Joshua Sargent (right) scores one of his two goals in the USA's draw with Ecuador in the FIFA U-20 World Cup on May 22, 2017, in Incheon, South Korea. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
INCHEON, Korea Republic -- After learning he was a surprise selection to the United States roster for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup, forward Josh Sargent realized he faced new challenges as one of the youngest players in the competition.
"Coming off qualifying with the U-17s and coming here is just completely different," the 17-year-old said. "All of the players are a lot bigger, stronger, faster. It's a new level. It'll push me every time I come out onto the field."
Actually, Sargent might have spoken too soon. In Monday’s Group F opener, he proved to be a handful for opposing Ecuador, scoring twice and helping the CONCACAF champion erase an early two-goal deficit to register a 3-3 draw. Luca de la Torre netted deep in second-half stoppage time for the dramatic equalizer.
"The thing with this team is that we never give up and we'll keep fighting until the whistle blows," said Sargent, who scored five goals in the recently-completed CONCACAF Under-17 Championship.
The U.S. will continue in its quest to reach the Round of 16 against Senegal at Incheon Football Stadium on Thursday.
"We'll continue to move forward playing as hard as we always play," U.S. head coach Tab Ramos stated. "I think this first game was a good learning experience. I think we'll get better from here."