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Global May 23, 2017

Josh Sargent becomes youngest player to score at FIFA U-20 World Cup

(Via U.S. Soccer) – Things could have gotten out of hand for the U.S. in the opening match of the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup against Ecuador. A high press deployed throughout Monday’s match helped La Tricolor break through twice in the first seven minutes, forcing Tab Ramos’ side to chase the game.

Methodically, the U.S. pulled themselves back into contention, cutting the lead in half when Josh Sargent got on the end of a pass from Luca De La Torre to fire home a clinical finish in the 36th minute.

Having tallied 19 goals and 7 assists in 34 matches during the current U-17 World Cup cycle, Sargent’s strike vindicated Tab Ramos’ decision to include the U-17 MNT captain on his final roster for the World Cup. The goal also came in Sargent’s debut with the U-20 MNT, and at 17 years, 91 days old, also made him the youngest U.S. player to score at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, besting current MNT striker Jozy Altidore, who was 17 years, 239 days when he tallied against Poland at the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada.

+READ: USA opens FIFA U-20 World Cup with 3-3 draw vs Ecuador

“Coming off qualifying with the U-17s and coming here is just completely different,” Sargent said of his first competitive experience with the U-20 MNT. “All the players are a lot bigger, stronger, faster and it’s a new level. It’ll push me every time I come out on the field.”

Youngest U.S. Players to Score at the FIFA U-20 World Cup
Player Game Age
Josh Sargent 3-3 D vs. Ecuador (2017) 17 years, 91 days
Jozy Altidore 6-1 W vs. Poland (2007) 17 years, 239 days
Troy Dayak 2-0 W vs. East Germany (1989) 18 years, 22 days
Freddy Adu 6-1 W vs. Poland (2007) 18 years, 31 days
Jeff Hooker 2-3 L vs. Uruguay (1983) 18 years, 73 days
Chris Henderson 2-1 W vs. Iraq (1989) 18 years, 76 days

Captain of the U.S. side that just qualified for October’s FIFA U-17 World Cup, Sargent continued to lead the come back on the other side of halftime. In the 54th minute, the O’Fallon, Mo., product got on the end of a pinpoint cross from Brooks Lennon to bring the game level at 2-2.

“My first goal, Luca put me in a great position to score, and I just hit a volley near post. The second goal, Brooks played an amazing ball to me, and I just did what I had to do,” Sargent continued.

Though the U.S. went back down due to Bryan Cabezas’ 64th minute strike, the team was rescued by Luca De La Torre’s precise finish four minutes into second-half stoppage time.

“Obviously, we went down early with the two goals and had to fight back again, but the thing with this team is that we never give up and we’ll keep fighting until the whistle blows,” Sargent said.

The brace also makes Sargent just the sixth U.S. player to score multiple goals during a U-20 World Cup match. Of the five players that previously recorded a multi-goal game, three finished in the top three goal scorers at their respective tournament, while Altidore missed out on a tie-breaker.

Multi-Goal Games by U.S. Players at the FIFA U-20 World Cup
Player Game Goals
Chris Faklaris* 6-0 W vs. Turkey (1993) 3
Freddy Adu 6-1 W vs. Korea Republic (2007) 3
Taylor Twellman# 3-1 W vs. Cameroon (1999) 2
Taylor Twellman# 2-3 L vs. Spain (1999) 2
Eddie Johnson^ 2-0 W vs. Korea Republic (2003) 2
Jozy Altidore** 2-1 W vs. Brazil (2007) 2
Josh Sargent 3-3 D vs. Ecuador (2017) 2

* With three goals, won the Bronze Boot at the 1993 FIFA World Youth Championship
# With four goals, won the Bronze Boot at the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship
^ With four goals, won the Golden Boot at the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship
** With four goals, tied for third in goal scoring, but missed out on hardware due to a tiebreaker at the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

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