US U-20 Player Ratings: Sebastian Soto, Timothy Weah star in beating France

The United States are heading for their third straight U-20 World Cup quarterfinal after a spine-tingling 3-2 rally win over tournament favorites France on Tuesday.

In muggy Bydgoszcz, Poland, the US won late in a game that traveled through a few distinct phases. The US started strong and were rewarded with a 25th-minute lead. France then carried play for about 40 minutes, a span during which they hit on either side of intermission to pull ahead.

Finally, coach Tab Ramos' changes closed the show with a 25-minute display of resilience and persistence. Sebastian Soto netted his second of the game to even matters with about a quarter hour remaining and Justin Rennicks secured the comeback off an 83rd-minute rebound.

Brady Scott (5.5) – One could argue that the US goalkeeper should have rushed out to close down space on France's first-half leveler. I'm leaning toward it was just too far out and Scott did what he could. However, there's no escaping that he let the initial shot get through him on Les Bleus' second. The FC Koln youngster did close the game strong, though.

Sergino Dest (7) – Even with some major neglect in covering back-post threats (such as on France's second), this was easily Dest's best outing of the tournament. He constantly pushed the US forward up the right and excelled when defending against some tricky foes. To top it all off, he teed up the winner by forcing a rebound with a distance drive.

Chris Richards (7) – As usual, the Bayern Munich prodigy made plays at the back look easy. Some of those stops were quite important, but Richards also got away with a couple of rash steps out of position that caused stress.

Aboubacar Keita (7) – At halftime, the Columbus Crew SC center back was heading for a sub-par grade. Keita made a few notable errors, and things could have been a lot worse were it not for some loose finishing by France. Then, he repeatedly proved himself an astute emergency defender. Throw in some splitting passes out of the back and he was downright masterful over the final 25 minutes.

Chris Gloster (2.5) – There's no sugar-coating it, this was a rough outing for the Hannover 96 left back. Gloster was beaten several times, got caught up at least as often, added little going forward and his careless giveaway directly facilitated France's equalizing goal rush. We'll chalk it up as an uncharacteristic stinker.

Brandon Servania (6) – It was a roller-coaster shift from the FC Dallas midfielder. Servania's steal initiated the play for the US opener and he was present at the gate to halt several rushes up the gut. The latter fact only made it more frustrating that he also wandered out of position too often, most notably on the first France goal. 

Paxton Pomykal (7) – Perhaps this US team goes as Pomykal goes. The FC Dallas stud was sharp on and off the ball until he took a rough ride near the half hour. He struggled a bit through the middle of the match, but found his top gear again after France grabbed their temporary lead.

Richie Ledezma (6.5) – The PSV Eindhoven talent was top notch during the opening half hour. Ledezma closed down space all over midfield, and got loose up the middle to slip Soto in alone for the icebreaker. After that, he essentially vanished from the game until being replaced just beyond the hour mark.

Konrad de la Fuente (3) – After four straight starts, it should be plain to see that this tournament has come a bit too soon for the 17-year-old winger. This was de la Fuente's most empty outing so far, and that's saying something. The kid has simply been too timid in the final third.

Timothy Weah (7.5) – The No. 11 shirt's wheels might have been the most consistent nuisance to France on the day. On the press, on the dribble, on the track-back, Weah was the one US player that couldn't be caught. After all of his hard running, the Paris Saint-Germain speedster slowed things down to expertly slip Soto into the area for the late US equalizer.

Sebastian Soto (8) – The Hannover 96 youngster experienced a shaky start to the contest due to some poor touches, but quickly tidied that part of his game. Soto had no trouble cleaning up a couple throughballs for his second brace of the tournament. Both were patient, well-measured finishes, and you can't ask much more of a striker on this stage.

Coach Tab Ramos (6) – There were things to like about the handling of this important game, such as the the the momentum shift initiated by Ramos' double substitution just past the hour mark. And yet, I can't help but feel like the players partially won this huge game despite some of his maneuvers. The longtime U-20 boss is still far too attached to two or three of his line-up choices from the first group game. It's making life a lot harder on the team, and it's past time for him to see the problems.


Ulysses Llanez (6.5) – Again, the recent Wolfsburg pickup hopped off the bench to provide a needed boost to the team going forward.

Justin Rennicks (7) – The New England Revolution attacker was fairly anonymous over the first 20 minutes of his shift, but eventually played hero by being the quickest to Dest's rebound. Rennicks anticipated the sequence beautifully and made no mistake in bagging a famous winner.

Mark McKenzie (-) – The Philadelphia Union youngster on in stoppage time to fortify the back line, but fanned on his big clearance attempt.