In the wee hours of Tuesday morning in the United States, Gedion Zelalem played his first minutes in a U.S. jersey.
Zelalem made his long-awaited debut for Tab Ramos's U-20 side in a friendly against Australia as preparations for the U-20 World Cup continue. The USA won 2-1, with Maki Tall and Joel Soñora scoring the goals for the Americans.
Zelalem, the 18-year-old Arsenal prospect who was cleared to play internationally for the USA ahead of last Friday's FIFA U-20 roster deadline, came on as a 59th-minute substitute for Paul Arriola with the USA trailing 1-0. Soñora followed a minute later with a long-range shot, and Tall scored moments later to turn the tide.
Emerson Hyndman, whom Ramos named his captain for the World Cup in New Zealand, anchored the starting lineup, according to U.S. Soccer's game notes.
Zack Steffen started in goal, marshaling a defense that comprised Shaquell Moore, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Matt Miazga and Desevio Payne. Hyndman was joined in the midfield by Arriola, Soñora and Marco Delgado, while Tall and Tommy Thompson started up front.
The Americans have one tune-up remaining, a closed-door friendly against Serbia next week, before opening the World Cup against Myanmar on May 30. They'll play host New Zealand on June 2 and Ukraine on June 5 to wrap up group play.