ANDREW MINTZ - Friday, January 23, 2015
The US snuck into the knockout round of the U-20 CONCACAF Championship after narrowly defeating Trinidad and Tobago, 1-0.
A draw or win would suffice for the US' advancement to the next round, but a loss would have seen Trinidad and Tobago progress in the Americans' place. The win propelled the US into second place in Group A, after Guatemala loss to Panama earlier Wednesday.
Coach Tab Ramos made no changes to his lineup since the US' last game, a 2-0 win against tournament host, Jamaica.
Trinidad did well to limit the Americans' chances in the first half, allowing just a handful of on-target shots. The US nearly found a breakthrough in the beginning of the second half as Galaxy forward Bradford Jameison controlled a loose ball in the box, but his shot was cleared off the line.
Ramos used his first substitution with Paul Arriola, the Tijuana forward, entering in place of Molde striker Ben Spencer in the 59th minute. Dortmund midfielder Junior Flores then came on for Columbus Crew winger, Romain Gall, in the 68th minute.
Bradford Jameison secured the US' place in the knockout round with his 78th minute goal. Paul Arriola was released down the sidelines on a US counterattack and swung a cross into the box. Trinidad goalie Johan Welch stayed on his line, allowing Jameison to find the searching ball and scuff a shot into the bottom left of the goal, his third of the tournament.
In a defensive move in the 84th minute, Orlando City defender Conor Donovan replaced San Jose Earthquake winger Tommy Thompson. The defender settled into a position right in front of the American center backs in order to secure the lead.
The Americans held on for the 1-0 victory and clinched second place in Group A. The US' opponent for its one-game playoff will be determined on Thursday after Group B finishes its final matches. As it stands, the Americans would meet El Salvador with the winner advancing to the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand this May.