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Jones impresses as United States U20s snag a point at the death in 3-3 draw with Ecuador

Derrick Jones helped turn the tide when he came in for an injured Gedion Zelalem in the 34th minute

Germany U20 v USA U20 - International Match
Luca de la Torre
Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images

He didn’t get the start, but Derrick Jones’ play off the bench earned plenty of praise in the opening game for the United States in the U20 World Cup in South Korea Monday morning.

The 20-year-old Philadelphia Union midfielder checked into the game in the 34th minute for the injured Gedion Zelalem with the U.S. already down a pair of goals. And as he has so often in his young Union career, Jones wasted little time putting his stamp on the game, giving the U.S. a much-needed physical presence to combat an Ecuador team that pushed the Yanks’ back line around with two goals inside seven minutes.

While 17-year-old Josh Sargent deserves the credit for his goal that cut the lead in half in the 36th minute, it was Jones who started the play with a defensive stop and a quick pass to get the U.S. going the other way. It was Jones again in the 54th minute getting the U.S. moving in the right direction with a forward pass to Tyler Adams, who played it to Brooks Lennon on the wing, where Lennon served up Sargent a beauty of a cross he redirected with his head into the back of the net.

The equalizer through Sargent’s second of the day wouldn’t be enough to hold the Ecuadorians.

Minutes after making a highlight reel save on Herlin Lino, U.S. goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann gifted a second goal of the game to Bryan Cabezas with a turnover in his own box in the 64th minute.

The miscue was a cruel blow to a U.S. side that had worked so hard to overcome its early defensive woes, but another Lennon cross that ended up falling to Luca del la Torre for an equalizer deep into the four minutes of stoppage time salvaged an important point for the U.S. ahead of a meeting with Senegal on Thursday morning.