to go the next game.”

At the 2015 U-20 World Cup in New Zealand, the USA were drawn into Group A, which included the host nation. The pair met in their second group match and, the USA secured their ticket to the Round of 16 by defeating the Junior All Whites 4-0. Bradford Jamieson IV, Emerson Hyndman, Paul Arriola and Rubio Rubin all got on the board for the USA.

MORE: U-20 MNT Punches Ticket to Knock-Out Stage with 4-0 Win Over New Zealand

Thursday’s Round of 16 game vs. New Zealand will mark the fourth time that the USA will enter the initial knockout round as group stage winners. The USA have posted a 2-1 record as group winners in the Round of 16, defeating Ivory Coast (2-0) in 2003 and Uruguay (3-1) in 2007. In 2005 the USA fell 3-1 to Italy after coming out on top of its group.

Overall, the USA has advanced to the initial knockout phase nine times, posting a 4-5 record.

MORE: BOYS TO MEN: U-20 MNT Players Who Went on to Represent the U.S. at the FIFA World Cup

The USA opened its first two Group F games  of the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup at Incheon Stadium before traveling to Daejeon World Cup Stadium in Daejeon, Korea Republic, to close out group play against Saudi Arabia. In total, the USA have fared favorably in Incheon, finding a last second equalizer against Ecuador to start the tournament with a crucial point and later raking in three additional points with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Senegal.

More: De La Torre Equalizer vs. Ecuador Sets U.S. Record for Latest Goal at FIFA U-20 World Cup

The Incheon Football Stadium is located in the Dowon neighborhood of the city’s Jung District. Upon completion in 2012, it became the home ground of K-League heavyweights Incheon United FC. Though the stadium has a relatively modest capacity of 19,649, the distance between the pitch and the stand perimeter is only one meter, allowing for an intimate atmosphere and exceptional match experience. This stadium is unique in that it features a dug-out for the coaching staff and players instead of benches set back from the touchline that are found at other K-League stadiums.

Having been trialed recently by UEFA, a new sequence for penalties should a game still be tied after extra time  will be implemented for the first time at a FIFA youth tournament.

Rather than the traditional sequence, where players from opposing teams take penalties following each other (ABAB), the new process will see that the team taking the first penalty of each round of kicks alternates (ABBA). If both teams are still tied after each team has taken five penalties, the same ABBA order continues into sudden death penalty kicks.

First Five Penalty Kick Rounds:

                                                             Rd 1.    Rd 2.    Rd 3.    Rd. 4    Rd. 5
Traditional: Sequence:           AB       AB       AB       AB       AB
New Sequence:                            AB       BA       AB       BA       AB

After wearing white jerseys in their opening match against Ecuador, the USA donned its all-red kit against Senegal and Saudi Arabia. By wearing the new all red kit, the U-20 MNT was the first U.S. Youth National Team to wear the red jerseys. The side will once again wear the red kit against New Zealand on Thursday.

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

Over the last 10 months, both the U.S. Women’s and Men’s National Teams have faced New Zealand. During an international friendly in October, the MNT drew 1-1 against the Kiwis at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. The WNT were victorious over New Zealand in a critical group game during the 2016 Olympics at Mineirão Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The 2-0 win helped the USA take fist in Group G.

During the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in November, the USA also faced off against New Zealand. In their second game of group play, the USA secured three points after defeating the Oceana Confederation members 3-1.

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.

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.

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.

Of the four CONCACAF teams to originally qualify for the World Cup, only the USA, Mexico and Costa Rica advanced to the Round of 16. Honduras finished last in the ranking of third place teams, just missing out on landing one of top four third place spots that advance to the Round of 16.

New Zealand qualified for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup as winners of the 2016 Oceania Football Confederation U-20 Championship. Myer Bevan was named the best player of the OFC U-20 Championship and was joint top-scorer with five goals.

New Zealand U-20 MNT Roster by Position (Club/ Country)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Michael Woud (Sunderland FC/ENG), Cameron Brown (Waitemata/NZL), Conor Tracey (Three Kings United/NZL)

DEFENDERS (7): Dane Ingham (Brisbane Roar/AUS), Sean Liddicoat (Coastal Spirit/NZL), Luke Johnson (Wellington United/NZL), Hunter Ashworth (University of San Francisco/USA), Reese Cox (East Coast Bays/NZL), Jack-Henry Sinclair (Wellington United/NZL), James McGarry (Wellington Phoenix/NZL)

MIDFIELDERS (5): Moses Dyer, (Northcote City/AUS), Joe Bell, (University of Virginia/USA), Clayton Lewis (Auckland City FC/NZL), Callum McCowatt (Western Suburbs/NZL), Sarpreet Singh (Wellington United/NZL)

FORWARDS (6): Noah Billingsley (University of Santa Barbara/USA), Myer Bevan (Nike Academy/ENG), Logan Rogerson (Wellington Phoenix/NZL), Lucas Imrie (Loyola University Chicago/USA), Connor Probert (University of Kentucky, USA), Henry Cameron (Blackpool FC ENG)

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.

MORE: FIFA U-20 World Cup full match schedule

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 almost 20 set to take part in 2017.