USMNT U-20’s Advance to Quarterfinals for First Time Since 2007

IMAGE, MLSSOCCER.COM

by DENY GALLAGHER
USMNT Beat Writer

It was put up or shut up time for the U-20s on Wednesday night in New Zealand, as the United States advanced to the Quarterfinals of the World Cup after a scrappy 1-0 victory over Colombia.

The lone goal of the contest came courtesy of a Rubio Rubin volley that ultimately was enough to see Tab Ramos’ side through to the next round.

However, the United States was not able to get out of the match unscathed as LA Galaxy product Bradford Jamieson IV would leave the match and be taken to the hospital with a head contusion.

It was a game that had a bite to it right from the very start, as the teams moved the ball from end to end in an attempt to enforce their will on the game.

In the fourth minute, Bradford Jamieson would go down and require immediate attention. Play was halted for about eight minutes as the medical staff did their best to attend to the player. In the 12th minute, Jordan Allen entered the match for his injured teammate.

When play resumed, both teams continued to press high on up the field and create chances, with Colombia getting the better of possession.

The entertaining opening stanza came to a close with the teams locked in a scoreless draw.

The second half started with Colombia looking the more dangerous of the two sides. In the 50th minute of the match, goalkeeper Zack Steffen was called into action to make a point blank save. His duty in the second half was just getting started.

The match was altered in the 59th minute courtesy of Rubio Rubin. After Emerson Hyndman won a 50/50 ball 10 yards outside of the penalty area, the header found the feet of Paul Arriola. The Tijuana striker settled the ball with a touch, before firing the volley on goal. The shot deflected, but not out of harms way, as Rubin stepped up and struck the rebound. The Utrecht product’s strike sailed into the back of the net to put the United States up 1-0 after an hour of play.

The Colombians were slightly rattled after the goal, which some may argue came against the run of play. For the next 10 minutes, the United States held possession, and was able to move deep into the final third.

The South American side was able to get hold of the game once more, and nearly found an equalizer.

In the 81st minute, Kellyn Acosta made a challenge on Colombia’s Rodin Quinones just inside the right side of the penalty area. The attacker would go to ground and the referee awarded the penalty kick. Acosta picked up his second yellow card of the match to give Colombia a man advantage for the rest of the contest. Up stepped Jarlan Barrera to take the kick, going right on the shot which was well read by Steffen, who punched the effort to safety to keep the United States minutes from advancing.

Barrera would have another attempt just minutes later to get the equalizer, but a header by Paul Arriola would keep the U.S. advantage in tact.

When the final whistle blew, the United States was through the Quarterfinal of the 2015 U-20 World Cup for the first time since 2007.

The matchup is set for Sunday at 12:30 am ET against Serbia. The game can be seen on Fox Sports 1 and NBC Universio.