The U.S. U20 MNT is currently in Australia gearing up for this month’s World Cup with a series of friendly tune-ups. The first came against Australia, which ended in a 2-1 result for the Americans on Monday night.
We only have a few brief glimpses as to how the game went (it wasn’t streamed or televised and the highlights package is less than two minutes long), but there are two things to look at here. On the first goal, Tommy Thompson’s in-pinching run from right to left will roughly approximate his work area in New Zealand, and Joel Sonora’s beautiful curler is a good look for a player trying to crack the XI. With a spot in the midfield ostensibly open, he could well be in the starting lineup for the opener against Myanmar.
But the more interesting question is who starts up top, and Maki Tall is making a compelling case for coach Tab Ramos. After scoring in his U20 debut in late March, Tall’s been slowly turning the wheel of public opinion in his favor, and his goal here should help in that regard. This was a bad mistake at the back on Australia’s part, but it couldn’t have happened without Tall’s press, and that finish was cool as you like.
This team was in desperate need of a consistent striker in qualifying. It may have found one in Maki Tall.