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Soto leads US over Nigeria 2-0 at Under-20 World Cup

By The Associated PressMay 28, 2019
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United States' Sebastian Soto, center, scores his side's opening goal during the Group D U20 World Cup soccer match between USA and Nigeria, in Bielsko Biala, Poland, Monday, May 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
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United States' Sebastian Soto, center, scores his side's opening goal during the Group D U20 World Cup soccer match between USA and Nigeria, in Bielsko Biala, Poland, Monday, May 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

Sebastian Soto scored a pair of goals, and the United States beat Nigeria 2-0 Monday in the Under-20 World Cup at Bielsko Biala, Poland, to rebound from an opening loss to Ukraine.

Soto headed in Alex Mendez’s corner kick from 5 yards in the 18th minute, getting free from defender Zulkifilu Rabiu, then doubled the lead 25 seconds into the second half. Left back Chris Gloster, a teammate in Hannover’s youth system, dribbled toward the goal from midfield and passed as Soto burst past defender Valentine Ozornwafor and into the penalty area. Soto ran onto the ball and slotted it past goalkeeper Olawale Oremade with the outside of his right foot from 6 yards.

Soto kicked the ball in off a scramble after Tim Weah’s initial header was saved in the 30th minute, but a video review determined Weah was offside on the header. Soto, an 18-year-old forward from Carlsbad, California, left Real Salt Lake’s youth academy for Hannover last summer and made his Bundesliga debut on April 6 in the first of three substitute appearances near the end of the season.

Brady Scott had five saves in the shutout, diving to his right in the 39th minute to parry a volley by Aniekeme Okon.

Ukraine (2-0) leads Group D with six points after following its opening 2-1 win over the U.S. with a 1-0 victory over Qatar on Monday.

Nigeria (1-1), which defeated Qatar 4-0 in its opener, is ahead of the U.S. on goal difference. The Americans play Qatar on Thursday, when Nigeria meets Ukraine.

The top two nations in each of six groups advance along with the top four third-place teams.

U.S. coach Tab Ramos made one lineup change, starting Soto in place of Brandon Servania. Soto had replaced Servania in the 66th minute of the opener.

Nigeria was awarded a penalty kick by French referee Benoit Bastien in the 64th minute when Mark McKenzie knocked over Michael from behind, but a video review determined Okechukwu Offia was offside when Rabiu passed to Michael.

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