GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – The United States U-20 national team got the start they wanted in their opening match of the CONCACAF Championship on Tuesday night, putting four past an overmatched Suriname squad.
Bobby Wood, Joe Gyau and Conor Doyle tallied in the first half, while Kelyn Rowe's late second-half effort capped off a 4-0 night for the organized and impressive US squad at Estadio Mateo Flores.
The victory means Thomas Rongen's side is practically through to the quarterfinals of the tournament regardless of how their second Group Stage match goes against Panama on Saturday. All four semifinalists earn automatic bids to the U-20 World Cup.
The Americans opened the scoring in the 17th minute. Gyau, the best player on the field in the first half, drew a free kick 35 yards out. Greg Garza's in-swinger found Doyle's head, and the Derby County striker flicked the ball into the box. Wood was waiting to put the US in the lead.
Gyau made it 2-0 in the 29th minute on an excellent individual effort. He dribbled down the left flank, cut across to his right foot and ripped a shot from just outside the 18-yard box that flew past Claidel Kohinor and into the far netting.
The Stars and Stripes waited just eight minutes to find a third. Rowe launched a curling cross from the right side, targeted to Doyle's head. The forward failed to hit it cleanly but still managed to knock the ball into the net.
At the break, Moises Orozco replaced Amobi Okugo, starting the parade of substitutions that would make up most of the action during the second 45.
In the 52nd minute, Suriname countered with Kevin Veira for Jeffery Verde, who picked up a knock in the opening moments of the second period. Dania Afiankoi replaced Vitorino Pinas five minutes later.
In the 70th minute, Vancouver Whitecaps No. 1 pick Omar Salgado joined the fray, taking off an exhausted Wood.
Moments later, Harlod Deyl made his final change, replacing Queintin Dors with Biorn Eduards. The move backfired, as the substitute was almost immediately shown off for a tackle on US left back Greg Garza.
Rowe finished off the scoring the in 81st minute, taking a square pass from Doyle at the 18-yard box and finishing past the embattled netminder.
Sebastian Ibeagha replaced the UCLA standout immediately after his tally.
USA – Bobby Wood (Greg Garza) 19th minute
USA – Joe Gyau (Sebastian Lletget) 28
USA – Conor Doyle (Kelyn Rowe) 37
USA – Kelyn Rowe (Conor Doyle) 81
United States: 1-Zac MacMath; 13-Greg Garza, 2-Gale Agbossoumonde, 5-Perry Kitchen, 3-Zarek Valentin; 14-Amobi Okugo (16-Moises Orozco,46), 8-Sebastian Lletget, 10-Kelyn Rowe (19-Sebastien Ibeagha,;82) 11-Bobby Wood (17-Omar Salgado, 70), 9-Conor Doyle, 7-Joe Gyau
Subs not used: 18-Cody Cropper, 20-Eder Arreola, 4-Moises Hernandez, 12-Sacir Hot
Subs not available: 6-Dillon Powers, 15-Korey Veeder
Head Coach: Thomas Rongen
Suriname: 22-Claidel Kohinor, 2-Gillermo Faerber, 4-Albert Niste, 5-Rocky Kaise, 7-Vitorino Pinas (10-Dania Afiankoi, 56), 8-Olivido Misidjang (capt.), 12-Kevin Martin, 13-Jeffrey Vrede (14-Kevin Veira, 52), 16-Stefano Rijssel, 17-Jerny Faerber, 18-Quentin Dors (20-Biorn Eduards, 73)
Subs not used: 1-Firgilio Lamsberg, 6-Daninhio Gill, 9-Arzinio Poina, 11-Julnes Plet,
Subs not available: 15-Dimitrie Apai, 19-Rainel Godfried
Head Coach: Harold Deyl
Noah Davis covers the United States national team for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter at @noahedavis.