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USA wins 2018 CONCACAF Men’s U-20 Championship

Tab Ramos’ squad dominated the tournament from start to finish.

Germany U20 v USA U20 - International Match Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images

The USA Men’s U-20 National Team capped a start-to-finish domination of the 2018 CONCACAF Men’s U-20 Championship with a 2-0 win over Mexico in the final.

The winning combination for both the USA’s goals was Paxton Pomykal and Alex Mendez. In the 17th minute, Pomykal cut in to the 18-yard box from the left wing, pulling a wary Mexico back line along with him - and then cut the ball back to a wide-open Mendez, whose left-footed drive from the top of the box was perfectly judged.

In the 50th minute, the El Tri defense held its shape to stifle another Pomykal run, but another cut-back set up a give-and-go that saw Mendez scythe through the back line to finish from close range.

Mexico had chances, but US goalkeeper Brady Scott stood firm when required. Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago can take some comfort perhaps from being the only teams at this tournament to score against the USA.

Dominance at both ends of the field has been the story of the USA’s 2018 CONCACAF Men’s U-20 Championship. The team came out of the Group Stage with five wins from five games, having outscored its opponents 39-2. In the Qualifying Stage and Final, the US U-20 MNT played three more games, tallying another three wins, three clean sheets, and seven goals.

The USA never once fell behind in a game at this tournament, never really looked in danger of losing a match. Head coach Tab Ramos has now guided the US Men’s U-20 National Team to back-to-back CONCACAF Men’s U-20 titles: the first and second time the USA has ever won the regional championship at this level.

Perhaps most impressively, with regard to the depth of the player pool, Ramos selected a squad that was almost arguably a B-team, or at least not the strongest best-known age-eligible group the USA could have fielded.

New stars have emerged for the US at this tournament. Most notably, Alex Mendez picked up the tournament’s Golden Ball - his eye-catching performance in the final being merely the most recent of a succession of impressive displays in the competition.

Tab Ramos will have some interesting selection decisions ahead for the 2019 U-20 World Cup. Hopefully, his selection will include former RBNY Academy player Chris Gloster (currently with Hannover), who has now won CONCACAF U-17 and U-20 titles, and can have reasonable hope of adding a U-20 World Cup run to his selection for the USA’s 2017 U-17 World Cup squad.