It wasn't always pretty, but the US Under-20 men's national team got the job done on Thursday as they defeated Qatar 1-0 to earn their place in the Round of 16 at the U-20 World Cup in Poland.
A moment of individual brilliance was the source for the only goal of the match after Qatar were caught in possession deep in their own half. Alex Mendez made the important tackle and the ball fell to the feet of Tim Weah. The PSG forward nutmegged a defender and finished to net his first goal of the tournament.
A couple minutes later substitute Ulysses Llanez fed a throughball to FC Dallas midfielder Brandon Servania in the Qatar box. He was taken down by a defender but was originally ruled to have been offside. After Video Review, a penalty was awarded but Mendez's shot was stopped by Shehab Mamdouh.
In a first half that was fairly even, Qatar produced the best chance. Columbus Crew SC center back Aboubacar Keita was stripped of the ball in possession by Abdulla Nasser in the 36th minute. That Qatari attacker fed it across to Hashim Ali, but Real Salt Lake goalkeeper David Ochoa came off his line to make a huge stop. A rebound attempt on a mostly open net went wide.
The win means Tab Ramos' team finishes second in Group D and will face either France or Mali in the Round of 16. They will learn their fate on Friday.
- 76' — USA — Tim Weah
- THE BIG PICTURE: With the win, the US will likely face one of the tournament favorites in the Round of 16. If France earns a win or draw against Mali, they will be the US opponent while a Mali win would mean Ramos' team would face the African side.Two players who won't be taking part in that game is D.C. United midfielder Chris Durkin and Alex Mendez, who both will be suspended due to yellow card accumulation after picking their second yellow cards of the tournament on Thursday.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Ochoa's save in the first half kept things level, allowing the US to score one goal and win later on.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: The RSL 'keeper came up big when he needed to and earned the US's second clean sheet in a row after coming off the bench.
- USA: Tuesday, June 4 vs. France or Mali (11:30 ET)
- QAT: End of tournament.