After not allowing a goal in their first two matches of the U-20 World Cup, a draw against Slovakia is all that it will take for the United States to top Group B and move to the knockout stage. Although it hasn’t always been pretty, they’ve been performing especially strongly in defense, only allowing two shots on target to reach Gabriel Slonina in net.
Even if the team is leaving their own scoring late, the fact that they’re limiting opposition opportunities to this extent shows that they’ll be able to at least grab a draw in most games. Couple that with Cade Cowell’s return to spark the attack and Micky Varas has a strong squad to make a deep run at the World Cup.
Here’s our storylines, how you can watch the match and more:
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How to watch and odds
Date: Friday, May 26 | Time: 2 p.m. ET
Location: Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario — San Juan, Argentina
TV: FS2 | Live stream: fuboTV (try for free)
United States: So far experience has shown for this squad as four players have made their full debuts for the senior squad. One of them is Slonina in net and the other three have scored goals for the team in Cowell, Jonathan Gomez, and Caleb Wiley. The contributions up and down the roster shows how deep the talent pool is all around. Against Slovakia, it would be nice to get a goal in the first half but even it that doesn’t happen, this team has a good chance at a victory.
Slovakia: Scoring in both matches so far, Slovakia could finally test Slonina in net as they have five goals in group-stage play. But while that’s more goals scored than the United States, allowing Ecuador to score two means that the team needs a victory to finish atop the group. It’s their second appearance at the U-20 World Cup and the team has building blocks but the United States will like their chances.
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Not much is needed to push the team into the knockout stage but to get Kevin Paredes and Rokas Pukstas into the side will provide quite a boost when they get there. Pick: United States 2, Slovakia 0