USA's Erik Palmer-Brown (#5) is mobbed by teammates after scoring against Mexico in the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship on February 27, 2017, in Tibas, San Jose, Costa Rica. (Photo: Starffon Images)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- Erik Palmer-Brown scored the lone goal as the United States earned a 1-0 win over Mexico in the 2017 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship classification stage opener on Monday at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa.
The victory was the first for the U.S. in the competition over its archrival since a 3-0 triumph in 1986, snapping an eight-game losing streak.
Mexico saw its overall CU20 unbeaten run stopped at 20 games. It had not suffered defeat since falling 2-0 to Canada in 2009.
Palmer-Brown put the Americans ahead in the 29th minute. Brooks Lennon, who recorded a hat-trick in the 4-1 group-stage win over Haiti on February 21, lofted a left-sided corner kick into the penalty area that Palmer-Brown headed toward the goal from the edge of the six-yard box. The ball deflected off Mexican defender Edson Alvarez past goalkeeper Jose Hernandez.
It was the first goal that Mexico had allowed in 317 minutes of CU20 play, after not conceding any in three Group A matches.
The USA rose in confidence as it closed down Mexico’s paths to the goal. Striker Ronaldo Cisneros, the tournament’s top scorer with five goals, couldn’t find his scoring touch for the Tricolor and didn’t score for the first time in four CU20 outings.
Goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann was not severely tested as the U.S. preserved its first shutout of the competition. His father, former U.S. national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, attended the match.
Mexico must get a least draw against El Salvador on Wednesday if it hopes to remain in contention for a berth in the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup and have the opportunity to capture a fourth straight CU20 crown.