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U.S. U-20s Defeat Mexico In Pivotal Match For The 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup

The United States defeated Mexico at the U-20 level for the first time in 31 years to all but book their place at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

The United States U-20 team defeated a Mexican U-20 side that hadn’t lost a match since 2009 on Monday in the classification stage of the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship. 

The loss for Mexico means that they’ll need a result against El Salvador on March 1 to qualify for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea. If Mexico were to lose or draw that match, the US would clinch their spot before even playing their final classification match against El Salvador on March 3.

It had been 31 years since the US defeated Mexico at this age level, and a tournament that started with a defeat to Panama hardly foreshadowed this historic moment. The Americans responded with expected victories over Haiti and Saint Kitts and Nevis, but tournament favorites Mexico were a different task altogether.

Mexico had made easy work of Antigua and Barbuda, Canada and Honduras in their own group and had their sights set on a 14th championship. But they came up against a unified American team that allowed them absolutely zero joy throughout 90 minutes of play.

Jonathan Klinsmann, the son of former USMNT manager Jurgen (who was very much alone watching the game from the stands), had almost nothing to do in net against a team composed of Liga MX talent.

In the 29th minute, the US scored off a corner kick for the game’s lone goal. The scorer was captain Erik Palmer-Brown, the 19-year-old Sporting Kansas City player who was the subject of a transfer offer from Juventus.

If the US is able to beat El Salvador, they’d contest the final against the winner of Group E, either Panama, Honduras or Costa Rica. The US U-20s have never been CONCACAF champions before.