U.S. U-20s rout New Zealand, clinch place in World Cup knockout stage
The U.S. Under-20 men's national team is through to the knockout stage of the World Cup after a 4-0 rout of host New Zealand on Tuesday.
Rubio Rubin scored twice, captain Emerson Hyndman and Paul Arriola scored the others, as the U.S. improved to 2-0-0 in group play following an opening 2-1 win over Myanmar.
Rubin started the scoring early, turning home a rebounded effort from Bradford Jameison IV in the sixth minute from the doorstep after an initial corner kick resulted in a ball off the crossbar. Hyndman followed suit in the 33rd minute with an opportunistic finish, lacing home a low effort from the edge of the box after a spilled ball by the New Zealand goalkeeper.
With his goal, Hyndman became the first U.S. player to score in back-to-back U-20 World Cup games since Jozy Altidore did in 2007.
The U.S. added to its lead in the 57th minute, with Gedion Zelalem, who earned the start after coming off the bench vs. Myanmar, finding Arriola with a defense splitting ball down the center. Arriola fired home from just inside the box to make it 3-0.
Rubin capped the scoring with another opportunistic play, as a deflected cross from Desevio Payne took a bad touch off a defender, and then two defenders and the goalkeeper couldn't act decisively enough in front of the goal before Rubin touched home his second.
Goalkeeper Zack Steffen earned the shutout for the USA, which earned its first clean sheet in a U-20 World Cup since a 2005 win over Egypt.
The Americans have one more group match, against Ukraine, on Friday. Ukraine is sitting on four points after a 0-0 draw with New Zealand and 6-0 rout of Myanmar.