In Tuesday’s 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship match, fourteen minutes was all it took for the United States U20’s to assert themselves over Haiti in a rather underwhelming 4-1 victory. The Haitians struck first after Fulham’s Marlon Fossey was caught napping and Haiti’s Dede Kenley did well to put home an acrobatic finish.
The US would respond, albeit lethargically, as Jonathan Lewis did well to win fouls for most of the opening 45 before winning a penalty that Brooks Lennon converted to get the young Yanks back level. The US would continue the slow pace with the only real chance before the half going to Duke alum Jeremy Ebobisse who did well to get around a defender before getting off a slow shot that went wide.
Tab Ramos woke up from his nap at the break and apparently told the combination of Luca De La Torre, Jonathan Lewis and Brooks Lennon to go and do good things. De La Torre got things started after an egregious punch attempt from the Haitian keeper found the feet of DLT, who slotted home to put the States up 2-1.
Lennon got his brace shortly after, with a Haitian defender gifting the ball to the US who found a great combination play that ended in Lennon finishing for his second and the team’s third.
Haiti was effectively demoralized, with the players looking defeated and the coaching staff looking bored to be there. Brooks wasn’t done, as Jeremy Ebobisse found De La Torre who saw his shot deflected before it was lofted home for Lennon’s third and the U20’s fourth.
This win however was not a great sign for the U20’s. Ramos’ team came out really flat in the first half, and they’re honestly lucky that they didn’t play a side with more dimensions to their game. Haiti is a pacey team with some good technical players, but to really advance in this tournament the U20’s are going to have to look a lot stronger than that. It might be worth noting that if everything holds, the Classification Stage would consist of the US, Mexico and El Salvador. Sounds like not a great time.
On a related note the USMNT U20’s finish the group stage against St Kitts and Nevis on Friday at 5:30 EST.