By DAN KARELL
Against the odds, Tab Ramos and his U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team are on the verge of something special.
Despite playing win ten men for nearly all of the second half and extra time, a Rubio Rubin penalty kick goal lifted the U.S. U-20s over Fluminense, 3-2, on Friday evening, to earn a place in the final of the Gordon Jago Super Group at the Dallas Cup. The U.S. will face Argentine giants River Plate, who the U.S. beat, 3-2, in their opening game.
The U.S. got off to a perfect start with two goals in the first 18 minutes of the match against their Brazilian opposition. First, Rubin scored from a pass by Zach Pfeffer in the 14th minute and four minutes later, 6-foot-5 inch forward Ben Spencer headed home a free kick from Romain Gall to give the U.S. the big lead.
However, Fluminense cut the deficit in half just before the halftime whistle and then four minutes into the second half, 16-year-old defender Erik Palmer-Brown was sent off for a second yellow card infraction. The U.S. held on to the lead all the way into stoppage time but Fluminense tied the score in the third minute of added time.
Into extra time the match went, and the U.S. nearly went ahead when RSL Homegrown signing Jordan Allen sent a curling ball that hit the far post and went to safety. The U.S. were finally able to go ahead when Fluminense conceded a penalty in the second ten minutes of extra time, also reducing their side to ten men.
Rubio stepped up and scored to send the U.S. to the final on Sunday at the Cotton Bowl against River Plate.
The U.S. were without Paul Arriola and Kellyn Acosta for the match against Fluminense as both were recalled to their club teams.
USMNT Starting XI: Santiago Castano; Shaquell Moore, Matt Miazga, Michael Amick, John Requejo, Erik Palmer-Brown, Lynden Gooch, Romain Gall, Rubio Rubin, Ben Spencer, Zach Pfeffer.
What do you think of this result? Proud of the U-20s performance? Think they can win the final?
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