The United States are heading to New Zealand

Ben Spencer celebrates as he gets his first goal of the tournament in the 2-0 victory of El

Ben Spencer celebrates as he gets his first goal of the tournament in the 2-0 victory over El Salvador at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on Saturday.

Second round: The U.S. ices the Salvadorian attack and is now headed to the Under-20 World Cup in the spring.  

By Jorge Belon, Managing Editor 

The United States clinched their sport in the Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand with a 2-0 victory over El Salvador on Saturday at Montego Bay Sports Complex in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

The Yanks offense controlled the tempo and their defense overpowered La Selecta attack for most of the match.

In result, the Americans took the lead in the 1st minute. Tommy Thompson’s shot rolled across the empty mouth of the goal and barely missed the right hand post. 

That attack was only the start. The stars and stripes came close to scoring, but the Salvadorian goalie, Carlos Cañas, stopped two one-on-one chances early in the half.

The Americans broke through when forward, Ben Spencer, followed his own header. The ball dinged the crossbar and Spencer headed the ball into the net to make it 1-0 at the 37th minute.

Only 6 minutes into the second half, El Salvador awarded a penalty because of a careless hand ball committed by an American defender. La Selecta leading goal scorer, Jose Villavicencio, stepped up to potentially tie the game.

Instead, U.S. goalie Zackary Steffen denied Villavicencio and kept the narrow 1-0 lead intact, while deflating the Salvadorian morale. 

After the save, the Yanks went on the offensive and took six of their 11 shots in the final 39 minutes.  

In a span of 2 minutes, a header dinged the crossbar and Bradford Jamieson IV shot was cleared off the line right before it entered.

With an odd goal in the 68th minute from attacking midfielder, Paul Arriola, the U.S. sealed the victory and their qualification to the World Cup. 

The crafty midfielder collected the rebound shot of Jamieson; he wasted no time to line up for the shot in the center of box. He took a weak shot that seemed destined to be blocked or cleared, but the ball deflected and roll into the net to guarantee the 2-0 victory.

“It’s an awesome feeling, it’s what we’ve been working on for the past 2 years,” U.S. u-20 goalie Steffen told CONCACAF. “It’s good to finally get the ticket.”

Highlights provided by CONCACAF,

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