KENYA BROWN - Monday, June 1, 2015
The United States Under-20 national team got their World Cup campaign off to a shaky start as they had to come from behind to beat a plucky Myanmar side 2-1 on Saturday in Whangarei.
U.S. head coach Tab Ramos' side was the odds-on favorite to win their first Group A game in convincing fashion, but the White Angels from Southeast Asia would provide the shock in the early stages of the first half.
Midfielder Yan Naing Oo scored the first goal of the tournament in the ninth minute after the U.S. failed to clear the ball from the area after a corner kick. Goalkeeper Zack Steffen would come off his line to collect the ball, but could not control it, leaving Naing Oo to tap it in from close range.
The Americans needed a goal to get back into the game and they got it from forward Maki Tall who scored with a somewhat acrobatic finish in the 17th minute. U.S. captain and midfielder Emerson Hyndman sent in the ball from the corner which defender Cameron Carter-Vickers deflected to the right side of the penalty area to Mall to buried it into the back of the net to end the first half at 1-1.
The U.S. would show signs of improvement in the second half and took the lead in the 56th minute as Hyndman would go from setting up a goal to scoring one of his own. Rubio Rubin took the ball from midfield and sent in a pass to the captain who made a late run into the area put the U.S. ahead for good.
The team continued to take the game to Myanmar, but could not add on to their slim lead.
However, the Americans did collect three points which puts them atop of their group.
They will next face host New Zealand on Tuesday in Auckland.