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U20s drop World Cup opener against Ukraine

Article Written by J.R. Eskilson
Published: May 24, 2019

The U.S. U20 Men’s National Team lost 1-2 to Ukraine on Friday in their opening game from the 2019 U20 World Cup in Poland. USA will look to bounce back on Monday when they face off against Nigeria. With up to three teams advancing from the group, Monday is not a must-win game, but a positive result would go a long way to helping the side get into the knock-out round. 

USA started the game with a lengthy spell of possession, but found it difficult to break down the Ukraine defense. USA struggled to create much in the attacking third despite a large advantage in possession. 

Ukraine took the lead in the 26th minute when Serhii Buletsa snuck onto the inside of Dest and finished off a chance off a great assist from Heorhii Tsitaishvili. The opening goal was a quick strike against the US defense that showed off a lack of organization. 

USA found the equalizer six minutes later. Brandon Servania scored the goal off an assist from Timothy Weah. The goal was the result of a 14-pass sequence from the US side which had nearly every US field player involved in the build-up to the goal. 

Alex Mendez had a chance to give USA the lead before half. The midfielder tried his luck from distance, but Ukraine goalkeeper Andriy Lunin made a great save. Lunin finished the game with four saves on five shots. USA also hit the post once. 

Ukraine scored the decisive goal in the 51st minute. Denys Popov headed home a corner kick from Serhii Buletsa for the game-winner. 

Mendez and substitute Sebastian Soto were the only players with real chances for the equalizer as USA struggled to break down the Ukraine defense, which was organized and physical. 

Ramos will have some decisions to make prior to the next game against Nigeria. Left back Chris Gloster left the game in the second half after he picked up a knock. The US coach will also need ot balance the roster with three games in six days. 

USA Starting XI: Brady Scott; Sergino Dest, Chirs Richards, Aboubacar Keita, Chris Gloster; Chris Durkin, Brandon Servania, Alex Mendez; Paxton Pomykal, Tim Weah, Konrad de la Fuente 

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