June 10, 2015
'Everyone on the field died for each other tonight'
WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- With the United States in the knockout round of the Under-20 World Cup, every game turns into a life and death situation.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
So, quite appropriately, the Americans died. No, they did not roll over and die in their 1-0 victory over Colombia in their Round of 16 encounter.
"I think everyone on the field died for each other tonight," said center back Matt Miazga, who plays in the same capacity with the Red Bulls. "We emptied our tanks and we were organized and we fought for every ball.
The defense was had two blocks of four players apiece.
"I feel like the whole game we were pretty organized," Miazga said.
Miazga and Cam Carter-Vickers did their part, marking their men close and blocking more than their share of shots.
"I thought the whole backline, the midfield, they were all very connected," goalkeeper Zach Steffen said. "The communication out there tonight was a lot better than it has been in the past. And I thought Matt (Miazga) and Cam (Carter-Vickers) did block a lot of shots. That was great for the team to be able to step up and make the big plays.
Steffen made a big play or two as well, saving Jarlan Barrera's penalty kick late in the match.
Defender Kellyn Acosta was called for a foul inside the U.S. penalty area, earning him his second yellow card of the match and a dismissal, giving Colombia an opportunity to equalize from the penalty spot.
Barrera took the penalty, but Steffen guessed correctly to the left side and punching the ball out.
At that moment I was a little bit shocked that we gave up the PK," Miazga said. "But I had a gut feeling that Zack would save it I had a quick flash back to the El Salvador game where Zack made a huge save as well. And Zack did the job and we were there to clear it. We finished the game strong, got the shutout and most important got the big victory.