Forward Sebastian Soto struck twice for the U.S. in rainy Bielsko-Bialo on Monday night, powering them to their first victory at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Poland.
In the process, the win handed Nigeria their first defeat, even though they only dropped one place from the group’s apex position.
U.S. coach Tab Ramos made just one change to the starting XI from his side’s opening 1-2 loss against Ukraine, and it paid doubly with a 2-0 win.
First, Soto slipped his marker and nodded home Alex Mendez’s corner-kick service at the far post in the 18th minute, giving the U.S. a 1-0 lead.
Less than one minute into the second half Soto snuck past the Nigeria defence yet again, doubling his team’s advantage.
Chris Gloster played him through beautifully after a marauding run inside from the left-back.
Soto then got his feet and hips right, waited for the goalkeeper to collapse and popped the ball into the net with the inside of his right foot.
Nigeria were not without their chances, leaving the U.S. scrambling from a flurry of brilliant individual efforts towards the end of the first half.
First, substitute Aniekeme Okon’s ferocious full volley at the top of the area was saved by Brady Scott.
That was followed by forward Maxell Effiom’s stinger from outside the right corner of the box which clipped the crossbar a minute later.
In the end the U.S. were resolute, holding on to greatly lift their chances of advancing from Group D.
NAN reports that with this result both Nigeria and the U.S. have three points after two matches each, with one win and one loss each.
Ukraine who had earlier in the day defeated Qatar 1-0 however lead the group with six points from two wins after two games.
Nigeria are in second place ahead of the U.S. on goals difference, with Qatar in fourth place.