Fresh from helping the U.S. U-20s win Group F in the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea, Portland Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse scored the second of six U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team goals in their decisive 6-0 rout of New Zealand Thursday in the Round of 16 in Incheon.
- WATCH: Match Highlights
Ebobisse, in an exclusive journal for Timbers.com, talked about how his team won their group to advance and how he and his teammates made a memorable visit to the Korean Demilitarized Zone separating South Korea from North Korea:
"A tale of two games, a win and a tie, meant we would top the group. A massive, controlling win against Senegal was followed by a resilient draw against Saudi Arabia. When the groups came out, Ecuador and Senegal immediately stood out as games where we would likely face adversity, even if at the top of our game. Upon looking at Saudi Arabia, we realized their win against Ecuador was no fluke and we were in for a game against a team with everything to play for (they would go on to advance to the Round of 16).
While we approached both games the same way, anyone watching would notice that we weren’t as sharp against Saudi Arabia compared to our match against Senegal. A similarly slow start gave Saudi Arabia enough chances to trouble us, but our team recuperated well amid early counter attacks and external factors out of our control. Our initial goal of winning a tough group was accomplished, giving us an opportunity to play knockout games with a view at making a deep run.
The latter group stage days were filled with more travel as we were going between Daejeon and Incheon, but we still managed to take in some sights along the way. We were able to explore the Korean border in the Demilitarized Zone. From overlooking a portion of North Korea from a balcony, to walking through the rocky underground tunnels, we took in about as much as we could from the DMZ, and it was quite a unique experience to get some perspective on what we were seeing in the news. Taking in the new culture is definitely a big part of this trip for all of us, but for now it is time to focus on our important Round of 16 clash against a tough New Zealand side."
Ebobisse, who made his first start of the tournament in the the Round of 16 match against New Zealand, found an opportunity to put the U.S. up 2-0 in the 64th minute when a free kick from out of the back was flicked on by forward Josh Sargent. Ebobisse then let loose a left-footed blast from outside the box which flew past New Zealand goalkeeper Michael Would and under the crossbar. The U.S. would then go on to score four additional goals in the second half, tying a U-20 record first set in 1993, for largest margin of victory at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
With the win, the Americans move on to the quarter-finals and will face Venezuela at Jeonju World Cup Stadium on June 4 (June 3 local time, 11pm PT, FS2).