The USA's Rubio Rubin (pictured) celebrates after scoring two goals against New Zealand in a FIFA U-20 World Cup match on June 2, 2015, in Auckland. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, New Zealand – The United States (2-0-0, 6 points) defeated host New Zealand (0-1-1, 1 point) 4-0 on Tuesday to earn a round of 16 place in the 2015 FIFA U-20 with a Group A game to spare.
At North Harbor Stadium, Rubio Rubin scored early and late for the Americans, who can clinch the top spot with a win or a draw against Ukraine (1-0-1, 4 points) on June 5.
Rubin struck for the first goal in the sixth minute. A right-sided corner kick by Emerson Hyndman was headed off the woodwork by the Matt Miazga. Bradford Jamieson IV got to the loose ball first and snapped a shot towards the left post, where Rubin touched it in at the goal line.
In the 34th minute, Hyndman became the first player from the USA to score in two straight U-20 World Cup games since Jozy Altidore eight years ago. Goalkeeper Zack Steffen’s long free kick was headed into the box by Jamieson IV for Rubin. The Utrecht forward tried to get a foot on the ball, which bounced off goalkeeper Oliver Sail. Hyndman reacted quickly to find the back of the net from 16-yards out.
The CONCACAF side added two goals after the break, creating numerous opportunities with some top-notch passing.
Gedion Zelalem slid a splendid ball into the right-side box for Paul Arriola to turn on, allowing him to fire a right-footed shot off the left post and over the line for a 3-0 advantage in the 58th minute.
With seven left in normal time, Rubin took advantage of indecision in the New Zealand defense to complete the scoreline. Desevio Payne’s low cross from the right side appeared to take a slight deflection off the outstretched foot of a Kiwi defender. The ball rolled to the edge of the six-yard box, where Sail, Jesse Edge and Adam Mitchell converged to form a triangle. None took possession as Rubin gladly slipped in between to poke home with his left foot.
NOTES: The U.S. posted its first shutout in a U-20 World Cup match since June 18, 2005, when it blanked Egypt, 1-0 … The U.S. outshot New Zealand, 30-11.