ANDREW MINTZ - Friday, January 16, 2015
The US U-20 match against Aruba was a must-win and the young Americans did just that and some.
After a draw against Guatemala and loss to Panama, the US was in fifth place in Group A, with just one point. The Americans must end the group stage in the top three of its group in order to have a chance to qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup this May in New Zealand.
The Americans were without FC Dallas midfielder Kellyn Acosta, who picked up a knock in the Panama match and was left off the bench. Junior Flores came off against Panama with an apparent injury, but the young Borussia Dortmund midfielder was available to play against Aruba.
With the weight of missing the World Cup bearing down on them, the young Americans came out firing. Despite tattered field conditions in Kingston, the Americans imposed themselves early and started creating chances.
Even with the immediate dominance, the imprudent US defense allowed an Aruban long ball to find striker Duncan Homoet, but Molde FK goalie Ethan Horvath came to the US' rescue to deflect the shot off his own post for a 12th minute Aruban corner.
The US composed itself and found a breakthrough in the 16th minute when LA Galaxy forward Bradford Jameison swung a pass from deep in Aruba's box back into the middle to find Romain Gall. The future Columbus Crew attacker had time to collect himself and coolly smash his shot into upper right corner.
The Americans tacked on their second goal after NC State defender Connor Donovan headed Fulham youngster Emerson Hyndman's corner off the bar, with Bradford Jameison directing San Jose Earthquake Tommy Thompson's effort into the goal.
In the 23rd minute, Tyler Turner, the Orlando City SC right-back, made a darting run into the box and was brought down by Aruban forward Jean Van Der Linden for a penalty. Roman Gall tucked away the penalty shot in the left side netting, putting the Americans up 3-0.
Tommy Thompson found a free header in the box off a Hyndman corner in the 26th minute for the American's fourth goal.
The American's fifth came at the half-hour mark as Emerson Hyndman intercepted a ball at the midfield line and took it all the way into Aruba's box to slot home a perfect shot into the bottom right corner, 5-0.
The last goal of the first half came from Roman Gall in the 32nd minute. The forward did well to stay onside for a Hyndman through ball, then dribbled past the keeper and fired in his hat trick and the American's sixth goal.
The US made one change at halftime with Tommy Thompson coming off in favor of Tijuana midfielder Fernando Arce.
Bradford Jameison tallied the American's seventh as his near-post shot found its way past Aruban goalie, Jeanmarc Antersijn.
Ben Spencer, unlucky to find the net, made room for Tijuana striker Amando Moreno in the 69th minute. US Coach Tab Ramos then used his final sub in the 79th minute, with Tijuana starlet Paul Arriola coming on for Emerson Hyndman.
Moreno got in on the scoring frenzy, tacking in one of his own in the 84th minute. Shortly after the American's 8th goal, Aruba's Duncan Homoet picked up his second yellow card and was sent off.
The 8-0 demolition pushes the US into third place in Group A and back into World Cup contention. The Americans will face host Jamaica on Sunday in Montego Bay.