Group play matches: US 1 S Korea 1; US 6 Poland 1; US 2 Brazil 1
Last week the US began the U20 World Cup against S Korea with a stinker. I was terribly disappointed because I had high hopes for this group of mostly young professionals. S Korea had more energy, showed more commitment and was generally the better side. The US was fortunate to escape their first match with a 1-1 tie on the strength of a Danny Szetela diving header.
The U20s followed up their stinker with a blinder. Front-to-back, side-to-side, the US was awesome against Poland in a 6-1 thrashing. Captain Freddy Adu scored a hat-trick and Szetela added two more goals in a thrilling display of attacking vigor. My man of the match was Michael Bradley who did all the dirty work that freed Adu, Szetela and outside midfielders Sal Zizzo and Robbie Rogers to run rampant over Poland. With its tournament fate in its own hands and facing the always rated Brazil, the US surprised everyone but themselves by winning 2-1 on the strength of two Jozy Altidore goals. Adu was instrumental on both goals and was the best player on the field for long stretches of the match.
A wonderful run of three games is a good start. Next up for the young Americans is Uruguay on Wednesday.