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All five RSL academy products help steer U-20s to Group F victory at U-20 World Cup

First Published      Last Updated May 28 2017 09:03 am

The U-20 kids are not only through to the knockout stages, but the Americans do so as Group F winners. And it was Real Salt Lake's Brooks Lennon who scored the goal the U.S. U-20 national team needed to make sure of it.

On Sunday morning, the U-20s finished in a 1-1 draw with Saudi Arabia in the Group F finale, propelling the Americans atop the group and into the Round of 16. The U-20s move on to face New Zealand in Incheon, South Korea. The U.S. finished 1-0-2 in group play.

Lennon continued his stellar international season with his 40th minute goal. The RSL academy product, back to the club on a full-season loan from Liverpool FC, now has five goals and two assists in 10 matches with the U-20s in 2017.

The 19-year-old found himself in the right place at the right time when the Saudi goalkeeper stopped midfielder Luca de la Torre's close-range shot. The rebound squirted out to Lennon at the back post, and the RSL forward just tapped it in to put the U.S. up 1-0 in the first half.

Things got a bit dicey for the U-20s five minutes later as defender Cameron Carter-Vickers was shown a second yellow card and was sent off. That forced head coach Tab Ramos to sub on RSL defender Justen Glad in the 46th minute, replacing teammate Sebastian Saucedo, who had his first start of the tournament.

The Saudis equalized in the 74th minute off a corner kick, but the 10-man U.S. U-20s held on for the draw that sends them through to the knockout rounds as the No. 1 seed out of Group F. All five RSL academy products saw time in the draw, including Lennon, Glad, Saucedo, Danny Acosta and Aaron Herrera.

Ramos, however, will be without three key starters against New Zealand. Along with Carter-Vickers, Herrera and midfielder Derrick Jones will be suspended due to yellow card accumulation in the group stage of the tournament. Some necessary lineup shuffling will be underway and could very likely see Glad start his first game from suffering a knee injury the first week of March that kept him sidelined for nearly three months.

-Chris Kamrani

Twitter: @chriskamrani