By DAN KARELL
The United States Under-20 Men’s National Team defeated Portugal Under-20 on Friday, 3-1, in their final match before the start of the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey in seven days.
Jose Villarreal got the U.S. off to a great start in the ninth minute, scoring off a direct free kick past Portugal goalkeeper Jose Sá to put Tab Ramos’ side in the lead. Sporting Lisbon attacker Bruma equalized for Portugal in the 28th minute, and then in the 40th minute, the U.S. suffered a blow after Luis Gil was forced to be taken off after knocking heads with Portugal midfielder Ricardo Alves.
U.S. defender Shane O’Neill was one of two changes to the side at halftime, and six minutes into the second half, the Colorado Rapids centerback lost his mark and headed home to regain the lead.
U.S. Under-20 newcomer Alonso Hernandez scored his first goal with the team when he took advantage of a mistake by Portugal substitute goalkeeper Bruno Varela and scored a goal that gave the U.S. a two-goal advantage in the 53rd minute.
Cody Cropper, continued to prove himself to be the number one goalkeeper in the U.S. squad by making a number of stops late, making eight saves total. Ramos and the U.S. now prepare for their first match at the Under-20 World Cup, taking on title-favorites Spain next Friday in Istanbul.
What do you make of this performance? Excited to see the team in action in Turkey? Where do you see them finishing in Group A?
Share your thoughts below.