U.S. lifted by key win, eye prolonged U20WC campaign

USA's Josh Sargent (#19) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Senegal in the FIFA U-20 World Cup on May 25, 2017 in Incheon, Korea Republic. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)

INCHEON, Korea – United States head coach Tab Ramos could not have been more elated.

His team had just beaten Senegal on Wednesday for its first victory in the 2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, a 1-0 result at Incheon Football Stadium.

“This was an amazing effort from the team,” said Ramos.  “When you play an African team at a World Cup, and you run them into the ground in the first half the way we did, by pressing them and not allowing them to play, I think it shows a lot about the character of the type of players we have here.”

Defender Cameron Carter-Vickers, who missed the USA’s opening 3-3 draw with Ecuador through injury, solidified the defense.

“We had to sit him out the first game to make sure he’s a 100 percent healed,” Ramos commented.  “He was probably ready to play our first game, but we saved him a few more days and I think it was worth it.  He really proved to be the anchor of the defense.”

The Americans are slated to meet Saudi Arabia in the final Group F match for each in Daejeon on Sunday.  A draw will ensure that the CONCACAF champion advances to the Round of 16 and a win would secure the group title.

“We hope it’s a long tournament,” finished Ramos. “We only think about the next game.  We control our destiny.  We know if we win, we finish first in the group.  And that doesn’t happen very often, so we’ll be happy to do that.”