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By The SI Staff
May 19, 2015

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.

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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.