U.S. beats Colombia, advances to U-20 WC quarters

Rubio Rubin (white jersey) celebrates after scoring in the USA's win over Colombia in a FIFA U-20 World Cup, round of 16 on June 10, 2015, in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Goalkeeper Zack Steffen made a save on a penalty kick late in the game to preserve a shutout and help lift the United States to a 1-0 win over Colombia on Wednesday in a FIFA U-20 World Cup, round of 16 encounter at Westpac Stadium.

The Americans will face Serbia, which posted a 2-1 extra-time win over Hungary, in the quarterfinals on Sunday in Auckland.

Rubio Rubin scored the only goal in the 58th minute, his second of the tournament.  The South Americans struggled to deal with a booming goal kick by Steffen, which teammate Emerson Hyndmann eventually headed to Paul Arriola.  The Club Tijuana midfielder snapped off a right-footed attempt that appeared to hit the hand of a Colombian defender in the box.  As play continued, Rubin ran on to the bouncing ball and hammered a right-footer over outstretched left hand of goalkeeper Alvaro Montero from 12-yards out.

It was Steffen, though, who provided the heroics.  In the 83rd minute, the 20-year-old saved Jarlan Barrera’s kick from the spot, diving right to thwart the low effort. Colombia was awarded the penalty after a foul in the box by Kellyn Acosta.  As a result of the infraction, referee Ivan Bebek issued the FC Dallas midfielder his second caution, forcing the CONCACAF side to see out the remainder of the game with 10 players.

A minute later, Barrera looked to make amends, only to see Arriola head a goal-bound try off the line.

Earlier in the second half, Colombia had an opportunity to take the lead.  Steven Lucumi raced down the middle to collect a long pass launched from the other end of the field.  After holding off defender Matt Miazga, he poked a quick shot from 13 yards towards the U.S. net, but Steffen came off his line wisely to make the block.  Then, the hustling Miazga – while on his back -- flicked the rebound into the air and got up in time to make a clearance.

The U.S. advanced to the quarterfinals of a FIFA U-20 World Cup for the first time since 2007.