Tab Ramos' men secured a place in the quarter-finals with a narrow 1-0 win over Colombia.
The likes of Tottenham Hotspur defender Cameron Carter-Vickers and Fulham’s Emerson Hyndman had every reason to celebrate on Wednesday after their US Under-20 side secured a 1-0 win over Colombia to seal a spot in the World Cup quarter-finals.
The USA qualified for the last 16 as Group A runners-up following 2-1 and 4-0 wins over Myanmar and tournament hosts New Zealand, respectively, but a 3-0 defeat in their third and final match against group winners Ukraine created some concern heading into the Colombia clash.
Tab Ramos’ men suffered a setback within the first three minutes of the match when striker Bradford Jamieson IV was stretchered off after taking a blow the head, as their opponents proceeded to dominate the first-half.
The US held firm and rallied after the break, however, when FC Utrecht hotshot Rubio Rubin, who made his full international debut against Colombia in November, pounced on a loose ball in the 58th-minute to rifle home for his second goal of the tournament.
Colombia were kept in check for the next 23 minutes but there was drama in the 81st-minute when versatile left-back Kellyn Acosta was shown his marching orders after picking up his second booking for a foul inside the box, handing the South Americans the chance to equalise.
Goalkeeper Zach Steffen was equal to Jarlan Barrera’s effort, though, diving right to both preserve the USA’s lead and ensure a quarter-final meeting with Serbia in Auckland on 14 June.
While Steffen’s spot-kick heroics earned him most of the plaudits, there were also strong performances from skipper Hyndman, goalscorer Rubin and centre-back Carter-Vickers, who were all among the US players to express their delight at the result on Twitter after the match.
Cuartos de final— Joel soñora (@Sojoel1) June 10, 2015
Quarter Finals here we come!!! I couldn't be more proud of this team, we died for each other today on the field and it paid off. #1N1T— Paul Arriola (@PaulArriola) June 10, 2015
Great team win vs Colombia ! Onto the quarterfinals !— Matt Miazga (@MattMiazga3) June 10, 2015