Lynden Gooch of Sunderland's under-21 team hit the woodwork three times for the USA, which edged Australia by one goal with a goal difference of plus five.
Australia had beaten Bermuda, 4-1, and Chile, 5-4, but was stymied by the U.S. defense that included four collegians -- goalie Zack Steffen and right back Chris Odoi-Atsem (both Maryland) and center backs Michael Amick (UCLA) and Conor Donovan (N.C. State) -- in addition to John Requejo, who recently signed with Mexican club Tijuana after finishing high school. The nine U.S. players who played in the front six positions are all pros.
Fernando Arce, Jr., another player brought up from Tijuana, had a shot cleared off the line in the eighth minute. Tommy Thompson, in only his second appearance for the U-20s, created lots of problems for Australia with his pace and forced goalie Jordan Thurtell into making a good save from close range in the 77th minute. Minutes later, the Australia keeper got just enough on the ball to tip Gooch's blast off the crossbar.
The U-20s were playing a majority of their first team. Missing were midfielder Emerson Hyndman, who joined Fulham's first team for its preseason camp in Scotland, midfielder Junior Flores, who is with Borussia Dortmund II, and forward Rubio Rubin, who has been splitting time between Dutch club FC Utrecht's first team and Jong team in preseason.
Defender Matt Miazga remained with the New York Red Bulls, for whom he started on Wednesday, while forward Ben Spencer is with Indy Eleven, for which he scored in its first-ever NASL win last Saturday. Two other MLS players, Jordan Allen (Real Salt Lake) and Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), are injured.
What better way to spend a Friday night?!? Nice turnout here at the NTC Invitational! pic.twitter.com/SsYPy07oK5— U.S. Soccer YNT (@ussoccer_ynt) July 19, 2014
July 18 in Carson, Calif.
USA 0 Australia 0.
USA -- Steffen; Odoi-Atsem, Donovan, Amick, Requejo; Arce, Canouse; Pfeffer (Gall 8), Arriola (Novakovich, 73), Thompson, Gooch (Lopez 89).