The U-20 World Cup came to a close with a frustrating loss to Venezuela 2-1 in extra time.
US 1 vs Venezuela 2 (eliminated)
Round of 16
US 6 vs New Zealand 0
Group Stage Results
US won their group with 1-2-0 record
US 3 vs Ecuador 3
US 1 vs Senegal 0
US 1 vs Saudi Arabia 1
We’ll start at the top of the list with Josh Sargant, who probably gained the most of everyone at the U-20 World Cup. The U-17 star had begun to make a name for himself in 2016, but exploded on the scene with the U-17 results and especially a fine goal against rival Mexico in the U-17 finals.
A team the US beat and won the group over in a historic group stage victory in qualifications. This was the first ever qualification victory for the USMNT over Mexico’s U-17 team. The U-17 team was defeated by Mexico in the CONCACAF final in penalties, but Sargant did enough to capture Coach Tab Ramos’ team and get a call up to the U-20 squad for the World Cup.
He performed masterfully and had four goals in four games, leading the US and becoming the youngest USMNT to ever score a goal, to produce a multi-goal game and has the most goals by any US player at the tournament. He could easily launch to Pulisic like expectations if he’s not there already. He attracted the attention of Werder Bremen in the German Budesliga, however even they have speculated their not big enough a club to hold off larger teams that have taken an interest. His rights are owned by Sporting KC who would love to add him to their growing USMNT team (Dwyer, Zusi and Besler have been called into the Gold Cup roster), but it seems like once he turns 18 he may be headed to Europe.
Cameron Carter-Vickers (CCV)
CCV has been on many radars since he joined Tottenham’s academy at age 11. When he was called up to the senior team last year he was nearing the opportunity to become US soccer lore. It looks as if Spur’s coach Mauricio Pochettino is recruiting to add depth this summer, but with this year’s success for Spurs there should be plenty of opportunity for CCV to get on the field.
For the US his skills are obvious and his presence was immediately felt when he returned to the field after a 3-3 draw with Ecuador the US team only surrendered one more goal the rest of the tournament in 90 minutes and it was when they were down a man against Saudi Arabia. That man was Carter-Vickers on a horribly refereed match, on two awful yellows. All of this coming off of an injury he sustained in April.
CCV has a long way to go to break into the Spurs, but he’s working hard and has impressed his coach. Let’s hope he continues to develop and can become one of our anchors in 2022.
Lennon is another extremely exciting prospect for me. The right wing position has been an open spot for the USMNT for a while with players from Fabian Johson, Alejandro Bedoya, Paul Arriola and recently Sebastian Lleget getting a shot before his injury. Brooks is owned by Liverpool, but is currently serving a loan to his academy club Real Salt Lake in the MLS. He scored a goal just before the tournament and hasn’t yet broken back into the lineup.
Lennon wasn’t especially exciting in this tournament, but I think hold a lot of promise along with his counter parts in the middle Luca de la Torre of Fulham (English Championship) and Tyler Adams of New York Red Bulls (MLS). The three youngsters looked great across the middle and Adams work rate was fantastic. Luca and Brooks got my attention this tournament though and I hope both are able to break in and become regulars on their respective squads.
Ideally if Lennon could get more opportunities at Liverpool under Manager Klopp who brought in Pulisic and helped develop him initially, including involving him on the first team at the early age of 16. Lennon scored goals in the crucial Saudi Arabia 1-1 draw that clinched the group and then another in the New Zealand route. He was integral to the attack and had great linkup play with Josh Sargant. Brooks looks great and we can only hope along with Luca that they’ll draw international attention and get more opportunities for minutes on leading world clubs.
Jonathan Klinsmann had a huge gaffe that cost the US in their first game, but recovered well and stayed between the pipes the rest of the tournament. He’s a major reason they were able to make it to overtime in the Venezuela match and had some athletic saves throughout the run and in the tournament. He wants to play abroad and has been in training for Everton and others in Europe, I expect to hear of a signing soon.
Palmer-Brown is and was a rock in the back, while also playing defensive midfield. I hope his run in this tournament can get him some attention at his club Sporting KC.
Jeremy Ebobisse scored what was the nicer goals for US against New Zealand (:20 seconds in) and looked good in spurts in the tournament. Hopefully the Timbers have seen what he’s capable of and he gets a chance to break in on the MLS club.
Want to learn about the U-20s team? Here’s the depth chart and where they play.