BRIAN SCIARETTA - Tuesday, July 15, 2014
With a strong second half from key substitutes, the United States under-20 national team defeated Chile 2-1 in its first game of the NTC Invitational tournament on Monday night.
The tournament marked a return to the team for head coach Tab Ramos who missed the last U-20 camp as he served as an assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann at the World Cup. The lineup featured many regulars including Russell Canouse, Romain Gall, Lynden Gooch and Paul Arriola.
The U.S. outshot Chile 4-1 in the first half with Fernando Arce, Jr. have the best two opportunities narrowly missing on a pair of shots. Despite the U.S. having the advantage of play, Chile scored when a long ball was played over the U.S. defense. Goalkeeper Santiago Castano came out to play the ball but forward Cristian Cuevas made a play first and hit it into an open net for a 1-0 lead.
In the 63rd minute, Ramos brought Philadelphia Union forward Zack Pfeffer and Reading striker Andrija Novakovich into the game and the U.S. attack came to life. Novakovich scored the equalizer on his first touch of the game in the 65th minute when he headed home from the right post a free kick from Pfeffer.
Six minutes later in the 73rd minute, Pfeffer put the U.S. team in front for good when Arriola sent a pass to the far post leaving Pfeffer for just a tap in to put the U.S. team ahead 2-1.
In the win, both teams were even on shots 14-14 but the U.S. had a 7-2 advantage with shots on goal.
The U.S. team will now face Bermuda in the second game of the NTC Invitational on Wednesday at 7pm EST.