The U.S. avoided the fate of Mexico, clinching qualification to the U20 World Cup in Egypt with a 2-0 victory over El Salvador.
Unlike Mexico, which shockingly failed to advance out of their group, the U.S. only had a slight bit of trouble with a scoreless draw versus Honduras in their previous match.
Although the U.S. had avoided conceding any goals, there was still a slight chance of elimination in the final game versus El Salvador.
"Even though we only needed a tie tonight, we wanted to be aggressive," said U.S. Under-20 head coach Thomas Rongen.
Yet the U-20 team assured their passage to the World Cup in Egypt by scoring two first-half goals.
Brek Shea struck for the opener in the 31st, which came courtesy of an assist from Brian Ownby.
Tony Taylor stuck for the game's final goal ten minutes later, with Peri Marosevic playing provider on the assist.
"We did a very good job in the first half of playing together and scoring the two goals," added Rongen. "We played three tough games and put ourselves in a position to get to Egypt, which we did. We were able to determine our own fate in this game and I couldn’t be happier with this team as they showed a lot of character through some adversity tonight."
The second half, though scoreless, contained plenty of drama as Shea received a second yellow card and left the U.S. team a man down. The problem was compounded when Jorge Flores saw red near the close of the game.
Still, the U.S. team was able to hold on. Coach Thomas Rongen and his players are now assured of U20 World Cup participation.
USA: 24-Brian Perk; 4-Sheanon Williams, 22-Gale Agbossoumonde, 2-Kyle Davies (capt.),11-Jorge Flores; 15-Brian Ownby, 8-Jared Jeffrey, 10-Dilly Duka (5-Aaron Maund, 82), 23-Brek Shea; 9-Peri Marosevic (7-Danny Cruz, 69), 14-Sam Garza (13-Tony Taylor, 21)
Subs not used: 1-Sean Johnson, 6-Amobi Okugo, 18-Josh Lambo, 12-Bryan Arguez
Subs not available: 3-Anthony Wallace, 16-Billy Schuler
Head coach: Thomas Rongen
SLV: 1-Diego Andres Cuellar, 2-Cesar Antonio Lopez, 2-Andres Eduardo Menendez (14-Herbert Arnoldo Sosa, 77), 4-Moises Xavier Garcia (capt.), 6-Juan Carlos Alas, 8-Diego Jose Chavarria, 9-Andres
Alexander Flores, 11-Ricardo Jose Orellana (13-Irza Romel Santos, 66), 12-Mark Lester Blanco, 15-Fabricio Alfaro (17-Gilberto Arnulfo Baires, 70), 20-Jaime Enrique Alas
Subs not used: 5-Alexander Enrique Mendoza, 10-William Antonio Maldonado, 18-Oscar Daniel Arroyo, 19-Jorge Luis Moran
Subs not available: 7-Irving Arnulfo Flores, 16-Nelson Ismael Rivera,
Head Coach: Jose Norberto Huezo
Andrea Canales, Goal.com