The USA U20 team didn't make it easy on themselves on Thursday, but a Tim Weah second-half goal was enough to give the side a 1-0 win over Qatar at the U-20 World Cup in Poland. The victory was enough for the U.S. to finish second in Group D, behind Ukraine, who beat the U.S. in the teams' first game. The result means that the U.S. will face either France or Mali on June 4 in the Round of 16.
The victory came at a cost for the U.S. side, though, as head coach Tab Ramos will be without the services of two players due to yellow card accumulation. D.C. United's Chris Durkin, who started and went all 90 minutes, picked up his second yellow card of the tournament. As did Alex Mendez, meaning both will miss the next round.
Needing at least a point to secure their advancement out of the group, the U.S. had a shaky first half, which ended scoreless. Qatar had a couple of opportunities to score, needing a win and some help to make it out of the group themselves.
But the U.S. played better in the second stanza, and Weah took advantage of a turnover in front of the Qatar box to fire home the game's only goal in the 76th minute. Mendez had a chance to double the lead late on after a lengthy video review stoppage gave the U.S. a penalty, but his effort was saved.
Substitute Richard Ledezma hit the bar in the final moments of the game, but by that point, the U.S. was already ensured of a second place finish, with the game between Ukraine and Nigeria ending in a 1-1 draw.
This is the third straight tournament at this level in which the U.S. has advanced out of their group. In 2017, the U.S. topped their group before being knocked out of the quarterfinals by Venezuela, the eventual runner-ups in the tournament. In 2015, the U.S. finished second in their group, but lost in penalties to eventual champs Serbia in the quarterfinals.