The U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team took the Milk Cup title with a 3-0 win against tournament host Northern Ireland at the Showgrounds in Ballymena. Gale Agbossoumonde, Juan Agudelo and Adrian Reulas each scored for the U.S., which dominated the match to take its first Milk Cup title since 2005.
U.S. goalkeeper Zac MacMath marshalled a solid defensive unit that included Zarek Valentin, Agbossoumonde, Perry Kitchen and Greg Garza. The group held Northern Ireland to just seven shots, none of which were especially dangerous for MacMath.
The U.S. earned its place in the final with wins against China (1-0) and Denmark (3-2), and was the only team in the Elite Section to win its first two matches. Rongen used every field player on his roster and both goalkeepers during the three-game tournament.
Against Northern Ireland, the U.S. took the lead in the 24th minute, when Agbossoumonde, who wore the captain’s armband in all three games, lined up a free kick from 20 yards. He took a long run up to the ball and fired it through the wall, giving the ‘keeper no chance to react as the ball skipped into the side netting.
The American side continued to press, and had a goal disallowed just moments later. In the 43rd minute, Agudelo pounced on a ball just inside his attacking half, and, with a great individual effort, went past two defenders. He created enough space to wind up his shot, lifting the ball over goalkeeper Wayne Drummond and dipping it just under the crossbar to double the U.S. lead before the half.
In the second half, a great passing combination led Valentin wide with the ball near the end line. The Akron defender turned and slotted the ball back for strike partner Ruelas, who hit the ball first time and ripped it into the far post from 15 yards for his third goal of the Milk Cup.