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US routs New Zealand 6-0, plays Venezuela in U20 QF

June 2, 2017

Just three months past his 17th birthday, Josh Sargent tied the American scoring record at the Under-20 World Cup as the United States routed New Zealand 6-0 Wednesday night at Incheon, South Korea, and advanced to a quarterfinal against Venezuela.

Sargent put the Americans ahead in the 32nd minute with his fourth goal of the tournament, one of three U.S. goals off corner kicks. Sargent tied Venezuela’s Sergio Cordova for the tournament’s scoring lead and joined Taylor Twellman (1999), Eddie Johnson (2003) and Jozy Altidore (2007) as the only Americans to score four goals at an Under-20 World Cup.

Goals by Jeremy Ebobisse in the 64th minute and Brooks Lennon 87 seconds later broke open the game. Justen Glad scored in the 76th, Auston Trusty in the 84th and Lagos Kunga in the third minute of stoppage time. The U.S. matched its largest victory margin at the tournament, set in an opening 6-0 win over Turkey in 1993.

The Americans, who lost to Serbia on penalty kicks in the 2015 quarterfinals, play Venezuela on Sunday at Jeonju. Defenders Cameron Carter-Vickers and Aaron Herrera, and midfielder Derrick Jones will return after serving one-game suspensions for yellow cards.

Venezuela has outscored opponents 11-0 in four matches and will have two extra days of rest after beating Japan in extra time on Tuesday.

“I think we all believe we can win this thing,” Sargent said.

Sargent, from O’Fallon, Missouri, scored five goals in Panama in April and May at CONCACAF qualifying for the Under-17 World Cup, then was added to the Under-20 roster.

“It’s definitely been very exhausting going from one place straight to another,” he said. “I definitely knew it was going to be a lot more physical. The players were going to be a lot bigger, stronger, faster. So definitely have to be quick with my touches.”

U.S. goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann did not need to make any saves in his second shutout of the tournament. His father, former U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann, watched from the stands.

Sargent scored the go-ahead goal when Lennon played a low corner kick to Glad, who flicked the ball to himself, chested it and took a 12-yard shot that was deflected by Sargent at the 6 past goalkeeper Michael Woud.

Ebobisse doubled the lead when he took Sargent’s headed pass at the 18, spun to get clear of Sean Liddicoat and sent a left-footed shot just under the crossbar. Lennon scored an angled shot from the 6 when he ran onto Eryk Williamson’s pass up a flank on a counterattack.

Glad made it 4-0 when his 8-yard header from Lennon’s corner kick went in off Woud’s legs. Trusty entered in the 76th and scored on a left-footed shot from about 15 yards when Sebastian Saucedo played a low corner kick to him near the top of the penalty area. Kunga entered in the 79th and scored when he dribbled across the top of the penalty area, exchanged passes with Luca de la Torre, then split defenders to get off an open left-footed shot from 12 yards.

In other games, Italy defeated France 2-1 on Guiseppe Panico’s 53rd-minute goal, and Mexico beat Senegal 1-0 on Ronaldo Cisneros’ 89th-minute goal.

Portugal plays Uruguay in Sunday’s other quarterfinal. Monday’s schedule has England-Mexico and Italy-Zambia.

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