Favorable results boost USA into Toulon final four

A few good bounces kept alive the USA U-23s at the Toulon Tournament in France and set up a third-place match on Sunday.

The MLS teams that employ several of the U.S. under-23 players probably won’t be pleased to learn they won’t have those players back for the weekend.

By the narrowest of margins, the USA finished second in Group A Thursday and will play in the third-place match Sunday. Its opponent won’t be known until Group B play concludes on Friday and among the possibilities is a rematch with the Mexico U-23 team the USA beat, 3-0, in a friendly April 22.

Mexico tops the group at 2-0-1 (win-loss-tie, 7 points) and plays Morocco (1-0-2, 5 points) in its final game. Also still in contention are Ivory Coast at 1-1-2 ( 5 points) in third place and England at 1-1-1 (4 points).

The Americans scraped through when France beat their Netherlands counterparts, 4-0, and Qatar tied Costa Rica, 1-1. Those results left the USA, which had already completed its group schedule, tied for second place with the Netherlands at 2-2-0 (6 points), and ahead of the Dutch by just one goal on goal difference (zero to minus-1).

Had the Netherlands lost by fewer goals, it would have claimed second place either on goal difference or more goals scored. (It had started the game at plus 3: nine scored and six conceded).

The Americans also caught a break in the other game; had Costa Rica scored another goal it too would have finished at 2-2-0 and taken second place on the second tiebreaker, goals scored. The USA scored six and conceded six; had Costa Rica won, 2-1, it would have a record of seven scored and seven allowed. By tying, Costa Rica finished with a 1-2-1 record and four points.

All the 10 entrants except the three European teams are playing with players as old as 22, ie born in 1993, the cutoff for Olympic qualifying. France, England and the Netherlands are fielding '94  teams, ie. a year younger. England's '93 team is headed in the UEFA Olympic qualifying tournament that begins June 15.

Kickoff for the third-place game is 10:45 am ET Sunday and it will be televised live on BeIN Sports en Espanol. The USA will be without U-23 star Jordan Morris, who joined the senior national team for the friendlies against the Netherlands and Germany.

Toulon Tournament
June 4
France 4, Netherlands 0. Goals: Habran 18, Kabbouni (pen.) 48, Nnoumu 53, Crivelli 73.
Qatar 1, Costa Rica 1. Goals: Lassiter 67; Salemi 45.
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