Daniel Cuevas, Alphonse Areola, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Digne, Javan Torre

U.S. earns 1-1 draw with France, keeps hope alive in U-20 World Cup


Following Friday’s disappointing 4-1 loss to Spain, the U.S. U-20 national team needed a result to salvage any hope of advancing in this summer’s World Cup. On Monday, they did just that, earning a fantastic 1-1 draw with France after substitute Daniel Cuevas fired home the equalizer in the 85th minute.

The effort today was a vast improvement on last week’s contest, with the U.S. defense staying compact and battling hard against a physically imposing France side.

The match kicked off with France’s high-powered offense steadily attacking the Yanks’ defense. As the half wore on, however, the U.S. attack gained confidence with some solid link-up play and Luis Gil producing two promising efforts on frame.

After the break, France’s attack came out firing and within three minutes Javan Torre committed a foul that appeared to be just outside the penalty area but the referee pointed to the spot. Yaya Sanogo, a long-time transfer target of Arsenal, stepped up to the spot and unleashed a good effort that Cody Cropper did well to get a hand on but could not prevent from hitting the back of the net.

With the lead in hand, France took their foot off the accelerator, confident that they had the three points. But the Americans were not done.

In the 65th minute Mario Rodriguez took his dribble down the left side and cut sharply between two defenders, drawing a penalty. It looked to be a soft call, likely a makeup for the earlier penalty that Sanogo converted. Gil stepped up to the spot but his soft effort was telegraphed and French goal-keeper Alphonse Areola saved easily.

The miss seemed to motivate Tab Ramos’ men, who looked to take on defenders and get forward in numbers. In the 85th minute, U.S. found their equalizer when Gil’s free-kick from 25 yards out ricocheted off the French defense and fell nicely to Cuevas, who smashed home a first-time volley into the far post.

The U.S. face Ghana on Thursday in their final group match where a victory could see the Americans through to the knock-out stage.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City SC 2-1 Montreal Impact

Cyle Larin, Orlando City SC

The game in 100 words (or less): For weeks, it was a widely held belief that the Montreal Impact would snatch up the sixth and final playoff place in the Eastern Conference with little or no resistance from their opposition. As they went six games unbeaten (four wins), all looked to be setting up perfect for the club that fired Frank Klopas midseason, but there was another team in the race for sixth that kept winning themselves: Orlando City SC. On Saturday night, Montreal and Orlando City faced off at the Citrus, with the expansion Lions claiming their fourth-straight victory with a 2-1 triumph. Montreal now holds a one-point lead on Orlando in the race for sixth, and have two games in hand, but it’s no longer a foregone conclusion L’Impact will qualify for the playoffs no resistance whatsoever.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

33′ — Bush’s mistake gifts Larin the opening goal — Larin did what your taught to do as a striker — “put it on frame, test the goalkeeper” — but in no universe does a shot so feeble have any business finding the back of the net. Evan Bush has been great this year. Hopefully (for Montreal’s sake), this howler doesn’t turn into the yips with the playoffs looming.

43′ — Hall’s “mistake” gifts Oduro an equalizer — Dominic Oduro equalized in the 43rd minute, when he took the ball out of the hands of Tally Hall and smashed it into the back of the net, but the goal should have been disallowed due to Hall having full control of the ball.

80′ — Hines hits the winner for Orlando — Seb Hines put the ball back into the mixer and just so happened to find the back of the net in the 80th minute. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Seb Hines

Goalscorers: Larin (33′), Oduro (43′), Hines (80′)

MLS Snapshot: NY Red Bulls 2-1 Columbus Crew SC

Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls
Leave a comment

The game in 100 words (or less): Two weeks in a row Columbus Crew SC have had a chance to go top of the Eastern Conference with a victory, and two weeks in a row Crew SC have failed to take a single point from massively important fixtures. Their latest defeat, a 2-1 humbling at the hands of the East-leading New York Red Bulls, started so well for Gregg Berhalter’s side, but was undone by a pair of costly, comedic defensive errors that allowed Lloyd Sam and Bradley Wright-Phillips (15th of the season) to erase an early deficit (Justin Meram) and win all three points. The result not only keeps the Red Bulls top of the East, but gives them a three- and four-point cushion with three and two games in hand on their nearest competitors., D.C. United and New England Revoltion respectively. For Crew SC, they’re four points back of the Red Bulls in fourth place, one point ahead of fifth-place Toronto FC, who have a game in hand.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

9′ — Meram pokes it past Robles for an early lead — Meram “earned” his goal all the way back in midfield, when the Iraqi international’s mazy run took a routine turnover inside Crew SC’s defensive half and turned it into a dangerous counter-attacking opportunity. Harrison Afful overlapped and provided the cross for Meram to send home.

12′ — Sam capitalizes on multiple mistakes to equalize — Crew SC pass the ball out of the back. They don’t boot it forward to clear. It’s just what they do. Sometimes, that’ll bite you. When your goalkeeper and right back both have blunders clearing the ball 10 seconds apart, you probably deserve to concede an ugly, scrappy goal.

21′ — Wright-Phillips capitalizes on more defensive gaffes — See the above description for Red Bulls goal no. 1.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Damien Perrinelle

Goalscorers: Meram (9′), Sam (12′), Wright-Phillips (21′)