BIELSKO-BIALA, Poland (May 24, 2019) — The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team dropped its opening match of the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup 2-1 to Ukraine after fighting back to equalize in the first half through a strike from Brandon Servania. The U.S. will next face Group D leaders Nigeria, who beat Qatar 4-0 earlier in the day, on Monday, May 27 at 2:30 p.m. ET (FS1, Universo).
The USA carried play throughout the day, ultimately accruing 66 percent possession and an 83 percent pass completion rate on more than twice the number of passes: 597 to 295. Although Ukraine ceded much of the ball to the U.S., they were dangerous on the counter and struck first in the 26th minute when Serhii Buletsa capitalized on a long ball over the top by screening off his defender and hitting a low volley from just inside the box inside the near left post.
Undaunted, the U.S. stuck to its attacking game plan and found pay dirt in the 32nd minute as Brandon Servania capped off a flowing team move that saw the USA scythe through Ukraine’s midfield before the ball came out wide to Tim Weah who hit a smart, low cross into the six-yard box for Servania to tap in.
Entering the second half tied at one goal apiece, both teams probed for the go-ahead goal with Ukraine hitting the cross bar and Alex Mendez, a long-range threat throughout the game, forcing an excellent save from Andriy Lunin in the Ukraine goal.
In the 51st minute, Denys Popov headed home what would be the game winner on a corner kick.
Searching for a second equalizer, U.S. head coach Tab Ramos made all three subs beginning with an attack-minded change in the 66th minute when Sebastian Soto came on for Servania. The potent U.S. attack that had outscored opponents 46-2 in World Cup qualifying was blunted by a physical and well-organized Ukraine defense that consistently brought 10 players behind the ball to defend its lead. A Mendez shot that hit the base of the left post in the final 15 minutes illustrated the fine margins of the game.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
UKR – Serhii Buletsa (Heorhii Tsitaishvili), 26th minute: A long, cross field ball from Tsitaishvili over the top of the U.S. defense helped Buletsa screen off his defender and take a touch toward goal before smashing a low shot from just inside the box past on-rushing U.S. goalkeeper Brady Scott into the bottom left corner for the game’s opening goal. USA 0, UKR 1
USA – Brandon Servania (Tim Weah), 32nd minute: An intricate series of passes took the USA right through Ukraine’s midfield to the edge of the penalty area before Sergino Dest played the ball into the left side of the box for Weah, who cut a nice cross low through the six yard box to the onrushing Servania to tap into the center of the net.
UKR – Denys Popov (Serhii Buletsa), 51st minute: Ukraine earned a corner via a thwarted counter attack and Buletsa drove the ball toward the penalty spot where Popov rose above the U.S. defense and guided his header through traffic to the right side of the goal for the game winner. USA 1, UKR 2 FINAL
- Brandon Servania’s goal marked his third in nine appearances with the U-20 MNT.
- Starting at center forward, Tim Weah made his first appearance at the U-20 level.
- The game marked Alex Mendez’s 16th U-20 cap, the most on the team.
- Three players that started the USA’s 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup opening match also started tonight’s U-20 World Cup opener: Chris Durkin, Chris Gloster and Tim Weah.
- Tonight’s game featured a match-up between the youngest (USA) and the oldest (Ukraine) teams by average age in Group D.
- The top two teams in each of the six groups advance to the Round of 16, plus the four best-ranked third-placed teams.
- U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. U-20 MNT vs. Ukraine
Date: May 24, 2019
Competition: 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup – Group D
Venue: Bielsko-Biala Stadium; Bielsko-Biala, Poland
Kick-off: 8:30 p.m. CET / 2:30 p.m. ET
Weather: 55 degrees; Mostly sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
UKR 1 1 2
UKR – Serhii Buletsa (Heorhii Tsitaishvili) 26th minute
USA – Brandon Servania (Tim Weah) 32
UKR – Denys Popov (Serhii Buletsa) 51
USA: 1-Brady Scott; 2-Sergino Dest, 5-Chris Richards, 13-Aboubacar Keita, 3-Christopher Gloster (15-Matt Real, 69); 16-Brandon Servania (9-Sebastian Soto, 66), 6-Chris Durkin, 10-Paxton Pomykal (capt.); 17-Konrad De la Fuente (19-Justin Rennicks, 84), 11-Tim Weah, 8-Alex Mendez
Subs not used: 4-Mark McKenzie, 7-Julian Araujo, 12-David Ochoa, 14-Edwin Cerrillo, 18-Ulysses Llanez, 20-Richard Ledezma, 21-CJ Dos Santos
Head Coach: Tab Ramos
UKR: 1-Andriy Lunin; 17-Yukhym Konoplia, 4-Denys Popov, 2-Valerii Bondar (c), 13-Danylo Beskorovainyi, 9-Viktor Korniienko; 7-Heorhii Tsitaishvili (21-Oleksii Kashchuk 78), 16-Mykola Musolitin, 8-Oleksiy Khakhlov (6-Maksym Chekh, 86), 10-Serhii Buletsa (18-Denys Ustymenko, 75); 11-Vladyslav Supriaha
Subs not used: 3-Oleksandr Safranov, 5-Oleg Veremiyenko, 12-Vladyslav Kucheruk, 14-Danylo Sikan, 15-Kyrylo Dryshliuk, 19-Ihor Snurnitsyn, 20-Dmytro Riznky,
Head Coach: Oleksandr Petrakov
Statistical Summary: USA / UKR
Shots: 10 / 8
Shots on Goal: 5/3
Saves: 1 / 4
Corner Kicks: 3 / 6
Fouls: 13 / 16
Offside: 1 / 0
UKR – Heorhii Tsitaishvili (caution) 9th minute
UKR – Mykola Musolitin (caution) 22
USA – Alex Mendez (caution) 50
UKR – Valerii Bondar (caution) 60
USA – Chris Durkin (caution) 76
Referee: Maguette Ndiaye (SEN)
Assistant: Elvis Noupue (CMR)
Assistant: Seydou Tiama (BFA)4th Official: Pacifique Ndabihawenimana (BDI)