The USA U-20 Men's National Team advanced to the Classification Stage of the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship with a confident 4-1 win over St. Kitts and Nevis. After Haiti had imploded against Panama, the young Americans were not under particular pressure in this game: all they had to do was not lose by a lot. The USA scored four goals in the first half to make losing at all a highly improbable outcome. St. Kitts got one back late, but a team the Americans were doubtless already thinking about the next round of the competition by the 77th minute of a game they had been winning 4-0 since the 41st.
The USA's goals came from Brooks Lennon, Jonathan Lewis, and Sebastian Saucedo - who contributed two impressive long-rangers.
The USA now advances to the Classification Stage: a three-team group from which two U-20 World qualifiers will emerge. The Americans will have a slightly tougher task than they might have anticipated pre-tournament. Stumbling against Panama in the first round of the group stage has consigned the US to second place in its group - and that means it is in a Classification Stage tussle with Mexico and El Salvador (confirmed as the Group C winner because CONCACAF tie-breakers for the group stage are head-to-head results, and the Salvadorans have already beaten the only team that can match their points total, Costa Rica).
If, as predicted by current form (El Tri has won three games out of three without conceding a goal at this tounament), the USA loses to Mexico in its opening Classification Stage game, it will set up an all-or-nothing game with El Salvador for a World Cup place.
But the USA is warmed up now and perhaps will stand up more vigorously than expected to the challenge presented by Mexico on February 27.
New York Red Bulls' Tyler Adams has not played for the USA since his injury against Panama in the team's opening game of the tournament. But he is still listed as on the roster, and he recently got a new ankle brace.
Perhaps Adams will be ready for minutes on the field again by the time the Mexico match kicks off.