The United States U-20 side picked up a necessary three points, topping Fiji 3-0 to secure qualification to the knockout stages with a game still to go in group stage play.
In truth it was all a bit of a letdown as they wasted countless chances and failed to get the scores going, missing a goal difference that could come into play in the table.
Still, it was a gritty performance from Mikey Varas as Diego Luna, Cade Cowell and Caleb Wiley scored second-half goals to seal the win. Fiji defended in the low block all game, pouring players behind the ball and making it extremely difficult for the USA to find a way. When they did manage to unlock the Oceania side, the finishing touches were woefully weak and the Americans were becoming increasingly frustrated.
Finally, after 66 minutes, substitute Luna finished for a much-needed breakthrough and Cowell’s exceptional finish doubled the lead to take the points late in the game. Cowell then hit the woodwork twice in stoppage time, but the USA found a third through Caleb Wiley in the dying minutes.
After beating the Fijian side 4-0 in their opening match, Slovakia, another of USYNT’s opponents, will hold the tiebreaker on goal difference if they draw in the group final and finish level on points in the table.