Sebastian Soto’s brace ensured that United States picked up a crucial 2-0 win over Nigeria in its second match at the 2019 Under-20 World Cup on Monday.
The Americans came into the game needing a win following a 2-1 loss to Ukraine in their first group game and Tab Ramos’ team started the game on the front foot, controlling the possession from the start of the game.
They soon got a reward for their strong start in the 18th minute as Soto lost his defender and smashed a header past the reach of Nigeria keeper Olawale Oremade from a corner kick to make it 1-0.
Soto looked to have doubled the lead some minutes later after a scramble in the box, but the offside flag denied her and save Nigeria’s blushes.
As the first half wore on, Nigeria began to find its footing as substitute Aniekeme Okon’s sweet volley forced a save from U.S. keeper Brady Scott before Maxwell Effiom rattled the crossbar from long range. He should have scored!
The United States replied with a strong start to the second half with Soto leaving nothing to chance.
Soto collected a pass from Chris Gloster and finished it off with a beautiful outside-of-the-foot chip over Nigeria goalie, Oremade.
Nigeria responded well to the goal but had a penalty call waved off after a video review showed that there had been some offside play in the build-up.
There was an injury scare for a moment when Soto had to be helped from the field after a violent collision with Oremade while in search of his hat trick but the man of the match soon returned to the pitch to end the game.
The win puts the U.S. level on three points with Nigeria, who play group leaders Ukraine in its final group match on May 30. The Americans on the other hand are poised to face Qatar on the same day.