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Errors undo U.S. as U20s miss knockouts

Article Written by Jon Arnold
Published: March 23, 2016

DALLAS — A late goal again proved costly as the United States U20 national team failed to make it to the Dallas Cup Super Group’s knockout phase.

Two days after conceding a winner to Fulham in the last five minutes, the U.S. allowed Hoffenheim a last-minute goal that saw the match finish 3-3 and ended up costing the Americans a semifinal spot.

After just 15 minutes Hoffenheim was in front, but the U.S. continued to push forward and search for an equalizer. It came after the half-hour mark when Aaron Herrera hit a ball on the bounce and in from just outside the box.

Just after the second half, Hoffenheim was again in front, taking advantage of the possession it had to work through the American defense and score in the 52nd minute. Two minutes later, though, Cameron Lindley sent a long pass forward to the chest of Jeremy Ebobisse. The Duke forward chested the ball down, turned and hit the ball under the Hoffenheim keeper to again draw level.

The U.S. took its first lead of the night in the 83rd minute when Victor Mansaray got possession, turned and weaved through the defense. He sent in a low shot from outside the 18-yard-box and found the back of the net.

But with the match nearly done, Hoffenheim drew a free kick in its own half. Pasqual Pander put a long ball into the box that was headed on and Semi Belkahia nodded it past Jonathan Klinsmann to snatch the draw.

To pour salt in the wound, Fulham and Monterrey drew 1-1, meaning six points would’ve taken the U.S. through to the semifinals.

Fulham’s Stephen Humphrys ran onto a through ball and around Monterrey goalkeeper Santiago Ramirez early in the match, but he couldn’t roll the ball into the empty net because of a save off the line by Jorge Sanchez. That sliding block injured the player, and he had to make way minutes later.

In the 34th minute, Los Rayados threatened to take the lead, as Jesus Lopez’s shot from distance nearly found the target. But much to the English side’s relief, it hit the post and stayed out.

Fulham found the breakthrough in the 67th minute with Stephen Humphrys able to wiggle free and poke past Ramirez.

But Monterrey wanted to keep its tournament alive, and Jaime Rivero headed home from near the spot after a cross came in from his left. Another goal wasn’t forthcoming, though, and Fulham moved through with the draw.

More British success early in the day

Everton booked its spot in the Super Group semifinals with a 3-1 victory against Real Salt Lake.

In the 26th minute, Callum Lees knocked home a ball that was left on the ground after a corner kick went uncleared.

RSL was pinned back in its own half for most of the first half, and the second brought much of the same. They pushed numbers forward for a corner kick, which was taken short. The ensuing cross was blocked and Everton countered with numbers.

The counter-attack petered out when Delial Brewster’s pass for Nathan Broadhead took the forward wide to his left, but Broadhead recovered

by beating his man and lashing a finish past RSL goalkeeper Juan Ramon Ruiz.

And it was three in the 86th minute when Brewster got one for himself, creating a bit of space and firing from just inside the box.

With stoppage time already underway, RSL substitute Jesus Avelar pulled one back but the match ended after the ensuing kickoff.

“We had a game plan, and that was to press high because they like to play out of the back, so we tried to nullify them doing that, which means it’s a lot of effort for the players to go in closing people down really quickly,” Everton coach Kevin Sheedy told TopDrawerSoccer. “I was really pleased with the energy levels our players showed. They really did work hard. We looked the stronger team in the end.”

FC Dallas keeps rolling

FC Dallas midfielder Devin Vega scored a beautiful goal in stoppage time to give FC Dallas a 1-0 victory and put them through to the Dallas Cup Super Group semifinals.

After a match in which neither team could find the target, Vega broke the deadlock to put FC Dallas on six points. With their +1 goal difference, they move to the knockout stage. Had the match ended scoreless, Real Salt Lake would've moved on.
 
The goal came from a long throw in that was flicked on when it arrived in the box. Middlesbrough tried to clear it but could only knock it back up into the air. The San Antonio native hit it without letting it touch the ground and sent it past the English side's goalkeeper, Bradley James.
 
FC Dallas joined group-winners Fulham, Everton and Fluminense in the Gordon Jago Super Group semifinals.
 
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