The United States Under-20 national team put on a record-breaking performance in the Concacaf U-20 Championship on Saturday evening, defeating the US Virgin Islands, 13-0, to set a new tournament scoring record.
Canada's U-20s, seeking to qualify for a first U-20 World Cup since 2007, also maintained their perfect record on Sunday morning, posting a 2-1 over Guadeloupe.
On the US side, LA Galaxy Academy product Ulysses Llanez led the way for the Baby Yanks, picking up a hat trick after setting up the first two goals of the game to power the US to a 6-0 lead at the break. Toronto FC's Ayo Akinola also got on the scoresheet in the first half, as did Philadelphia Union playmaker Anthony Fontana.
Fontana's Union teammate, center back Mark McKenzie, picked up a pair of goals off set pieces in the second half, while FC Dallas' Paxton Pomykal picked up the 10th goal of the match with a strong solo effort. Indiana University forward Justin Rennicks also scored a pair of second-half goals to go with two assists, joining Hoosiers teammate Griffin Dorsey – who scored the opening goal of the game – on the scoresheet. Galaxy Academy product Alex Mendez also grabbed a goal from the penalty spot in the second half, and NC State defender Manny Perez capped off the scoring in stoppage time.
The US, who opened tournament play with another blowout in the form of a 7-1 win over Puerto Rico, are likely to face stiffer opposition on Monday when they take on Trinidad and Tobago in their next Group A game. They will then play Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on Wednesday and finish off group play against Suriname on Friday.
Both Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname have also won their opening two games, but the US are currently on top of Group A thanks to their +19 goal differential, compared to +12 for Suriname and +5 for T&T. Only the top teams in each of the six groups will advance to the qualification stage of the tournament, where four spots in the 2019 Under-20 World Cup will be on offer.
US lineup: David Ochoa; Matt Real (C), Mark McKenzie, Julian Araujo, Manny Perez; Frankie Amaya, Anthony Fontana, Isaac Angking (Alex Mendez, 60); Ulysses Llanez (Justin Rennicks, 45), Ayo Akinola (Paxton Pomykal, 59), Griffin Dorsey
US goalscorers: Griffin Dorsey (4), Ayo Akinola (20), Ulysses Llanez (23, 30, 39), Anthony Fontana (41), Justin Rennicks (62, 66), Mark McKenzie (63, 81), Paxton Pomykal (68), Alex Mendez (79), Manny Perez (90+2)
Canada faced a somewhat tougher test than their US counterparts in their game Guadeloupe. They took an early lead through Montreal Impact midfielder Mathieu Choinière but were pegged back in the opening minute of the second half. The two sides looked to be headed for a draw until Dallas forward Adonijah Reid – who spent 2018 on loan at the Ottawa Fury – broke the deadlock with a sliding finish at the far post in the 79th minute, just four minutes after entering the game as a substitute.
The win put Canada on top of Group D, pending the result of the game between Panama and Martinique – who are second and third, respectively – later on Sunday evening. Canada will next face Panama on Tuesday in a game that will likely go a long way towards deciding which of the two teams advances. Les Rouges will then play Saint Kitts and Nevis on Thursday before finishing group play against Martinique on Saturday.
Canada lineup: Alessandro Busti; Dante Campbell, Julian Dunn, Antonio Rocco Romeo, Terique Mohammed; Michael Baldisimo, Mathieu Choinière, Noah Verhoeven (Noble Okhello, 66), Clement Bayiha; Jose Hernandez (Theo Bair, 66), Jordan Perruzza (Adonijah Reid, 75)
Canada goalscorers: Mathieu Choinière (7), Adonijah Reid (79)